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Your briefing on the activities of the Illinois General Assembly



Good Day:

The House will convene at 10:00 a.m. followed by the Senate at 11:00 a.m. for the third and final scheduled day of Veto Session. There are only two committee hearings scheduled for this morning.  http://my.ilga.gov/

Yesterday, the legislative leaders and the Governor met to discuss stop gap budget funding. New reports are that there was little progress made, but they are meeting and they are discussing issues. News reports indicate that as a part of the discussions, the topics of pension reform and workers compensation reform were part of the mix. The House passed a resolution  (HR 1494) which opposes any lame duck session tax increase.  This resolution which is only binding on the House, but, it has a boatload of co-sponsors.  The House failed to override 10 of the Governor’s vetoes on Senate Bills which means the veto stands.  (SB 440, SB 730, SB 1059, SB 2038, SB 2204, SB 2531, SB 2600, SB 2604, SB 2819, and SB 2982).  The House also failed to either override or accept the Governor Amendatory Veto of SB 2465 which means that this bill is dead. The Senate failed to override or accept the Governor’s Amendatory Veto of SB 2964 (prevailing wage determined by the Dept. of Labor must be based on local collective bargaining agreements).  This bill is now dead. Despite the focus on vetoes, which is the purpose of scheduled session, new legislation is being introduced. For instance, yesterday, there were 16 new bills filed in the House and 7 filed in the Senate. At this late date, there is a pretty steep climb to pass legislation before the 99th General Assembly adjourns sine die (No date has been established but the 100th GA sworn in on Jan. 11th).

Today, I suspect that both Chambers will continue working on pending non-controversial bills and moving priority legislation along such as the Exelon Subsidy bill to keep Nuclear Power Plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities open. The House most likely will vote on this bill today in order to transmit it to the Senate for its consideration during lame duck. The House is also anticipated to vote on a House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment proposing to amend the Illinois Constitution requiring a supermajority of votes in each chamber to pass a tax increase. If this does pass, it will then move to the Senate for consideration, again, during lame duck.

My sense or prediction is that there most likely will not be a vote on any tax increase until after the 100th General Assembly is sworn in on Jan. 11th. On that date, the equation changes in that there will be more republican seats in the House and Senate and therefore there will have to be more Republican votes on passing a tax increase bill. The basis of a prediction here is that the Governor and the Speaker pointing fingers at one another on raising the issue of a tax increase.  With that being said, it was always implicit that there would be a tax increase and in consideration of the Governor signing such a tax increase he would get structural state government reforms (aka the Turn Around Agenda).  This former development along with the resolution being introduced by a Republican Legislator and being called for a vote by the Democratic Speaker about no tax increase during lame duck helps to set the stage for the 100th GA.

Theoretically, and albeit remote,  there could be an emergency stop gap budget agreement to provide incremental funding for state government operations that expires on 12/31/16. There are added pressures here to provide some sort of funding. First, the Chicago Public Schools desperately need the $200 million from the state for its pension system that was passed in June. This legislation has been held as the Governor agreed that he would sign it provided the General Assembly passed state pension reform legislation that has not surfaced at this time, although the Governor agrees with President Cullerton on the consideration model. Second, the U of I Public Policy Institute Future Fiscal Project released yesterday several economic models of closing the budget gap. The report opines that without a state operating budget for two years, the state has slid into fiscal peril and it will take several years to get out of this mess.  If you would like a copy of this report, let me know and I will shoot it to you.

We continue to monitor developments and will keep the membership informed.  

MARTY GREEN, ESQ

Vice President Government Relations, Illinois CPA Society
524 South Second Street, Suite 504, Springfield, Illinois  62701
Phone: 217.789. 7914|  Fax: 217.789.7924
Email: greenm@icpas.org  |  Web site: www.icpas.org