House Appropriations Committees Begin
to Meet and Consider FY20 Budget
The Appropriations Committees are already convening to hear budget requests and announcements of fiscal priorities from the various State departments. These meetings are open to the public and are posted on the General Assembly committee website. Many of the committee meetings are held in rooms that are wired to present live audio or video feeds to the public through the General Assembly website. In addition, users of the website can file slips of support or opposition to the budget bills and other bills before each committee. I serve on the Appropriations- Elementary & Secondary Education Committee. In this role, I will participate in discussions about funding of K-12 schools in the FY20 budget.
McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Killed in Line of Duty Honored through House Resolution
As family, friends and law enforcement attended funeral services for fallen McHenry County Deputy Jacob Keltner on Wednesday in Woodstock, lawmakers in Springfield honored the 13-year veteran of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office for his service and sacrifice through an honorary House Resolution. Keltner was killed in the line of duty on March 7 as he attempted to serve an arrest warrant in Rockford as part of the U.S. Marshals’ Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.
I am a Chief Co-Sponsor of HR 186, and on the day the resolution was heard in Springfield I returned to McHenry County in time to watch the post-funeral procession of close to 800 police vehicles that escorted Deputy Keltner’s body to a Huntley funeral home. The procession, which included law enforcement vehicles from as far north as Green Bay, WI, as far east as Muncie, Indiana, as far west as Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, IA and as far south as Champaign and Vermilion Counties and the southern Illinois town of Benton, traveled through Woodstock, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, and Huntley as residents lined streets waving flags. The showing of support, not only from regional and multi-state law enforcement but also from residents who lined the procession route, was inspiring. It was a fitting tribute to a man of great courage and valor.
Keltner is survived by his wife of 11 years Becki and two sons, Caleb and Carson.
Rep. Reick Hosts
Successful Coffee & Conversation Event in Richmond
We had a great turnout for my second Coffee & Conversation event of the year. I had a table reserved at Richmond’s Main Street Coffee Company on the morning of Saturday, March 2, and several constituents stopped by for a cup of coffee and to discuss state issues. Richmond Village President Kunz stopped by too and provided additional insight into some of the conversations. These events will take place every other month throughout the year. Future events will be promoted on my website, https://repstevenreick.com. I hope you come out to a future Coffee & Conversation event when we visit your town.
Gov. Pritzker Proposes a $3.4 Billion
Tax Hike on Illinois Families and Businesses
Earlier this month, Governor JB Pritzker unveiled his plan for a graduated income tax in Illinois. Pritzker’s proposed rates would result in a $3.4 billion tax hike on Illinois families and businesses. The proposal is being pushed without any efforts to reform spending.
The Governor’s proposal would move Illinois from a flat income tax rate of 4.95% to a graduated income tax with six tax brackets. Families and small businesses with income between $250,000-$500,000 would pay a state tax rate of 7.75%, while the highest rate of 7.95% would apply to all income over $1,000,000. As many small business owners file their tax returns as individuals, Pritzker’s tax hike would hit Illinois small businesses especially hard. In 2017, small businesses were responsible for 70% of Illinois’ jobs.
Illinois’ corporate income tax rate would rise from 7% to 7.95%. Coupled with Illinois’ Personal Property Replacement Tax of 2.5% on corporations (1.5% on partnerships, trusts, and S-corps), corporate income taxes would rise from the current 9.5% to 10.45%, one of the highest tax rates in the nation.
If approved by a three-fifths majority of the House and Senate, a question of whether the Illinois Constitution should be amended to allow for a graduated income tax would be placed before all Illinois voters. It is important to note that the Governor’s proposed rates would not be enshrined in the Constitutional Amendment. For taxpayers, this means that if and when the flat tax guarantee is removed from the Constitution, lawmakers will have a great deal more flexibility to raise tax rates to fund new spending.
Reick Supports Local 4-H through Recent Fundraising Event
I had a great time earlier this month at the McHenry County 4-H Youth Foundation’s String Ties, Boots & Blue Jeans fundraiser. There was a great turnout to support this wonderful organization. I’m shown in this photo with State Representative Tom Weber (R- LakeVilla), who covers northeastern McHenry County and part of Lake County.
Abortion Bills Gaining Momentum in Illinois Senate
As you may know, Governor JB Pritzker has expressed his desire to make Illinois the most lenient state in the nation with regard to abortions. To that end, legislation was filed this year that would eliminate almost every common sense regulation and protection associated with abortion procedures in our state. These bills attack parental rights over minor children and remove several safety guarantees currently in place for those seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
HB 2495 would repeal Illinois’ existing Abortion Law of 1975 and Illinois’ Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act, and replace these and other current laws with an extreme set of new provisions in a new “Reproductive Health Act.” Language identical to this bill has been filed in the Senate as SB 1942.
While I am pleased to report that HB 2495 and HB 2467 have been moved to a House subcommittee where at this time it is unlikely they will advance, the Senate version of the repeal of the Parental Notice Act has been assigned a March 19 hearing before the Senate Public Health Committee. The Senate version of the Reproductive Health Act is still active and could be called by the Senate Executive Committee at any time.
Get Involved; File a Witness Slip
The Senate version of the repeal of the parental notification bill appears to be slated for a hearing on Tuesday, March 19. Filing a witness slip is easy and effective. Click here to fill out a witness slip for SB 1594, which would completely nullify the current requirement that girls under the age of 18 must notify a parent or guardian of her intention to have an abortion. Please remember that once you submit a witness slip as an opponent (against the bill) or proponent (in favor of the bill), you cannot change your slip, so be sure you click the right box when filling out the slip. Follow these simple directions:
- Fill out the top section (in the Firm or Organization and Title section, you can put “self”)
- In the Representation section, simply put: Illinois resident
- In the Position section, click on proponent, opponent, or no position
- Under Testimony, click on Record of Appearance Only
- Check the box to agree to the terms
- Click on “Create Slip”
If you have difficulty navigating the witness slip page, call my office at (815) 880-5340 and my staff will walk you through the process.
I will continue to watch all of these bills closely in the House and Senate, and would encourage you to do the same. You can check the status of a bill by going to www.ilga.gov and putting the bill number into the search field on the left side of the home page. I will provide updates about these and other bills through my E-Newsletter.
COGFA Reports on Impact of Local
The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, the City of Chicago pension funds, and the Cook County pension funds are major obligations of the taxpayers of Illinois. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), the General Assembly’s budget-watchdog arm, issued a report last week on these funds and their liabilities. Together with a separate family of funds that underwrite pensions for Illinois’ Downstate police officers and firefighters, these funds constitute the non-State-managed side of the overall unfunded pension liability of Illinois.
Defined-benefit pension systems have been challenged in the 2010s by very low interest rates on prudent, pension-fund-worthy interest-bearing investments. Many segments of the private sector have responded to these global economic conditions by phasing out defined-benefit pensions and encouraging their employees to invest in defined-contribution mutual funds with an emphasis on equity capital. Illinois’ local governments, by contrast, are constrained by the terms of statutory law and the state Constitution in what they can do with respect to pension obligations owed to current employees and vested members of their pension funds.
The unfunded liabilities of the eight Chicago-based pension funds covered in this February 2018 report is $41.8 billion. The comparable figure for Cook County is $6.9 billion and the comparable figure for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (non-Chicago, non-Cook County, non-police, and non-firefighting public employees in suburban and Downstate Illinois) is $3.0 billion.