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The Majority Report 05/19/18 - Mayors to governor: Hands off our share of income tax


Mayors to governor: Hands off our share of income tax

Mayors to governor: Hands off our share of income taxMunicipal leaders told a joint panel of the Senate’s two budget committees that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to strip $131 million from Illinois communities could lead to service cuts, job layoffs and possible local tax increases.

The committees, chaired by State Senators Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), met Wednesday to continue collecting input regarding the governor's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Decatur Mayor Julie Moore-Wolfe said her aging central Illinois town has few options for replacing the nearly $1 million lost under the Rauner takeaway.

“I’m going to have to cut the very vital services we offer,” she said. “We’re not fluff. We’re police. We’re fire. We’re public safety. We’re clean, safe water. We’re roads and bridges.”

Mayors across the state are reacting to Rauner’s plan to deny an estimated $131 million in needed support to local governments. Joining Moore-Wolfe at Wednesday’s hearing were Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder and Jerome Village President Michael Lopez.

State Senator Michael Hastings, a Democrat from suburban Tinley Park, represents municipalities that have balanced their books and made difficult but responsible decisions. Yet the governor is seeking to cut more money from their budgets.

“Local governments are working to hold the line on spending,” he said. “To slash their budgets of the funding that’s due to them means they essentially have to consider the backdoor property tax increases that Bruce Rauner is forcing on middle-class taxpayers.”

Read more about the hearing and what mayors had to say.

In the news: Decatur mayor: State revenue cut would lead to layoffs, service reductions
In the news: Illinois mayors fight for state funding: ‘We’ve taxed enough’
In the news: Illinois cities to state: Hands off our taxes


Gun safety measures pass Senate with bipartisan support

Sen. Julie MorrisonTwo proposals to address gun violence were approved by the Illinois Senate this week.

State Senator Julie Morrison’s plan to crack down on the transfer of guns to people with no FOID cards was approved 42-10. The measure was prompted by the April mass shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House.

The accused gunman, who is from Illinois, had transferred his guns to his father after his FOID card was revoked by Illinois authorities. However, his father returned the guns to his son prior to the shooting that left four people dead and others wounded.

There currently is no penalty in Illinois for returning guns without checking to see if the owner is cleared to possess them.

“This tragic situation suggests we need to be more specific about what our laws mean and how they should be enforced,” Morrison (D-Deerfield) said. “It is of paramount importance that firearms do not end up back in the hands of individuals who have been deemed unfit to possess them.”

The Senate also approved State Senator Don Harmon’s bipartisan initiative to regulate gun dealers and reduce the number of illegal guns being used to commit crimes.

Senate Bill 337 builds on a similar measure Harmon sponsored that Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed March 13. Lawmakers were unable to override the veto despite urging from Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, medical professionals who treat gunshot victims and others.

“We are back with a much better bill that addresses the governor’s concerns about small businesses, but we are doing so without compromising public safety,” Harmon said.

Both bills passed with bipartisan support and will move to the House for consideration.

Read more: Learn about Morrison’s legislation
Read more: Learn about Harmon’s legislation


Black Caucus: Rauner needs gut check on minority contracting

Illinois Legislative Black CaucusFor Gov. Bruce Rauner to suddenly act as if he’s been a champion for minority contractors after three years is appalling, Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford said during a news conference this week.

Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus spoke with reporters to highlight how the percentage of state business going to minority contractors has fallen significantly under the Rauner administration.

“Bruce Rauner talks about improving opportunities for minority-owned businesses, but the numbers tell a different story,” Lightford said. “Under his administration, minority contracting requirements have been waived, and the percent of state business going to minority businesses has actually plummeted.”

In January 2015 Rauner announced an executive order calling for a study of barriers to state contracting for minority businesses. But in November that year, the administration secretly waived minority participation requirements for a $94 million state contract.

This week, Rauner discussed another executive order to address these same issues – a move that lawmakers said appears opportunistic.

“Rep. Will Davis and I have been working together on these issues for several years, and I can’t help but question the governor’s intention on signing yet another executive order,” State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) said. “In 2016, we established the Fair Practices in Contracting Task Force. Here we are two years later, conveniently when the governor’s running for re-election, he signs another order to address the same disparities. I’m tired of the political games.”

State Senator James F. Clayborne Jr., a Belleville Democrat, suggested the governor initiate an audit to find out why the laws are not being enforced.

“Gov. Rauner has already signed several pieces of legislation involving the improvement of minority contracting; however, there’s been no change as it relates to the numbers of minority suppliers and businesses receiving opportunities during his administration,” he said.

Read more about the Black Caucus news conference.

In the news: Black Caucus blames Rauner for shrinking black state contracts


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Senator Napoleon Harris, Harvey: SCOTUS ruling could bring sports betting to Illinois | WICS-TV, Springfield

Senator Linda Holmes, Aurora: Holmes co-sponsoring health care bill to protect people with pre-existing conditions | Chicago Tribune

Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Gold star families get ability to cancel leases under new state measure | Peoria Journal Star

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Rauner administration violated procurement code, audit says | WCIA-TV, Champaign

Senator John Mulroe, Des Plaines: State bill on dense breast notifications advances | WTTW-TV, Chicago

Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: Could be months before Illinois legalizes sports betting | Daily Herald

Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Chicago: Police gang databases under fire in statehouse bill | NPR Illinois


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