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  • Sen. Don HarmonState Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) joined advocates at a press conference yesterday to voice his support for legislation that would prevent local law enforcement officers from taking part in immigration enforcement.

    The Keep Illinois Families Together Act would give immigrants and their families the confidence to report crimes to police officers without fear of being deported.

    “I represent people back home in my district who are scared,” Harmon said. “The toxicity coming out of Washington D.C. is horrible. We should take steps locally to tell the people we represent: ‘we’re sorry you’re scared. We’re going to try to do whatever we can to make you a little bit less scared today.’”

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  • fair tax

    As outlined by Gov. Pritzker in his budget address this year, we have three viable options to fix our state’s finances:

    • Raise taxes by 20% on everyone. In order to raise the needed revenue to pay down our bill backlog, we would have to raise taxes on everyone by 20% within our current flat tax system.

    • Make drastic, 15% across the board cuts to state agencies. If we are not going to raise revenue, we have to cut spending in order to pay down our bill backlog. The kind of cuts necessary to save that kind of money would be devastating to public safety, public education, transportation and social services.

    • Adopt a fair tax that raises taxes on only 3% of Illinoisans – the wealthiest, most prosperous among us. Under Gov. Pritkzer’s proposal, 97% of Illinoisans would either so no change in their tax rate or would see a decrease. Those who make less would be taxes less, and vice versa. Only the top 3% of earners in Illinois would see a modest increase in their tax rate, and we would bring in the revenue necessary to pay our bills.

    Why is a fair tax necessary?

    • After years of fiscal instability and with a $3.2 billion budget deficit this year alone, Illinois must act now to shore up our finances.

    • As a state, we can’t keep shortchanging students, undermining universities, decimating social services, watching our roads and bridges crumble.

    • With a flat tax in Illinois, lower-income may pay the same rate as higher-income people, but that amount places a greater burden on them than on those making more. A fair tax with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes will bring tax relief for working families and produce stable and sustainable revenues in Illinois to get the state on stable financial footing.

      • Taking into account all taxes Illinois families pay, the lowest 20% of income-earners, or those making less than $21,800 a year, pay 14.4% of their income toward taxes. The top 1%, or those earning more than $537,800, pay only 7.4% of their income toward taxes.

      • This makes Illinois one of the most regressive tax states in the country – one of the Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy’s “Terrible Ten” states.

    • A fair tax combats growing income inequality by making sure the wealthy pay their fair share. Over the past decades, nearly all the income growth has been made by the top income levels. Nationally, income inequality is the worst it’s been since 1928 – the year preceding the Great Depression. The current tax system doesn’t allow Illinois to capture that growth because the same rate applies to high- and low-income earners.

    How do we implement a fair tax?

    • Currently, the Illinois Constitution prohibits the state from imposing a graduated income tax. In order to change that, three-fifths of both the Senate and the House must pass legislation that would place a question on the November 2020 ballot asking whether voters support a fair tax.

    • In order for the Constitution to be amended, the fair tax must receive support from either 60 percent of those voting on the specific question or a majority of all those casting votes in the election.

    • This means the current legislation (SJRCA 1 – sponsored by Senator Harmon) would not automatically change the Constitution if it passes. It would simply put the question of a fair tax on the ballot, allowing voters to decide.

    How do we set the rates?

    • SJRCA 1 does not set a specific tax rate structure; it only deletes the provision in the Constitution prohibiting a graduated income tax.

    • If the amendment is adopted following the process outlined above, the General Assembly may pass legislation setting specific rates.

    • Gov. JB Pritzker has announced proposed rates. These are being discussed with members of the General Assembly as part of ongoing negotiations to introduce legislation setting rates.

    Learning about the Fair Tax Plan:

  • AlcoholSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) advanced legislation today that would set a statewide standard for alcohol delivery from retailers.

    Senate Bill 54 would allow grocery stores and other licensed retailers to deliver alcohol to the homes of consumers if certain conditions, including age verification and training, are met.

    “More and more people are ordering their groceries online,” Harmon said. “We want to keep up with this modern way of shopping and make sure that any retailers who want to provide this service to their customers are confident that they will be able to deliver anywhere in the state.”

  • harmon 041019Plan would tax lower incomes at lower levels, higher incomes at higher levels

    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is one step closer to amending its Constitution to allow for a fair tax after Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) passed a Constitutional amendment out of committee today.

    The proposed Constitutional amendment would remove language requiring a flat tax and allow the General Assembly to set lower rates for those making less and higher rates for the wealthiest Illinoisans.

    “Our current tax system is punitive to middle class and working families in Illinois because it imposes a greater burden on them than on the wealthiest in our state,” Harmon said. “With a fair tax, we are simply asking top earners to pay their fair share.”

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  • harmon 040119SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) that will reinstate parole in Illinois for youthful offenders became law today.

    Gov. JB Pritzker signed Harmon’s measure allowing offenders who were sentenced for offenses committed under the age of 21 to petition the Prisoner Review Board for parole after serving 20 years for homicide or aggravated criminal assault and 10 years for all other offenses.

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  • harmon 053118CHICAGO – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement today after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order ensuring that House Bill 40, which protects a woman’s right to choose in Illinois, will be enforced:

    “I am thankful that, after years of hard work by advocates on this issue, we passed House Bill 40 and took what should have been an obvious stance: that women are capable of making their own decisions about their reproductive health.

    “And today we affirm that those decisions should not be limited by income level or place of employment. With women’s reproductive rights under constant assault at the federal level, I am thankful we have a governor ready to actively defend them in Illinois.”

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  • bush harmon 120618State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) discussed the state’s progress toward gender equity at a panel in Springfield on Wednesday.

    The panel, hosted by the Better Government Association and Gatehouse Media, asked participants to examine the progress made since the start of the #MeToo movement and what else needs to be done. Senator Jil Tracy and Rep. Carol Ammons also spoke.

    Bush said she struggled during her first four years in Springfield, feeling like her thoughts and opinions did not carry as much value as her male colleagues. But, she said, the cultural shift of the past few years has affirmed her value, and she hopes it has for all women.

  • mercy hosp 112018State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on the shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago yesterday:

    “I am deeply saddened to hear about the horrific shooting at Mercy Hospital in Bronzeville yesterday. I am praying for all those who were affected. To the families of the victims—I cannot even begin to fathom the pain you are experiencing, but please know that our community is here for you.

  • harmon 041118SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after the Senate voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of legislation raising the age to legally buy tobacco products to 21:

    “We took a step today that we know, based on evidence from other states and communities in our own states, will reduce the rates of smoking among high school students.

    “The dangers of cigarettes have been well-known for decades, and teens are even more at risk with the increasing popularity of vaping products.

    “This is legislation that could prevent teenagers and young adults from ever picking up a cigarette, which could literally save their lives.”

  • harmon 041118CHICAGO – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s announcement today that he plans to veto Harmon’s legislation regulating gun dealers:

    “The governor took two steps forward today by signing bills that create firearm restraining orders and extend the waiting period to buy handguns to 72 hours. Unfortunately, he also took a giant step back by saying he will veto legislation regulating gun dealers.

  • CapitolSWJuly brings the beginning of a new fiscal year for the state, and several measures passed by the legislature and signed into law take effect on July 1.

    Most notably, two new laws address Illinois education: one reaffirms the importance of learning cursive writing in Illinois schools and another addresses the statewide teacher shortage.

  • harmon 053118SPRINGFIELD – Legislation providing access to medical alternatives to opioids as a means to combat the opioid crisis is headed to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk.

    Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) passed the Alternatives to Opioids Act out of the Senate in April and worked closely with the Department of Public Health and the House sponsor to address any concerns before bringing it for a final vote today.

    The measure creates a pilot program allowing individuals over the age of 21 with any condition for which opioids might be prescribed to apply for temporary access to the state’s medical cannabis program.

    “Opioid addiction takes the lives of thousands of Illinoisans every year,” Harmon said. “We should be open to any reasonable alternative treatment – and no one has ever died of a cannabis overdose.”

    Under the program, patients will obtain a physician’s certification that they have a condition for which an opioid could be prescribed. They may then take that to a dispensary to receive medical cannabis for a fixed period of time.

    To help clean up the backlog of applications for the full medical cannabis program at the Department of Public Health, the measure also allows anyone with a qualifying condition for the medical cannabis program to take physician certification to a dispensary to receive cannabis on a provisional basis while their application is processed.

    A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control last year found that a patient can become addicted to opioids within a week or even a few days of use.

    “It’s imperative that we give people the immediate option to pursue an alternative treatment to opioids,” Harmon said. “Opioid dependence can develop quickly and has devastating effects.”

    Senate Bill 336 passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support and now awaits the governor’s signature. 

  • harmon 053018SPRINGFIELD – A bipartisan plan to regulate gun dealers and reduce the number of illegal guns being used to commit crimes in the state was sent to the governor today.

    Senate Bill 337, sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), is the result of a bipartisan compromise that took place after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure on March 13.