On April 18, Senator Weaver accepted the "Legislative Hero Award" from the YMCA. Senator Weaver received the award largely due to his work in helping to secure funding for the Teen Reach project. Pictured are the YMCA Youth Governor- Trisha Prabhu, Senator Weaver, and President/CEO of Greater Peoria's YMCA- Andy Thornton.
Braxton Evans served as Senator Weaver's page for the day on April 18. Braxton is a junior at Quest Charter Academy. Braxton's hobbies include volunteering, reading, and hanging out with friends. After graduating high school, Braxton plans to attend a 4-year University and would then like to attend law school.
On April 18, officials from Henry County had their spring visit to the Capitol. Senator Weaver was able to sit down with the group to discuss issues impacting their county and get their feedback on various legislative measures. Pictured from left to right are: Denise Bulat, Braxton Evans (page for the day), Senator Neil Anderson, Dave Dyer (Galva City Administrator), Jim Cooper (Mayor of Orion), Roger Gradert (Henry Co. Board Chair), Lynn Sutton (Henry Co. Board member), Senator Weaver, Steve Looney (Mayor of Kewanee), Jeff Orton (Henry Co. Board member), and Mike Yaklich (Kewanee City Council)
Senate Republicans join together against anti-jobs tax proposals
Senator Weaver joined together with his colleagues in support of a resolution to oppose a graduated tax system that has been proposed by some candidates for statewide office.
Illinois’ current flat tax system levies one percentage for all earners, though because it is a percentage, actual tax bills are higher for higher incomes. A graduated tax system levies multiple rates for different income levels, which is often seen as a policy that discourages advancement and growth.
Sponsored by every member of the Senate Republican Caucus, Senate Resolution 1590 notes the importance and stability provided to employers and individuals alike by the current flat-tax system, allowing them to plan and grow in the Land of Lincoln. Especially when considering a tax burden ranked as one of the highest in the nation along with sky-high workers compensation costs, the state’s current flat tax system has often been cited as one of the few reasons for employers to add jobs in Illinois.
The Illinois Constitution would have to be changed to allow for a graduated tax. While a graduated tax bill may initially propose rates, once the Constitution is amended, lawmakers would then be able to set the various rates and tiers at whatever they wanted.
As an example of the danger of a graduated tax system, Senate Republicans noted the income levels and graduated rates seen in the state of California:
- $0 to $16,029 – 1 percent
- $16,030 to $38,001 – 2 percent
- $38,002 to $59,977 – 4 percent
- $59,978 to $83,257 – 6 percent
- $83,258 to $105,223 – 8 percent
- $105,224 to $537,499 – 9.3 percent
- $537,500 to $644,997 – 10.3 percent
- $644,998 to $999,999 – 11.3 percent
- $1,000,000 to $1,074,995 – 12.3 percent
- $1,074,996 or greater – 13.3 percent
Senator Weaver advances legislation
The Illinois Senate passed 2663, filed by Senator Weaver, which streamlines hunting requirements for youth. The legislation combines both the youth hunting and trapping licenses to make the application and administration process simpler and easier to understand. The legislation is an initiative of the Department of Natural Resources.
Weaver's Senate Bill 3031 also cleared the Senate. The legislation cleans up and modernizes state facility energy codes to bring them in line with commercial standards as well as cleans up the Green Buildings Act. Another of Weaver's bills, Senate Bill 3032, passed in the Senate is well. This legislation would improve the process for state agencies to approve contracts. Both 3031 and 3032 were initiatives of the Capital Development Board.
Property tax relief legislation filed
New legislation filed this week would allow residents in Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) counties to lower their property tax bills via referendum, an ability that is currently only given to residents in non-PTELL counties.
PTELL was designed as a system to set caps on how much property taxes can increase each year. However, since the system was first instituted in 1990, property taxes have actually grown faster in PTELL counties, despite the caps.
PTELL limits local governments to only increasing their tax revenue by 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, per year. Voters in PTELL counties have the option of raising their rates via referendum but are not currently allowed to lower them in the same way.
Senate Bill 2670, filed by State Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods), establishes the petition and voting requirements that would be required to place a referendum to lower property taxes on the ballot in PTELL counties.
The legislation is currently assigned to the Senate Revenue Committee.
IDOC opens new life-skills re-entry center
The Illinois Department of Corrections opened its second Life-Skills Re-entry Center. The facility, located in Murphysboro, is designed to teach offenders the skills needed to readjust to society upon their release, including things such as using the latest technology, scheduling medical appointments, and how to manage a bank account.
The goal is to reduce recidivism and offer inmates a better shot at leading a successful life. The first such Life-Skill Re-entry Center opened in Kewanee in early 2017, while a third, in Lincoln, is planned for the future. Offenders who have one to four years left on their sentence qualify for placement at the Life-Skills Re-entry Centers.
Senate honors former First Lady Barbara Bush
The Senate unanimously adopted a resolution honoring the life and work of former First Lady Barbara Bush. Filed by Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), and sponsored by all Senators, Senate Resolution 1624 noted her dedication to improving literacy, including her championing of the National Literacy Act and the founding of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which raised hundreds of millions of dollars for literacy programs.
Barbara Bush, who passed away on April 17 at the age 92, was married to George H.W. Bush for 73 years, and is only the second person to have been the wife of a U.S. President and the mother of a U.S. President.