State Fiscal Year Starts Without Budget, Blame Game Starts - After months of wrangling, finger pointing and political theater over competing budget proposals, Illinois started its new fiscal year on July 1 without a state budget in place. As the IMA reported previously, Democrats in the General Assembly approved a $36 billion state budget in the final days of May while publicly acknowledging that the budget was unbalanced. Their budget had a multi-billion dollar deficit because state revenues are estimated to be only $32 billion following the expiration of the “temporary” income tax at the beginning of the year.
IMA Hosts Governor Bruce Rauner in Bloomington - The IMA and member company bopi (Bloomington Offset Print Inc.) hosted Governor Bruce Rauner for a visit this week in Bloomington to discuss his Turnaround Agenda. bopi is a small, family-owned printer that faces many of the same challenges negatively impacting other companies such as tax policy and workers’ compensation.
IMA Leads Testimony at Enterprise Zone Hearing - Members of the House Revenue & Finance Committee invited the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association to testify at a subject matter-only hearing this week to discuss the Illinois enterprise zone program. In 2012, the IMA spearheaded a coalition that successfully pushed for a 25-year, long-term extension of the EZ program (Public Act 97-0905). Enterprise zones use a combination of state and local tax incentives to encourage economic development in distressed areas of the state.
Energy Policy Proposals Unveiled - Over the next several months, lawmakers will weigh two competing proposals that make major changes in Illinois’ energy policy that could have a significant impact on energy-intensive sectors such as manufacturing. The IMA plans to heavily engage in the energy debate this year as it winds through the legislative process.
Governor Rauner Offers Budget Blueprint - This week, Governor Bruce Rauner delivered a dose of tough medicine to a joint session of the General Assembly when he gave his inaugural budget address that cuts spending by $6.2 billion from last year’s budget that totaled more than $38 billion. Under the new budget blueprint, Illinois will have $32 billion in tax revenue to spend next year largely as the result of the reduction in income tax rates that occurred when the temporary income tax expired at the end of 2014. While critics chafed at reductions to spending cuts in nearly every state agency, it’s important to recognize that this is the first volley in the annual budget battle.
Governor Bruce Rauner Delivers State of the State Address - In his first major address before a joint session of the General Assembly, newly inaugurated Governor Bruce Rauner laid out a bold and comprehensive plan to create an “Illinois turnaround.” Key themes of the half-hour speech included working together with the legislature in a bipartisan fashion to create jobs, provide property tax relief, empower voters and invest in education and workforce development.
Departing General Assembly Gives Asbestos Gift To Trial Bar - In less than a week, the General Assembly introduced and passed legislation on partisan roll call votes in the House of Representatives and Senate that eliminates the ten-year statute of repose for asbestos court cases. An initiative of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, SB 2221 eliminates the current statute of repose meaning that there is no time limit by which individuals must discover that they have mesothelioma caused by asbestos. Once an individual determines that they have this disease, they still must abide by the four-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit.
IMA Annual Luncheon Featuring UI Manufacturing Lab Leader - In two weeks, hundreds of manufacturing leaders from across Illinois will gather in Chicago on Friday, December 5 for the IMA’s Annual Luncheon, our premiere event of the year. We are extremely pleased that Caralynn Nowinski, executive director of UI Labs that includes the $320 million Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, will be the keynote speaker at the event.
JCAR Delays Vote on Hydraulic Fracturing Rules - For the second time in a month, members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) unanimously voted to delay a final vote on administrative rules while negotiations continue. It has been 487 days since Governor Quinn signed the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act into law after overwhelming passage by the General Assembly.
Tax & Budget Debate Continues - With less than ten days remaining in the spring legislative session, the House and Senate appear to remain far apart on passage of a state budget. As the IMA reported last week, the House of Representatives passed a $38 billion budget late last week that presumed revenue from making the temporary income tax hike permanent. Following passage, the House used a parliamentary procedure to keep the bills in the chamber pending discussions on the tax extension.