Cary, IL – Illinois does not tax retirement income and State Rep. David McSweeney filed a bipartisan House Resolution to keep it that way. The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club has recently proposed a tax on retirement income. Rep. McSweeney introduced House Resolution 32, a bipartisan measure strongly opposing any effort to impose a tax on Illinois retirees.

“One of the few tax benefits we have in Illinois is protection for retirement income,” McSweeney said. “We do not need to hold retirees accountable for the out-of-control spending that has put our state’s financial future at risk. I will continue to fight to protect Illinois senior citizens. Instead of raising taxes, we need to cut unnecessary spending as well as reform pensions and Medicaid."

“Retirees did not create the current state fiscal crisis, nor did they anticipate in their lifetime of planning for their retirement years that their retirement income would be fully taxed by the state,” said Bob Gallo, State Director for AARP Illinois, which has 1.7 million members.  “It is unfair and shortsighted to propose balancing the state’s budget on the backs of these residents.”

Gallo added, “Retired seniors pay more than their fair share of other taxes, including high property taxes, and a combined sales tax rate nearing as much as 10 percent.  Illinois’ older residents also contribute to the state’s economy to the tune of $358.8 billion, or 46% of Illinois’ GDP, despite only making up 34% of the state’s population. Illinois would be smart to consider maintaining and adopting programs and policies that keep this important economic engine in our state, rather than considering policies that drive retirees, and their contributions to our state’s economy and workforce, elsewhere.”

HR 32 has been introduced with bipartisan co-sponsors and awaits assignment to a House Committee.

From Illinois Policy:

"State Reps. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, and Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook have co-sponsored a bill that would permanently lower property tax levies statewide by 10 percent.

The proposal, House Bill 320, would expand the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, or PTELL. PTELL limits the rate at which non-home rule communities in certain counties can increase their property tax levies. HB 320 would expand similar curbs to all taxing authorities in Illinois, regardless of county or home rule status.

“We have to do more than just stop property taxes from increasing – we must find ways to lower the property tax burden in Illinois,” McSweeney said in a statement.

Under HB 320, all Illinois taxing districts would phase in a 10-percent levy reduction during a two-year period. The levy is the annual amount a government requests from property taxpayers. Local governments would lower those requests by 5 percent in the 2019 levy year, and another 5 percent in 2020. The measure would freeze those 2020 levies, which could only increase again if voters approved a ballot question."
State Rep. David McSweeney has launched another attempt to pass a law that would eliminate the option to join the state pension system for new legislators in Springfield.

House Bill 293 aims to prevent newly appointed or elected lawmakers from participating in the General Assembly Retirement System beginning at the start of the next General Assembly in 2020.

McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, voluntarily opted out of the state pension system when he became a lawmaker. He contends that legislators receive “excessive benefits” compared with other public servants.

Read more at the Northwest Herald
“You can’t be for big government, big taxes and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.”

– Ronald Reagan

The most recent election night was not kind to Republicans in Illinois. Former Gov. Bruce Rauner, who didn’t accomplish anything as governor and presided over a massive tax hike and more out-of-control spending, was defeated in a landslide. The election was not a repudiation of Republican ideas – it was a repudiation of Raunerism.

The Democrats, led by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, may be pushing Illinois to become the California of the Midwest, but we still are a long way from that. There is a path to victory for Republicans in Illinois.

The Republican Party always will lose statewide in Illinois if it doesn’t give voters a clear choice on economic issues. The Republican Party must stand united for lower taxes, less spending and real reform.

Republicans have made significant gains in the rural parts of Illinois. Districts that once were Democratic strongholds are becoming Republican districts, but the gains in downstate Illinois are not enough to overcome big losses in the suburbs. If the Republican Party is going to turn its election fortunes around, the party must be able to win in both downstate Illinois and in the suburbs.

Republicans first must focus on advancing a positive agenda for Illinois. Only talking about House Speaker Michael Madigan is not a cohesive message. The best way to weaken Madigan is for Republicans to pick up legislative seats. Republicans must make the case that big government and high taxes are hurting, not helping, regular people.

We must show how these taxes are hurting real families and make an appeal to stop driving families out of Illinois by continuing to raise taxes. Republicans must go on the offensive.

The progressive income tax, the linchpin of the Pritzker plan, wouldn’t hurt the wealthy a lot – they easily can move out of Illinois. It would harm the middle class. There is a reason we do not see a tax rate schedule from those supporting the progressive income tax. They do not want voters to see exactly who the progressive income tax will affect. Do you really trust Illinois career politicians to set your tax rates?

The Illinois Republican Party also needs to stand united for cutting property taxes. Specifically, the General Assembly should extend the statewide property tax cap to all units of government (including home rule units of government) and then mandate a 10 percent cut in property tax levies over two years (5 percent a year). Property taxes then would be permanently frozen unless local voters approve an increase.

Local governments would be forced to cut administrative expenses and make hard spending decisions, just like Illinois families are required to do every day. Illinois has 7,000 units of local government. The key to long-term lower property taxes is to give voters the right to consolidate many local governments.

Republicans must oppose tax increases and offer solutions to reduce the cost of government. The most meaningful way to reduce spending is to enact meaningful pension reform. Arizona, similar to Illinois, has a Constitution that makes changing pension benefits very difficult.

The best path for Illinois is to follow the Arizona model and, as part of an overall negotiation with unions on other issues, pass a constitutional amendment to limit annual benefit increases. Also, all new state workers should participate in a 401(k) plan.

Another important way to reduce Illinois spending is to do a much better job of managing the state’s Medicaid program. In addition to eliminating Medicaid waste and fraud, Illinois should be actively pursuing multiple innovative waivers that would save money and make the program more efficient.

We also should be aggressively fighting to increase the federal government’s unfairly low 50 percent Medicaid matching percentage for Illinois. Many other states are receiving a far higher percentage of federal support.

In addition, Republicans need to present a positive agenda on health care. Republicans must strongly make the case for keeping coverage for pre-existing conditions at the state and national levels. Republicans must promote cost-savings ideas such as allowing health care to be purchased on a national basis, providing vouchers for low-income families to purchase health insurance and enacting meaningful medical malpractice reforms.

Finally, Illinois Republicans must recruit better candidates to run, and that recruiting process must begin now – not later. Republicans must look for candidates who can connect with voters and offer fresh ideas. These candidates must be inclusive and must be diverse and, most importantly, must stand for something. Republicans Party leaders also must focus on better integrating the use of technology and vote-by-mail programs in their campaign strategies. Most importantly, Republican candidates need to work harder to keep up with their well-organized Democratic opponents.

Illinois Republicans must rally around lower taxes and meaningful reforms as the only way to save the middle class and stop the mass exodus from Illinois. As Ronald Reagan said, “Simple fairness dictates that government must not raise taxes on families struggling to pay their bills.”

It is time for Republicans to rally around the message of standing up for the people of Illinois by supporting sound economic policies that can turn our state around. If we do that, we can win again.