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Government Affairs Report/Illinois State Chamber of Commerce

p22 maischChamber testifies against financial tax
    The Senate Revenue and House Revenue and Finance Committees held a joint subject matter hearing on June 7 in Chicago over a proposed financial transaction tax on stocks, futures and other monetary transactions in Illinois.
    HB 106 (Flowers) would implement a tax on engaging in financial transactions on certain specified exchanges in Chicago. The tax is imposed on financial “contracts” at a rate of $1 per contract for which the underlying asset is an agricultural product and $2 per contract for all other contracts.
    Keith Staats, executive director of the Chamber’s Tax Institute, provided oral and written testimony against the tax to committee members, highlighting the constitutional and substantive defects in HB 106.
    CME Group’s Executive Chairman and President Terry Duffy also testified in opposition to the proposal, citing many reasons, one of which would put the largest exchange in the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace. Among the proponents in attendance at the hearing were the Chicago Teachers Union, National Nurses United, and Fair Economy Illinois.
    The probability of this measure actually passing with three-fifths majority is unlikely.
Chamber victories
    Lockbox: Lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the Lockbox Amendment (HJRCA 36 – Phelps/Haine), an Illinois Chamber initiative that would protect transportation infrastructure funding. Illinois has used billions of dollars from the Road Fund for other purposes, and voters will now decide in November whether those dollars should be locked for transportation.
    As the legislative session came to a close, another resolution that creates and authorizes the ballot language resolution for HJR 154 (Phelps/Haine) passed the Senate after flying through the House May 31. The education campaign necessary to win in November will require a lot of resources and time. If your organization wants to be engaged in these efforts, please contact Benjamin Brockschmidt, executive director of the Chamber’s Infrastructure Council.
Graduated income tax
    There was a great deal of discussion this spring about constitutional amendments authorizing a graduated income tax.
    HJRCA 59 (C. Mitchell) and SJRCA 1 (Harmon) would have replaced Illinois’ current flat tax system with a graduated income tax system. This so-called “fair tax” would have resulted in a stifling of small-business growth and more high earners leaving Illinois. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce actively lobbied against the proposal in both the House and Senate. While many opposed the tax increases, the chamber president was one of fewer than a handful of opponents who appeared before lawmakers to stand up for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in committee.

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