The movie is both hyperbolic and subtle, a study in contrasts, and it’s incredible. It’s the kind of film that reminds one of the quote often attributed to Henry Ford, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
I’ve been thinking of this obscure Japanese movie lately because the 99th General Assembly just adjourned without a state budget. A stopgap passed in June of 2016 expired on December 31st leaving Illinois without a budget of any kind again.
And yet, at the eleventh hour there was a surprise announcement of a proposed “Grand Bargain” in the Illinois Senate. Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno announced that they had been negotiating an end to the budget impasse in the Senate.
At a January 9, 2017 press conference both Sen. Cullerton and Sen. Radogno laid out their plan to introduce a package of bills immediately after the inauguration for the 100th General Assembly. On Wednesday, January 9th, thirteen bills were introduced with enacting language that requires all the bills to be passed together, with a Three Muskateers strategy.
These bills deal with an extensive list of issues, and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce has an excellent summary here. As with any compromise there are provisions that are favorable to our Membership and there are provisions that are most assuredly not. We will continue to evaluate the package to determine the local impact, along with any proposed changes.
Most notably though, the bills increase the income tax rate from 3.75% to 4.95% and the corporate tax rate from 5.25% to 7%. The omnibus tax bill would also include a statewide tax on sugars-sweetened beverages along with many other tax proposals. The bills would also enact state minimum wage which would be ramped up over 4 years to a total of $11 per hour in July, 2021. Pension reform and workers’ compensation reform are also included, as is a 2 year property tax freeze.
These details just scratch the surface however, and more thorough analysis is needed to determine if this is the final answer or a good starting point for further negotiation. Yet, this bipartisan negotiation and potential framework is encouraging. Both Sen. Cullerton and Sen. Radogno have shown real courageous leadership here, and I sincerely hope that they continue in good faith to make our state more competitive.