It won’t be easy, but let’s confront this challenge with honesty. Our obligations as a state outmatch our resources. Our fiscal situation right now is challenging. And the solution requires a collective commitment to embracing hard choices.
I sincerely hope that the sentiment expressed in that speech holds true. Our fiscal situation is staggeringly bad but will only deteriorate if we continue to view the challenge as myopic partisans. We also know that business growth will only help alleviate the budgetary challenges and that we have some catch up to do with our neighbors who have been outpacing us in recent years.
However, as I have become fond of repeating in recent weeks, “the details matter.” And the details of the Governor’s budget include a lot of grand promises. In his budget address on February 20, he proposed to extend the pension ramp, legalize and tax marijuana, expand gambling, as well as institute a new tax health insurance tax on managed care organizations among many others.
Any one of these proposals is a major change for Illinois and should be considered fully before enacted. There is a tremendous sense of urgency but also a necessity to get the details right. I hope the Governor’s words remain true in practice.
Undoubtedly all of you will bring your own priorities, ideas, and concerns to the budget process. I welcome that conversation – that’s as it should be. We are all here, Democrats and Republicans, with the common desire to serve the people of our state well. And we do that better when we talk to each other, and more importantly, listen to each other.
Naperville City Council passed an ordinance change on February 19 that aligned the Naperville City Code with recent changes to state law on hemp. The change specifically excludes hemp and hemp derived products from the definition of cannabis so long as they have a de minimus amount of THC. The NACC was in support of this change as it helps clear up the law regarding CBD and other non-hallucinogenic hemp products for retailers.
$15 Minimum Wage by 2025
The Governor signed SB1 into law on Feb. 19. The law raises the minimum wage to $9.25 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020. It continues to raise the wage with yearly increases to $15 per hour by 2025. Employees who are under 18 top out at $13 per hour and a tax incentive is included for smaller businesses. Finally, the 60/40 tax split is maintained for tipped workers.