Thursday, March 29, 2007

Things are Heating Up

There has been a whole lot of action this week, much of which coming to a crescendo today. This morning, the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee passed House Bill 750 by a 12-3-6 vote. There have been a lot of negotiations on this bill over the last couple of years, with more to come, and it is virtually certain that the bill will go back to committee before going to the full House for consideration. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that this is the most significant step forward in years in efforts to reform education funding, while providing for increased accountability and some property tax relief for residents.

Magnifying the importance of HB 750 is the fact that it is seen as muddying the efforts to steamroll the GRT plan through the legislature. My thoughts are that the stakes are high and getting higher on these issues, which should hopefully force discussions that will only serve to make any final product a better bill.

I was also told this morning that the Senate will likely vote on the Smoke-Free Illinois bill today. Some people very close to the issue said that they anticipate a close, but favorable vote on the matter, sending over to the House for action after the House break.

While all of this is going on, negotiations continue on an issue near and dear to myself and my constituents, namely the extension and improvement of the so-called 7% Bill. This bill is of critical importance to residents in Cook County, and we remain resolute in our efforts to get something to the Governor's desk as soon as possible.

I plan on writing in the near future on some interesting changes in dynamics down here, and what they may hold for the short and near term of Springfield politics.


At April 8, 2007 at 11:01 PM, Blogger respectful said...

Tell us more about the changing dynamics in Springfield...

At April 13, 2007 at 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one who can sell at a significant profit and move whenever the local property tax gets too onerous, I can escape HB 750 if it passes.

But those Illinoisians, especially those in the Cook and collar suburbs, who can't escape that easily, might want to be asking the following specific questions:

How much more money will my school district(s) get under 750 than it would get if no tax increase is passed (how will the new tax haul be distributed). Is this a permanent or temporary distribution formula. (how much will we get next year and the year after that and so on).

How much will my property taxes go down. For how long. If my local school district says it needs more money, will my property taxes hold steady even if the assessment goes up. Or will they start to rise again soon.

Of course, despite these uncertainties, I don't need to ask if my income tax, at whatever percent, will ever be reduced if I stay here. It won't.

Maybe suburbanites like throwing money at government. And seniors can always take out a reverse mortgage. For them, these questions will be irrelevant. But I would definitely advise running the numbers.


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