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IFT Legislative Highlights for the Week of March 8

The Illinois General Assembly was busy working again this week. Senators returned in person to the Capitol for floor action and committee work, while representatives held remote committee hearings without convening in person.


Highlights of the action include:


Education pillar of Illinois Legislative Black Caucus agenda signed into law

At a signing ceremony March 8, Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 2170 into law. More background can be found here. The bill will help bridge the educational gaps that have existed for Black and Brown children from early childhood to higher education. Resources to close the digital divide, provide Social Emotional Learning (SEL) supports, and strengthen post-secondary transitions will promote equity and help bring real justice to education.


House Revenue Committee discusses state fiscal outlook

On March 11 the House Revenue Committee heard from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) and the legislative Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) about revised revenue estimates for both the current and upcoming fiscal year. Lawmakers will use the estimates to craft the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget. While the state suffered a severe downturn during the first few months of the pandemic, GOMB and COGFA reported that the economy rebounded more quickly than expected and that the revenue losses for this fiscal year were not as bad as initially expected.


While the revenue estimates are better than anticipated, Illinois is still facing a revenue shortfall due to lack of approval of the Fair Tax. One idea being considered to address the problem is “decoupling” from federal tax law changes included as part of the federal economic stimulus created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Specifically, that change involves increasing the tax relief businesses could claim under the existing net operating loss and excess business loss tax breaks. Because the Illinois income tax code is predicated on federal law, whenever Congress increases existing tax relief already received by businesses at the federal level, that tax relief automatically applies under Illinois law, resulting in a simultaneous reduction in tax revenue for the state. If legislative action isn’t taken, Illinois could lose from $500 million to $1 billion in tax revenue this year.


BILLS APPROVED BY COMMITTEES THIS WEEK

Military Dependent Tuition

HB 557 (Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore)