Property taxes, pensions and bill backlog big challenges for Illinois lawmakers

4 The Record

Higher state funding for schools could alleviate property taxes

Illinois state lawmakers are back at work in Springfield for the second year of the Pritzker administration.

Governor JB Pritzker highlighted his successes of the first year and focused on some priorities for this year in his State of the State address a week and a half ago.

He touted the $45 billion infrastructure plan, legal marijuana and the state’s path toward a $15 minimum wage.

A big challenge this year will be to convince voters in November to adopt a constitutional amendment to switch to a graduated income tax rate structure and the governor emphasized the need for ethics reform to eliminate corruption in state politics.

There’s a lot to unpack there in just those few highlights.

Two people who spend a lot of time in Springfield helped us sort through it on this week’s 4 The Record: Democratic State Representative Mike Halpin and Republican State Senator Neil Anderson.

Budget-related matters

Governor Pritzker mentioned there is still plenty of work to do on the state’s finances.

Things like high property taxes and state pensions aren’t under control, plus there’s that bill backlog.

Illinois has more than $6 billion in unpaid bills.

Halpin and Anderson shared how they expect this to get addressed in Springfield this session.

Income tax

There’s the constitutional amendment to change the income tax structure.

Any progress that Illinois made to address its financial problems last year depends on it passing, otherwise there would be a new budget crisis.

Anderson and Halpin addressed how much conversation there is among Democrats and Republicans to work together to adopt it, if Republicans are happy to see it fail given the consequences that are at stake and if there are any concessions Democrats can make to get that support.

Ethics reform

Governor Pritzker’s emphasis on ethics reform comes after a few state lawmakers got in legal trouble.

One was convicted on bribery charges, another indicted on bribery charges and a third on embezzlment charges.

The governor’s plan puts an emphasis on conflicts of interest and the cozy relationships that sometimes exist with lobbyists.

Halpin and Anderson discussed how far does this legislation needs to go to be effective.

Watch the full conversation in the video above.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you.  It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.

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