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Archive for the ‘Pritzker’s Rules of Order’ Category

Springfield

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed 35 bills Friday, including measures impacting education, driving and public safety retirement.

Beginning Jan. 1, certain members of law enforcement can retire at the age 55 instead of 60.

Among the bills Pritzker signed Friday are measures that reduce the number of professional development hours for an educator license and allow a school district to waive the evaluation requirement of certain educators if they were rated “excellent” or “proficient” previously.

Another measure pertaining to schools prohibits districts from withholding a student’s grades, transcripts, or diploma because of an unpaid balance on school accounts.

Starting Jan. 1, a measure requires various state agencies to establish programs to receive reports from the public about possible self-harm, criminal acts or potential harm directed at school students, employees or schools.

Effective immediately is a measure that requires grocery stores or supermarkets to display both the regular price and discounted price of an item.

Several measures deal with driving. One measure starting Jan. 1, 2023, prohibits “street sideshows on any street or highway of the state.” A separate measure permits people with a suspended driver’s license due to failure to pay child support to obtain a school bus driver permit “under a new set of circumstances.”

Read more here.

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Gov.-Pritzker-signing

Two bills on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk would spend $20 million to add license plate monitoring cameras to 6,600 miles of highways in 22 counties. Civil rights groups fret about abuse. Illinois State Police can’t say they increase safety.

Two bills on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk could expand Illinois highway camera monitoring program to cover 6,600 more miles of road across 22 counties as the General Assembly looks to crack down on expressway crime before November elections.

House Bill 260 and House Bill 448 – passed alongside 80 other proposals in the final day of the legislative session – would see the governor expand a license plate monitoring pilot program from Cook County to the rest of Illinois with $20 million in new funding.

The measure would add hundreds of new cameras while increasing the number of crimes the cameras can be used to investigate and number of parties who can prosecute them.

While lawmakers argue the bills could assist in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed on state expressways, the Illinois State Police note they have been unable to quantify the number of crimes solved by the cameras during the Cook County pilot program.

Civil liberty groups opposed to the devices said there is a lack of transparency that leaves the program ripe for abuse. There is no information on how cameras are placed, there is a ban on drivers reviewing footage when charged with violations and there are requirements for law enforcement to delete video 120 days after recording – essentially destroying the evidence.

ISP spokesman Melaney Arnold said the agency would finalize and share camera locations only after the bill was signed into law. The new legislation notably excludes explicit guidance on which roadways would receive the additional monitoring.

More here.

Related:Highway camera expansion covering 6,600 miles of road in 22 counties awaits Pritzker’s signature

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Gas 1

Separately, state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, Illinois Fuel and Retail Association’s Josh Sharp, state Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, and Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, talk about tax policies

New Illinois law forces gas stations to campaign for Pritzker

A new crop of political signs is sprouting across Illinois, but rather than decorating the roadsides, these are on gas pumps. They contain a lot of legally-prescribed words, but here’s the gist: “Save 2.2 cents a gallon for six months. Vote for J.B.”

Still, the content of the signs isn’t quite as important as the message being delivered to Illinois’ gas station owners: “Push our campaign agenda, or we’ll treat you like a criminal and fine you $500 per day.”

Some explanation is in order.

State lawmakers passed their record $46.5 billion budget April 9 – an achievement for both size and the fact that even propped up with billions in federal pandemic cash, Illinois is still projected to spend more than it takes in for the 21st consecutive year. As state leaders touted their fiscal responsibility, they also spread a little campaign cheer by including tax rebates and delays that amount to $556 for the average Illinois family.

One of those “breaks” was a six-month delay in the next, automatic gas tax hike worth 2.2 cents per gallon. Note: It is a delay, meaning the tax hike scheduled for July 1, 2022, won’t hit until six months later and will give drivers two tax hikes in 2023 as the delayed one is followed by the regular one. The second bump in 2023 likely will be a whopper: 3.8 cents a gallon, taking the tax up to 45.2 cents based on economists’ inflation predictions.

Read more here.

Fuel retailers approve suing over Illinois gas tax sticker requirement

The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association plans to challenge the constitutionality of the requirement that gas stations promote a delay in the gas tax increase that Gov. J.B. Pritkzer signed into law Tuesday.

As part of the largest spending plan in Illinois state history, signed into law is a series of tax policy changes totaling $1.8 billion that found bipartisan support, though Republicans criticized the temporary measures as not real relief. Among those are one-time income and property tax rebates, tax credits for earned income and teachers. There’s also a sales tax holiday for school supplies set for a week in August.

Other tax changes include temporarily reducing to zero the state’s 1% tax on groceries and delaying the cost of living increase on the state’s gas tax of about 2 cents a gallon. The grocery tax would be zero for a year. The gas tax delay would be for six months. Both policies don’t kick in until July 1 after the governor signed the measures into law Tuesday.

Appearing with the governor in Chicago, state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said the approved tax measure helps working Illinoisans.

“We were able to help people at the grocery store,” Zalewski said. “We were able to help people at the gas pump. We were able to help teachers who go out of their way to purchase school supplies for their kids every year.”

Read more here.

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JBP

We’ll accept the checks and rebates coming to Illinoisans — but with no illusions about the timing

You heard that most of us will soon be getting some free money — or, if you prefer, some of your tax money — from the state of Illinois in the form of small payments, right? Plus, if you own property, the extra property tax rebates that are planned.

We have provided coverage of the tax relief that Gov. J.B. Pritzker first touted in his February budget address, as well as the final package in the budget that passed the General Assembly this month — only after a drawn-out final day of the legislative session that started on a Friday and lasted until dawn the following Saturday. You can be forgiven if you didn’t quite follow it all. Or you can be forgiven if you’re just not excited about it, or even if you’re suspicious of it. But the budget does include a number of enticements for taxpayers. Among them:

  • Doubling the property tax rebate to qualifying homeowners, up to $300 per household.
  • Direct tax rebates to taxpayers of $50 per individual and $100 per child, up to three children per family, for households with annual incomes below $200,000 per taxpayer.
  • Suspending the 1% grocery tax.
  • Freezing the inflationary increase in the motor fuel tax.
  • A suspension of the state sales tax on back-to-school purchases for a limited period in August.
  • Permanently expanding the earned income tax credit to 20% of the federal credit, up from 18%.

Read more of the Daily Herald editorial here.

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JB Gas

A new crop of political signs is sprouting across Illinois, but rather than decorating the roadsides, these are on gas pumps. They contain a lot of legally-prescribed words, but here’s the gist: “Save 2.2 cents a gallon for six months. Vote for J.B.”

Still, the content of the signs isn’t quite as important as the message being delivered to Illinois’ gas station owners: “Push our campaign agenda, or we’ll treat you like a criminal and fine you $500 per day.”

Some explanation is in order.

State lawmakers passed their record $46.5 billion budget April 9 – an achievement for both size and the fact that even propped up with billions in federal pandemic cash, Illinois is still projected to spend more than it takes in for the 21st consecutive year. As state leaders touted their fiscal responsibility, they also spread a little campaign cheer by including tax rebates and delays that amount to $556 for the average Illinois family.

One of those “breaks” was a six-month delay in the next, automatic gas tax hike worth 2.2 cents per gallon. Note: It is a delay, meaning the tax hike scheduled for July 1, 2022, won’t hit until six months later and will give drivers two tax hikes in 2023 as the delayed one is followed by the regular one. The second bump in 2023 likely will be a whopper: 3.8 cents a gallon, taking the tax up to 45.2 cents based on economists’ inflation predictions.

So, the big election-year gift is not even a cut but a delay of the upcoming hike of 2.2 cents for six months – until shortly after the election.

This grand legislative achievement is worth trumpeting across Illinois, so lawmakers decreed each gas pump should carry a sign, 4 inches by 8 inches, with bold lettering reading as follows: “As of July 1, 2022, the State of Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through December 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.”

More here

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JBP

The average Illinois household will continue paying significantly more each year in higher state and local taxes implemented after Gov. J.B. Pritzker took office, even with proposed tax cuts from Democrats at the statehouse, an analysis finds.

The report from the Illinois Policy Institute examines the state’s budget approved Saturday, which includes temporary tax savings amounting to about $556 per family, on average.

The tax breaks would come from a property tax rebate of up to $300, a one-year suspension of the state’s grocery tax coming out to an average of about $56, and a $200 low-income family tax credit. Pritzker also plans to suspend the state’s gas tax increase tied to inflation, though IPI says that provides no tax relief. The gas tax provision only delays for six months a scheduled 2.2 cents a gallon gas tax increase that hasn’t kicked in yet.

The report shows that Illinois families have paid a total of $2,721 in higher taxes since Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s 24 tax-and-fee hikes were implemented in 2019.

That breaks down to the average Illinois household paying roughly $680 more each year from 2019 to 2022 towards higher state and local gas taxes, vehicle registration fees, parking garage taxes, and online sales tax, the report shows.

Adam Schuster, vice president of policy for Illinois Policy, called the proposed tax cuts Democrats approved and Pritzker supports a political move done during an election season.

“Illinois has seen high taxes the past three years, and now this year he is proposing temporary tax changes,” Schuster said. “He is promoting this as tax relief but amounts to a little more than an election-year gimmick.”

More here.

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Camera

The Illinois House approved a law calling for the installation of license plate reading cameras. Big Brother just wants to solve crime.

A new measure passed in the Illinois House would have cameras with license plate scanning abilities installed along highways – useful for fighting crime or for taxing vehicles for the miles they travel.

Unlike typical traffic cameras that photograph plates for an infraction, this new technology records license plate information regardless of wrongdoing.

Gov. J.B Pritzker insisted more surveillance cameras will reduce crime.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said there’s no need for privacy concerns, that the state isn’t spying on people and that no warrants are needed.

He, too, said the cameras are essential to curbing crime such as Chicago-area highway shootings.

“Technology is critical to defeating crime, funding for cameras using automated license plate reader technology to help us identify and catch suspects involved in expressway shootings, and other violence, and we welcome the responsible expansion of that technology across the state,” Dart said.

More here.

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JBP

In a new report on America’s 50 governors, Gov. J.B Pritzker was ranked 47th because of the harm he’s done to the state economy. Voters saved him from a lower rank by rejecting his ‘fair tax.’

Gov. J.B Pritzker finds himself near the bottom of a new report on how America’s governors are guiding their state economies.

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s rankings are in the 2021 report on Economic Freedom: Grading America’s 50 Governors. The report ranked Pritzker overall at No. 47 – fourth from the bottom – by using a combination of Pritzker’s policies and the state’s economic performance under his leadership to form a list of 12 criteria.

One measure was Illinois’ 2021 economic performance: 48th in the nation, the third worst. Economic performance was mainly held back by Illinoisans moving out of the state. Illinois lost population during 2021 in 81 of 102 counties.

Voters prevented Pritzker from ranking even lower by defeating his state income tax hike, said Jonathan Williams, chief economist for ALEC.

“Voters in Illinois saved him from becoming 50th if they would have passed the progressive income tax that was on the ballot recently that I know he advocated very strongly in favor of,” Williams said.

Pritzker invested $58 million of his own dollars in the campaign to pass the “fair tax,” which would have allowed Illinois to start taxing retirement income and allowed state lawmakers to gradually increase taxes on different income brackets. Voters soundly rejected the tax in 2020, 55% to 45%.

Read on here.

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SAT Performance

SAT math scores dropped nearly 15%, and reading scores dropped 9% from 2019 to 2021 among Illinois high school juniors. Low-income and minority students saw bigger losses.

Illinois high school juniors saw greater declines in their standardized test scores from 2019 to 2021 compared to other school years, with math scores dropping nearly 15% and reading scores dropping 9%.

This drop in proficiency is higher compared to recent years, according to data released in December 2021 by the Illinois State Board of Education. Students’ SAT reading scores had dropped an average of nearly 4% from 2017 to 2019 while SAT math proficiency scores actually increased by 1.5% between 2018 and 2019 after a nearly 6% drop in the previous school year.

National data shows school closures had the biggest impact on the passing rates of low-income and minority students. Illinois saw the same trend – academic achievement between socioeconomic and demographic groups diverges, with low-income and minority students faring worse.

Among low-income high school juniors in 2021, under 16% scored at proficiency level in reading and fewer than 13% were proficient in math. This represents a nearly 15% and 25% overall proficiency decline since 2019 in each subject. Comparatively, proficiency scores in reading and math for higher-income juniors dropped around 11% and 16%, respectively.

Read more here.

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JB Pissed

Illinois reported the largest outmigration of residents of any state during 2021, marking the 8th consecutive year of population decline in Illinois. Chicago similarly saw more residents move away than any metropolitan area in the nation.

Illinois saw the largest departure of state residents in the nation during 2021, with 68% of Illinoisans who moved saying goodbye and heading for more affordable locales, a new study found.

The annual migration report from Allied Van Lines and Zillow found this trend was reflected in the state’s largest city, Chicago, which reported the most outbound moves of any metropolitan area in the nation.

The 2021 report marks a record-setting 8th consecutive year of population decline for Illinois.

Most residents leaving Illinois traveled to states with warmer climates where housing prices were significantly cheaper. South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina ranked highest for inbound moves nationally.

The report found most Chicagoans leaving the state were most likely to take up residence in Phoenix, Los Angeles or Houston.

Census data shows Illinois’ population declined by 113,776 from July 1, 2020, through July 1, 2021. No other Midwestern or neighboring state saw a population decline of more than 17,000.

The major reasons Illinoisans have chosen to leave the state are for better housing and employment opportunities, both of which have been made worse by poor public policy in Illinois.

More here.

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