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SPRINGFIELD — A Republican state lawmaker is calling for the resurrection of the death penalty in Illinois after two mass shootings in the United States and recent gun violence in Chicago.

Rep. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills said he will either sponsor or co-sponsor some version of a measure overturning the abolishment former Gov. Pat Quinn placed on capital punishment eight years ago. Former Gov. George Ryan had placed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000.

At the time, Quinn said Illinois should not have a system in place that might result in the erroneous execution of citizens. McSweeney said “eliminating the death penalty was a terrible mistake.”

“It has been a complete failure,” he said.

Read more from The News-Gazette here.

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State Rep. David McSweeney

Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, sponsored a bill signed Friday by Gov. JB Pritzker that gives the voters of McHenry County the power to dissolve the 17 townships that currently comprise the county.

The synopsis as introduced in House Bill 348 reads as follows:

“Amends the Township Code. Provides that the board of trustees of any township located in McHenry County may submit a proposition to dissolve the township to the township electors or township electors may petition for a referendum to dissolve a township. Provides for the transfer of real and personal property, and any other assets, together with all personnel, contractual obligations, and liabilities of the dissolving township to McHenry County.

Provides that all road districts wholly within the boundaries of the dissolving township are dissolved on the date of dissolution of the dissolving township and the powers and responsibilities of the road district are transferred to McHenry County, and provides that municipalities within the dissolving township may elect to assume the duties and responsibilities of the road district or road districts.

Limits extensions of specified property tax levies to 90% of the original property tax levy and within the boundaries of the dissolved township. Amends the Election Code and Counties Code making conforming changes.

Amends the Illinois Highway Code. Provides that any township in Lake County or McHenry County shall abolish a road district of that township if the roads of the road district are less than 15 miles in length.

Provides that the road district is abolished on the expiration of the term of office of the highway commissioner of the road district facing abolition following the determination by the county engineer or county superintendent of highways. Provides that the township board of trustees may enter into a contract with the county, a municipality, or a private contractor to administer the roads added to its jurisdiction.”

House Bill 348 took effect immediately upon signing and can be viewed here.

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Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker has pitched his graduated-rate income tax plan by emphasizing that only a tiny sliver of Illinois residents would pay more if voters approve a change to the state constitution in November 2020.

Those residents, as might be expected, are concentrated in a handful of wealthy enclaves in the city and suburbs. In fact, a quarter of all taxpayers statewide who would be hit by the higher rates — those earning more than $250,000 a year — reside in just 15 of the state’s more than 1,500 ZIP codes, covering places like Lincoln Park, Wilmette, Barrington and Elmhurst, according to a Tribune analysis of Illinois Department of Revenue income tax data from 2016, the most recent year available.

Read the full Chicago Tribune article here.

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BARRINGTON, Ill. — Every Thursday in this affluent village about an hour northwest of Chicago, residents gather for classic car night, a sumptuous display of pricey, refurbished vehicles. Lately, conversation has turned to the new Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, and his plan to raise taxes on the richest 3 percent of Illinois residents.

Kim Flores, a retired accountant showing off his restored ­horizon-blue 1949 Cadillac, said he has supported Democrats for years, but the tax plan is causing him to reconsider.

“Increasing taxes on the rich is just nonsense,” said Flores, 72. “I completely agree that middle-income people are hurting versus the higher-income people, and that is just wrong. But what are you going to do?”

Emboldened by major state-level gains in 2018, Democrats in Illinois are pressing to raise taxes on the rich to address ­long-neglected needs, such as schools and roads. Plans to raise taxes on the rich also have been considered in New Mexico, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey this year.

Read the full Washington Post article here.

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“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

— Winston Churchill

State Rep. David McSweeney, Barrington Hills

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, after signing the largest budget in Illinois history, declared that the Land of Lincoln is back, but he failed to complete the rest of that sentence. Illinois is back to the failed policies of more tax increases and out of control spending. Republican “leaders” who supported Pritzker’s big government fiscal policies should be ashamed of themselves. I voted an emphatic “no” on the Pritzker budget and tax increases.

The $40 billion Fiscal Year 2020 unbalanced budget that the governor signed contains more spending than the budget he originally proposed and includes no spending reforms. The budget also includes tax increases on health insurance and online purchases. The Illinois Constitution requires “appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.” The General Assembly did not pass a revenue estimate so this budget cannot be truly balanced. Also, overly optimistic revenue forecasts unrealistically assume that one-time revenue gains will be sustainable.

As egregious as the additional spending is, the real story of the 2019 spring session is taxes, taxes and more taxes. The progressive income tax constitutional amendment is the linchpin for massive future tax hikes and new state spending. Fortunately, voters will have the final say on the progressive income tax constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in the general election next year. I’m confident that 60% of Illinois voters will not support massive tax increases that will eventually hit the middle class. Do you really trust Illinois political insiders to set your tax rates under a progressive tax system?

Read the full David McSweeny opinion piece in the Daily Herald here.

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Conditional graduated tax rates and a pair of bills aimed at addressing Illinois’ high property tax costs passed the General Assembly on Friday and will head to the governor.

The graduated tax rate structure will take effect in January 2021 only if voters approve a constitutional amendment on the November 2020 general election ballot. The Senate’s vote Friday was a procedural concurrence with a minor House amendment, after the House approved the bill Thursday.

The property tax bills became part of the conversation this session at the request of several “swing” votes on the constitutional amendment, and were backed by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

One bill, Senate Bill 39, will establish a “property tax relief fund,” which would be used to pay refunds to Illinois property taxpayers, but it would be subject to the appropriations of future General Assemblies and would not take effect until January 2021.

It passed the House 98-16 Thursday night with one voting present, and it passed the Senate 56-0 with one present vote Friday.

Read more here.

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In a historic vote, the Illinois House on Monday agreed to ask voters to change the 1970 state constitution by authorizing a graduated-rate tax based on the size of income and repealing the currently mandated flat-rate income tax.

The move came on a 73-44 party-line vote, two votes more than the bare minimum needed for approval. It represented a significant victory for first-term Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned for election on the concept of taxing wealthier incomes at a higher rate as part of an overall plan to deal with Illinois’ ailing finances. Pritzker hailed the vote as “a giant leap forward for the middle class.”

The proposed amendment won’t go before voters for ratification until the general election in November 2020. It would require approval from 60% of those voting on the issue, or a majority of those voting in the election, to be adopted.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

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