SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Senate President Don Harmon issued the following statement.

“Like many of you, I’ve been reeling and angry after George Floyd’s murder. I’ve been driving through the communities I represent and seeing with my own eyes what’s happened. But I’ve struggled to find the right words, and the last thing the world needs right now is yet another person with a title explaining suffering he’s never experienced.

Several of my colleagues in the Illinois Senate’s Black Caucus, however, have encouraged me to speak up, not because I have some particularly great bit of wisdom to share, but rather because members of the Black Caucus do. It is my responsibility to use this position to amplify their voices and support their efforts.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx spoke recently of the ‘casual acceptance’ of so many things that are wrong. Her powerful words should cause us all to rethink what we have too easily accepted – not just the death of another unarmed black man at the hands of police, but the system that allowed it to happen.

The COVID-19 outbreak showed the world the uncomfortable realities revealed in the disproportionate and immoral number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths put upon minority communities. It has exposed the willingness of too many of us for far too long to look away from the suffering happening in other communities.

When you take the time to write it out, the injustice is embarrassingly inescapable. But times of crisis also provide us with an opportunity to examine what our society should be.

If we are angry over the murder of George Floyd and the system that allowed it to happen, we need to be just as angry over a system that would tolerate taking years off the life expectancy of a child just because she grows up on the West Side without access to quality nutrition or health care or all the other things many of us casually take for granted every day of our lives.

These things cannot be tolerated.

The unity that we experience in times of crisis must propel us to bring about meaningful fixes. I pledge my support to making those changes.

We know our economy has been broken by this pandemic. Mr. Floyd’s murder reminds us that there is more broken in our society.

In the days ahead, we have the chance to re-invest in Illinois. Not to rebuild a broken system. Not to restore a sense of comfort to some. Rather, this is an opportunity to re-imagine what Illinois can be for all of us.

As we move forward, I am committed to listening to ideas and building partnerships to make those changes and give a voice to those who feel their voices are not being heard.

We can, we must and we will be better.”

Category: Showcase

harmon floor 3 052120ftr

The Illinois Senate took the final legislative action needed to give voters the opportunity to keep or overhaul the state’s nearly 50 year old flat-tax tax system.

A constitutional amendment on the November ballot asks voters if they want to change the Illinois Constitution to a system of tax brackets where higher incomes pay a higher rate and middle class families and lower wage households pay a lower rate.

The Senate passed the final language that will appear both on the ballot and in a pamphlet sent to voters explaining what the amendment does and making the case for and against it. Supporters of the tax overhaul drafted the language regarding why it is a good idea. Republican lawmakers drafted the language opposing the change and in favor of keeping the status quo tax system.

Senate President Don Harmon sponsored the initial Fair Tax amendment and led Thursday’s legislative efforts to finalize the proposal, shrugging off recent calls from Republican critics that the option be taken away from voters.

"The Fair Tax promises tax relief to small businesses and middle-class families. I don't know why in the middle of a pandemic they would try to take that option away," Harmon said.

During Thursday’s debate, Harmon pointed out that 97 percent of Illinoisans would see lower taxes under the new tax system.

“And today, most importantly, the people who have been kicked in the teeth by this pandemic are the same people who will benefit the most from the Fair Tax. If you're earning $50,000 a year, if you've had your hours cut back, if you're worried about losing your job, you're the people who are going to get the most profound tax reduction from the Fair Tax,” Harmon said.

“Most people earning $250,000 or $500,000 a year aren't facing those same paralyzing fears. Their jobs may have been disrupted, but they likely have the resources to get by. And, they are almost certain to be making that kind of money going forward. The family getting by on $35,000 or $75,000 a year and worried about whether they're going to have the job, they're the ones who get the tax cut.”

Voters will decide whether to adopt the constitutional amendment in the November elections.

Category: Showcase

COVID-19

The Center For Illinois Politics takes a look at COVID - 19’s likely impact on the Illinois state budget, what we know so far and the many things that are left to figure out.

“This is unlike anything we’ve experienced, and it’s going to take patience and flexibility to recover.”

- Senate President Don Harmon

Read more from Senate President Harmon here. 

Category: Showcase

01292020CM0853c

“You shouldn’t be a lawmaker one day and a lobbyist the next.”

– Senate President Harmon

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon echoed Gov. JB Pritzker’s call for ethics reform in the wake of ongoing federal investigations.

In his State of the State address Wednesday, Pritzker said he wanted Illinois to adopt a revolving door prohibition to prevent elected officials from retiring one day and then immediately lobbying their former colleagues.

Harmon offered his support for the idea.

“I’ve long been troubled by the appearance of someone serving as a member of the General Assembly on Friday and becoming a lobbyist on Monday. That’s a problem and one we should tackle,” Harmon said. “You shouldn’t be a lawmaker one day and a lobbyist the next.”

Harmon also applauded Pritzker’s optimistic, positive tone to the speech, which was a marked contrast to the previous governor.

In his State of the State speech, Pritzker referenced a record high 6.2 million jobs in Illinois, the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history, a litany of fast-growing businesses and renewed interest in the state’s public universities among the successes Illinois experienced in the past year.

“It’s refreshing to have a governor be the lead cheerleader for the state,” Harmon said. “We need a governor telling the rest of the world what’s going right in Illinois.”

Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, was elected Senate President by his colleagues earlier this month.

###

Category: Showcase

harmon swearing in 011920 for site

SPRINGFIELD – After representing the people of Oak Park and the state of Illinois for more than 17 years, Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) looks forward to serving as the 39th Senate president, and thanks his colleagues for recognizing his legislative accomplishments and for believing in his ability to lead the chamber.

“The Senate is a collection of diverse views and diverse experiences but consistent purpose—to best represent the citizens who send us to the Capitol, to collaborate, to compromise, and to create better opportunities, better outcomes, and greater faith in the honor and integrity of our state,” President Harmon said.

Senate President Harmon was first elected to the Senate in the fall of 2002, and has since promoted a progressive agenda based on his commitment to social justice and public service. In 2011, former-Senate President John Cullerton appointed him president pro tempore, offering Harmon a key role in shaping policy and moving legislation through the Senate.

Notable legislation spearheaded by Senate President Harmon include the Preschool for All Program to expand access to preschool opportunities for thousands of Illinois families, a law to make same-day voter registration a permanent option, and the Fair Tax constitutional amendment to allow Illinois to vote to replace the current flat income tax with a fairer, more equitable and efficient approach to lower tax rates for lower income levels.

“The work now begins in earnest,” President Harmon said. “I look forward to joining together with Governor Pritzker and leaders in both chambers as we work to change the trajectory of our state and set a better course for our future.”

###

Category: Showcase

Contact Me

Email President Harmon

Springfield Office:
329 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176

Oak Park Office:
6941-B W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002
 

Social Media

facebook 50pxtwitter 50px

Find Your Legislator

E-Newsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
First Name(*)

Invalid Input

Last Name(*)

Invalid Input

Your Email(*)

Please let us know your email address.