Roughly 99 percent of Illinois taxpayers and an overwhelming number of small businesses would see an income tax cut under a proposal advanced Tuesday by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park).

Legislation making its way through the Illinois Senate would amend the Illinois Constitution and permit the General Assembly to enact a fair state income tax, with lower rates applying to lower incomes and higher rates applying to higher incomes.

The amendment – SJRCA 1 – passed in the Senate Executive Committee on Tuesday, clearing the way for it to move to the Senate floor for consideration. Identical legislation is making its way through the Illinois House.

“I firmly believe it is time for Illinois to join the modern era and implement a fair income tax that helps the hardworking people of this state hold on to more of their paychecks,” Harmon said.

“Illinois taxes all residents at a flat rate across the board, regardless of income. This archaic system of penalizing the poor and rewarding the rich is ripe for exactly the kind of meaningful structural reform Gov. Rauner has been demanding.”

The constitutional amendment only would enable the state to enact a fair income tax. Separate Senate legislation – an amendment filed Tuesday to Senate Bill 518, which is sponsored by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) – would implement the fair tax rates.

Illinois is one of only two Midwestern states with a flat tax, which is enshrined in the state constitution. Indiana has a flat tax, but it allows an additional local income tax to be collected, with rates that vary by county. SJRCA 1 would bar local governments in Illinois from imposing income taxes.

Among all states, 34 have a progressive – or fair – income tax. Nine have a flat income tax, and seven have no income tax at all. Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota have a progressive income tax structure.

“There are better ways to structure tax rates, as other states already have learned. Illinois has been slow to come to the table on this,” Harmon said.

“The time is right for serious consideration of a fair state income tax, which would result in a healthier bottom line for working families, as well as for the state government they help to support.”

Category: Showcase

HarmonFloor03032016Averting the possibility of a strike or lockout of thousands of unionized state employees is in the best interest of Illinois and the economy of the communities where they live, work and pay taxes, Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said Thursday.

Harmon is the Senate sponsor of House Bill 580, which would allow the use of binding interest arbitration when the State of Illinois and employees can’t come to terms on union contract negotiations.

The Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 38-17 on Thursday. It previously passed in the House and now will go to Gov. Bruce Rauner for consideration.

“I am concerned about the inability of the state and AFSCME to come to terms on a contract and what that could mean for state operations, particularly in light of Gov. Rauner’s past comments that he is willing to shut down the government to make a point with unions,” Harmon said.

“A strike or lockout of thousands of workers throughout Illinois is not good for businesses – from daycare centers and grocery stores to banks and utility companies – nor is it responsible to the taxpayers who expect the state services they pay for.”

The state and employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, have been without a contract since it expired June 30, 2015. In addition to AFSCME, the governor’s office has not reached a deal with 80 other state employee unions whose contracts are under negotiation.

Interest arbitration would be an optional tool that could bring moderation to labor talks and offer both sides an incentive to stay at the table, rather than go to a strike or a lockout.

“This legislation does not force any particular outcome to negotiations, nor will it cost the state a dime more to have arbitration available as a tool,” Harmon said. “But, clearly, in these difficult times for state government, it is critical that both sides stay at the table and reach a deal. HB580 would help to ensure that.”

Category: Showcase

AlmaMaterSen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) joined members of the Illinois Senate today in voting to override the governor’s veto of legislation that would provide college tuition assistance through the Illinois Monetary Award Program.

“Today, members of the Senate struck a blow for college students all over the state. These students and their families find themselves caught in the middle of a budget stalemate that is causing Illinois’ higher education network to unravel,” Harmon said.

“Our message today is clear: these students have not been forgotten, and they deserve a chance to continue pursuing their education with the state’s help as promised. Overriding the governor’s veto of MAP grant funding was the right thing to do for the state of Illinois, for its people and for its economy.”

More than 130,000 middle- and low-income college students in Illinois benefit from MAP grants, which help to cover the cost of tuition at community colleges and universities statewide.

In Harmon’s district alone, 2,362 students were awarded more than $6.7 million in MAP grants during the 2015 fiscal year.

The Senate voted 37 to 17 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 2043, which not only provides money for MAP grants for the 2015-16 academic year, but also includes money for community colleges and career-technical and adult education.

SB2043 passed both chambers in January, and the governor vetoed it in February.

The motion to override now heads to the Illinois House for consideration.

Category: Showcase

Capitol domeSen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) today called on Republican leaders in the General Assembly to focus on solutions to the state’s budget crisis rather than proposing such ill-conceived ideas as a state takeover of the finances of the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools.

“Illinois’ own well-documented fiscal problems deserve the full, undivided attention of GOP leaders and Gov. Bruce Rauner right now,” Harmon said. “If Illinois under Gov. Rauner’s leadership can’t find a way to fund basic human services and grants promised to needy college students, it’s certainly in no position to take over Chicago Public Schools.”

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Category: Showcase

voter reg

SPRINGFIELD — A proposal to bring automatic voter registration to Illinois is another step toward modernizing the state’s voting process and producing an engaged and informed electorate, Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said Wednesday.

“In recent years, we have made Illinois much friendlier to voters, and we have made access to registration and voting much easier,” Harmon said. “Automatic voter registration is the obvious next step. Illinois has been a leader in this. We don’t want to fall behind other states that are moving more quickly. We need to remain a leader across the country.”

Harmon was among a group of Illinois senators who called for passage of an automatic voter registration law during a press conference Wednesday. They were joined by representatives of Just Democracy Illinois, a coalition that works to expand voter access.

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Category: Showcase

Contact Me

Email President Harmon

Springfield Office:
309-G Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176

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

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