Harmon04222016Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, released the following statement regarding his vote today to approve emergency funding for Illinois universities and human service providers:

“Today the General Assembly voted for intermediate funding to offer some temporary relief for state universities and human service providers that face closure as we continue trying to find areas of compromise with Gov. Rauner.

“The most unfortunate part of today’s vote is that the governor has legislation on his desk that would fully fund universities and human service agencies, rather than give them just enough to keep their doors open for the short term.

“I am frustrated that the state of Illinois’ budgeting process has devolved into a system of bandages and short-term bail outs. ‘A fraction of funding is better than zero funding’ is no way to approach budgeting for state government.”

Category: News

Cash

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

Dear friends,

As my legislative colleagues and I continue to look for opportunities to collaborate with the governor on budget solutions that support Illinois' working families, I also have been busy advancing legislation that benefits my constituents and Illinois.

As always, I encourage you to stay in touch. Should you have any questions, please contact my office at 708-848-2002.

Sincerely,

Senator Don Harmon
39th District – Illinois

Read more ...

Category: E-Newsletters

SenatorHarmonSenator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today regarding the Illinois budget stalemate:

“Every day my colleagues and I are confronted with sobering reminders of the consequences of Illinois’ historic budget stalemate. In communities throughout the state, organizations that help the poor, the sick, the elderly, the young and the disenfranchised on behalf of state government are closing their doors because they have not been paid. Highly respected public universities and community colleges are preparing what amount to doomsday scenarios because they, too, have received no state money. As the state’s backlog of bills grows, so does uncertainty about Illinois’ future.

“Senate Bill 2046, which the Senate approved today (with changes suggested in the House), would offer assurances to providers of vital services that are on the brink of collapse today, while giving Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly time to continue working with the governor on longer-term solutions to Illinois’ financial and economic problems.

“I don’t think we can say it enough: The General Assembly and the governor cannot allow Illinois’ network of human services and higher education to collapse in the short term for the sake of non-budgetary initiatives that require time and effort to negotiate. Shutting down the government is not an option. This legislation offers temporary relief.

“I urge Gov. Rauner to sign Senate Bill 2046 and bring some stability to universities, community colleges, human service providers and the communities statewide that rely on those institutions for jobs and for help.”

Category: News

BobcatSaying the state lacks adequate information about Illinois’ recovering bobcat population, Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) has proposed a prohibition on trapping the animals and selling their pelts.

Senate Bill 2143, which passed out of a Senate committee on Thursday, does not repeal recently enacted state law that allows hunting of bobcats.

“If it was up to me, I would take bobcats off the list of animals that can be hunted in Illinois,” Harmon said. “But under this legislation, folks still can hunt bobcats in an effort to manage the population in a responsible and humane way. They just can’t trap them.”

Currently, bobcat pelts have a market price of about $35 in Illinois. Harmon said he is concerned that Illinois is creating a market for the pelts of an animal that not long ago was a threatened species here.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation in July 2015 allowing licensed hunters to kill one bobcat per season. The practice had been banned in Illinois for about 40 years because the population had dwindled. Bobcats were removed from the state’s threatened species list in 1999.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates there are 3,000 bobcats in southern Illinois, 2,000 in western Illinois and 1,500 in other parts of the state. More precise figures and other data about the state’s bobcat population are unknown, though. The animals are nocturnal and reclusive.

“We don’t have the numbers, and we don’t have all the facts. Let’s slow down and not create a market for pelts of an animal whose population is still coming back,” Harmon said.

“If we’re going to kill animals, I would like for people to use all of the resources those animals provide. That’s the responsible thing to do. But it troubles me that bobcat hunting rules are rushed and without the benefit of having all the facts.

“Let’s not inadvertently create the incentives to hunt for sport only animals that were recently endangered and may still well be threatened.”

Category: News

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Email Senator Harmon

Springfield Office:
329 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176
(f) 217.558.6013

Oak Park Office:
6941-B W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002
(f) 708.848.2022

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