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CATA confers with lawmakers

November 22, 2010
Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego),

Republican leader in the Illinois House, anticipates a contentious end to the spring legislative session, with Gov. Rod Blagojevich battling lawmakers- some in his own Democratic party-over his $53 billion budget plan. The governor stressed he is opposed to a temporary income tax increase to solve budget gaps. A budget can pass until May 31 with the support of 51 percent of legislators in each chamber. Afterwards, a supermajority of 61 percent is required. Cross, in a meeting with the CATA board of directors, said if negotiations stall, he envisions a summer spent by the governor beating up on the General Assembly's majority party-the Democrats. "The fees are going to be where the fights are, and the borrowing," Cross said. Dealers appear to be safe from any fee increases thisyear. Sen. Frank Watson (RGreenville), Republican leader of the Senate, said the budget's  current state is "not good." He told the CATA board: "It's not funded to create a balanced budget. You can't put it all on the backs of business, with fees." "I'm willing to sit down and talk about spending. I'm not seeing a lot of interest on the other side. The governor is not focused on the problems of the state," Watson said. Earlier this year, Blagojevich proposed eliminating the Retailer's Collection Allowance, which lets retailers keep 1.75 percent of the sales tax collected and remitted to the Illinois Revenue Department. He later backed away from that proposal. Dealership sales account for 23 percent of all Illinois sales tax revenue. Legislators stopped another anti-dealer topic: Attorney General Lisa Madigan's attempt to force dealers to reveal their margins on car loans. Sen. Debbie Halverson (D-Crete) said the Senate Executive Committee refused to vote on Madigan's bill because Madigan refused to negotiate on the matter. The CATA is one of the first dealer associations to adopt a National Automobile Dealers Association resolution which encourages greater transparency in F&Idiscussions Dealers should remind customers that interest rates on loans are negotiable and  that the dealer may be compensated for obtaining the financing. Critics call for disclosing the dollar amount or percentage markup.

 

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