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Gross receipts tax horse race nearing home stretch; Madigan to hold House hearing May 9

November 17, 2010

House Speaker Michael Madigan will convene a rare hearing of the full House on May 9 to debate Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s plan to raise $7.6 billion from a new gross -receipts tax, the largest tax increase in Illinois history.

 

Illinois dealers and their employees must call their representatives before May 9 to convey the consequences of any variation of a gross-receipts tax.  

"Tell your representative to say "No!" to any modification of this tax, such as lowering the tax rates," said Jerry Cizek, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. "A GRT will be disastrous in Illinois. Once that GRT camel gets his nose under the Illinois business tent, it’s all over for your dealership."

 

To identify a lawmaker, go to http://cata.drivechicago.com and click on the red dollar bill on the site’s home page. 

The Illinois House of Representatives has 118 members. A majority of them—all 52 Republicans and nine Democrats—have joined as co-sponsors of a House resolution that opposes the gross-receipts proposal, which Blagojevich touts as a funding solution for schools and health care.

 

"We’re about education, we’re about health care," said Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego), the Minority Leader who introduced House Resolution 344. "But we’re not about harming consumers in the state of Illinois; we’re not about harming businesses small and large." 

Cross called on Madigan Wednesday to act on the resolution, which is nonbinding and largely symbolic. Madigan said he would convene the May 9 special meeting with all House members to discuss business concerns about the tax.

 

Madigan (D-Chicago) refuses to say whether he supports Blagojevich’s hike, but Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) is squarely behind the measure. 

Uproar against the proposed gross receipts tax stretches to every corner of the state, but that uproar appears to be directed mostly at Blagojevich. Dealers and their employees must vent their displeasure with the state legislators who will vote to enact it.

 

The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its spring session May 31, so the matter likely would be determined this month. But lawmakers also are being bombarded with complaints from constituents about soaring electricity bills, and many Downstate legislators say a solution must be forged on the electricity-rate issue before they vote on a state budget.

 

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