Ag Input & Machinery Tax is Still Out There....
Illinois lawmakers continue to work to agree upon on a state budget, something that has eluded them for almost two years. The major issues include school funding reform, pension changes, a higher minimum wage and other matters that were part of the Senate's "grand bargain." Efforts to pass the Senate plan included a dozen interconnected bills but the bargain suffered a major setback this week when support evaporated.
Three of the biggest sticking points between the Governor and the leaders are workers compensation reform, a tax increase and cuts to the budget. Senate President Cullerton reportedly wants a 4.99 percent income tax rate, but Governor Rauner wants a 4.95 percent rate (the .04% difference between the two would generate about $100 million). The Governor also wants a 5 year property tax freeze that isn't popular with some legislators.
After talks collapsed yesterday, the Governor quietly instructed his senior staff to prepare all potential contingencies to keep K-12 schools and universities open in the fall. It appears we could be heading for another stopgap budget as the grand bargain withers on the vine. Mostly likely if the General Assembly doesn’t come to an agreement by May 31, they will return in the 3rd or 4th week of June to pass a stopgap bill to fund K-12 and universities.
What does this mean for IFCA members? We must remain vigilant on any issue that might quickly come up. This spring Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) introduced legislation to end the ag sales tax exemption on farm chemicals and farm machinery. Until a state budget is finalized, all ideas for new revenue remain on the table. If we go into next spring session with the State of Illinois still having no budget and $27 billion of unpaid bills, all existing sales tax exemptions and other new revenue ideas will remain up for consideration. Sometimes these things can get decided swiftly and without time for constituents to make calls to their legislators, so we need to keep informing legislators of the value and importance of the ag input and machinery sales tax exemptions as part of our day to day outreach with legislators.
IFCA will be making a big push to get legislators out to visit our members this summer and fall. If you would like to have a legislator visit your facility, please contact KJ at the IFCA office and we'll help you arrange it. It is so important to communicate with legislators so that they can put a face with a name and realize the value of your business to the community, to your employees, and to the farmers you serve. Thanks for helping us with this important effort.