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February 15, 2019 Update | Roger C. Marquardt & Co., Inc.

February 15, 2019 Update

Coming Up The Illinois General Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, February 19th at noon. The State of the State address will be combined with the Budget Address in a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 20.Governor’s Highlights
Governor Pritzker created two new taskforces to make recommendations to improve standing of state’s pension funds. This is in response to recognizing the need to reign in and control Illinois’ growing pension debt.
The Asset Assessment Taskforce will be co-chaired by Jaqueline Avitia-Guzman and Jamie Star. The taskforce will analyze state assets across Illinois and make recommendations as to their best use to help stabilize the state’s finances. Recommendations could include, but are not limited to, the repurposing or sale of these assets or transfer to state pension systems to improve their levels of funding.
Governor Pritzker implemented Executive Order 19 – 09 which establishes the Justice, Equity and Opportunity (JEO) Initiative. Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton will lead this JEO Initiative to centralize the state’s criminal justice reform efforts by fostering coordination and collaboration among stakeholders, executive agencies and organizations from across the state. The initiative will conduct research, pilot programs and advocate for legislation to ensure all branches of government are working proactively to expand fairness and equity.
Governor Pritzker also released reports from 11 transition committeesdesigned to guide the new administration in the following categories:
* Growing Our Agricultural Economy
* Budget and Innovation
* Educational Success
* Equality, Equity, and Opportunity
* Healthy Children and Families
* Restoring Illinois’ Infrastructure
* Job Creation and Economic Opportunity
* Powering Illinois’ Future
* Restorative Justice and Safe Communities
* Serving Illinois’ Heroes
* Illinois’ Emerging Leaders Stay tuned for more details as Governor Pritzker’s administration lays groundwork for introduction of FY 2020 budget. Pritzker campaigned on fully funding social services, increasing funding for higher education, early childhood, and funding the state’s infrastructure with a capital bill. However, the Pritzker administration released a new report  which details a $3.2 billion budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, 16 percent more than estimated in November. Late payment interest penalties related to the budget impasse have exceeded $1.25 billion, and interest on refinancing of the bill backlog will surpass $2 billion. Pritzker is expected to discuss a multi-year path to fiscal stability when he delivers his Budget Address on Feb. 20. Nothing yet on how Pritzker and his budget staff plan to finance the upcoming budget, but new revenue sources are on the table. While Pritzker campaigned on his support of a progressive income tax, implementation of any new “graduated” tax structure would require a change in the state’s constitution meaning that full implementation, if approved by the voters, is a couple of years away.
Governor Pritzker appointed Debra Dyer-Webster as acting Director of the Department of Children and Family Services. She will serve in the position until April 15.
101st General AssemblyThe Illinois House stands adjourned for the week. The Illinois Senate was not in session. Both chambers return to session on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
A minimum wage increase is one step closer to becoming law, passing the Illinois House this week by a partisan vote of 69-47-1.  The bill (SB 1/Lightford) will phase in an increase to the minimum wage to $15 (currently $8.25) by Jan. 1, 2025. For the first year only, employers with 50 or fewer employees will receive a 25 percent tax credit on the difference between pre-increase and post-increase wages. Credit then drops by four percentage points every year until it reaches five percent and is then eventually phased out for most employers. The bill also includes a tip credit for restaurant employees. After much lobbying and debate, economic and geographical considerations were not included in the final bill. Governor Pritzker is expected to swiftly sign the legislation. The Senate Transportation and Appropriations committees announced they will form subcommittees and do a series of public meetings around the state to talk about infrastructure investment ahead of the capital bill.
The House Progressive Caucus outlined platform of principles and legislative agenda for 2019 session. Their agenda: passing minimum wage hike, legalizing recreational marijuana and creating a donor-matching system where tax dollars are used to support political candidates who raise campaign funds in small amounts. Progressive Caucus members also plan to lead and weigh in on a number of other initiatives, including the push for a constitutional amendment to create a progressive income tax. Key Session Dates:February 20- State of the State/Governor’s Budget Address.February 26- Consolidated Primary Election.March 22- DEADLINE for substantive Senate Bills out of Senate Committee.March 29 – DEADLINE for substantive House Bills out of House Committee.April 2- Consolidated Election.April 12- DEADLINE for third reading of Substantive Senate Bills and Substantive House Bills.May 10- DEADLINE for Substantive Bills out of Committee in 2nd chamber.May 24- DEADLINE for third reading of Substantive Bills in 2nd chamber.May 31- ADJOURNMENT.