Inauguration is just around the corner and it's almost “Tax Rollback Day”

Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner – Inauguration, Budget
•    State’s chief executive position to change hands on Monday, January 12, 2015.  The office of Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has unveiled their inauguration website.  Events, to be held on Sunday, January 11 and on Inauguration Day, will be held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Lincoln Presidential Library, and the Old State Capitol. 

The swearing-in ceremony itself will be held at Springfield’s Prairie Capital Convention Center on Monday, January 12.  Attendees at the space-limited facility are requested to be present at 11:00 a.m.  In addition to Rauner, Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Secretary of State Jesse White, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Treasurer-elect Mike Frerichs will take their oaths of office. 

It is expected that the ceremony will include a moment of silence in honor of the late Comptroller-elect Judy Barr Topinka, and that Governor-elect Rauner will be granted the opportunity to appoint a new Comptroller soon after taking the oath.  

Among other innovations, Bruce and First Lady-elect Diana Rauner are moving away from the Inaugural Ball traditionally held on the evening of the swearing-in day.  Instead, they will host an Inaugural Concert at the Convention Center.

•    Rauner tackles budget crisis, promises scrutiny.  As plans for the inauguration move forward, Governor-elect Rauner and his leadership team are concentrating on urgent budget challenges.  The FY15 State of Illinois budget approved by Democratic legislators and signed by Governor Quinn contained unrealistic expenditure numbers; many agencies are reporting that their money is running out and are asking for additional taxpayer funds.  Funds for some of these requests could be provided in the form of a “supplemental appropriations” bill, but this measure would have to get the approval of both houses of the General Assembly and be signed by the new Governor. 

Speaking at a Springfield forum hosted by the Better Government Association (BGA), an NGO watchdog organization, Governor-elect Rauner announced his opposition to these “fundamentally dishonest” budget numbers on Tuesday, December 16.   The incoming chief executive indicated that he and his campaign team were carefully scrutinizing the agencies’ requests and that many of his responses would be “a little bit painful” to established interests in Springfield. 

As the Comptroller’s office has reported that the State already has more than $6 billion in unpaid bills, it is not clear where money would come from to meet spending requests by agencies needing additional funding.  The BGA describes Rauner’s remarks here.

General Assembly – Inauguration
•    Lawmakers to be sworn in separately from Executive branch.  The Constitution assigns the General Assembly, a co-equal branch of government, a swear-in date that is different from the slate of statewide constitutional officers headed by the Governor.  The new 99th General Assembly will be sworn in on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, two days after Governor-elect Rauner.

The Illinois House inauguration ceremony will be held in the Auditorium Hall of the University of Illinois at Springfield.  Many friends and family members of lawmakers from both parties are expected to attend.  Watch the Week in Review and our sister publication, The Caucus Blog, for more information about these approaching events.

The incoming leadership of the Illinois House has posted a schedule for the newly-elected lawmakers’ expected work activities in spring 2015.  The calendar has been posted on the General Assembly’s website.

Taxes
•    “Tax rollback day” approaches.  Under the terms of Illinois’ largest-ever tax increase law, P.A. 96-1496 (SB 2505) Illinois income taxes paid by individuals and corporations are scheduled to be partly (not completely) rolled back on January 1, 2015.  Under the terms of the tax-hike law, passed by legislative Democrats and signed by Gov. Quinn, the income tax paid by Illinois residents on their individual income is scheduled to be partly rolled back from 5.00% in calendar year 2014 to 3.75% in calendar year 2015 and following years.  The corporate income tax rate is scheduled to be partly rolled back from 7.00% to 5.25% at the same time.  The new rates created by this rollback are supposed to remain in place for 10 years, until December 31, 2024, when a second rollback cycle is supposed to take place.

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