The nearly two-year budget stalemate remains the No. 1 issue this session. Senate Democrat and Republican leaders continued negotiation on several bills–Senate Bills 1-13–called the “Grand Bargain”, which includes tax increases, public pension reform, workers’ compensation reform, property tax freeze, minimum wage increase, school funding reform, and perhaps a kitchen sink. The measures were all written so that if one did not pass, none would pass.
Though Senate President John Cullerton forced early votes on a handful of the measures over Republican objections, there appeared to be little progress made on an overall package. Negotiations on an overall compromise package are on-going.
With concerns over a lack of substantial reforms to workers’ compensation and hard state budget cuts in the “Grand Bargain,” the NFIB state office issued an alert mid-week to members asking them to contact their state senators in opposition to SB9, that seeks to raise income taxes as well as create a new 5% excise tax on five service sectors: landscaping, storage, laundry, amusement, and maintenance and repair.