Week in Review: Taxes, Professional Regulation, State Budget and More


Illinois’ High Taxes are Stifling Economic Growth.  At a press conference this week in Springfield, State Representative Dan Ugaste and three Republican colleagues highlighted a recent report from Moody’s Analytics and the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability that outlined how the current economy in Illinois is stalled and high tax burdens are a main reason.

“The Moody’s Report stated what Republicans and many others have been saying for years, that Illinois is overtaxed and overregulated,” Rep. Ugaste stated. “Democrats continue to double down their same path of bad policies toward businesses, and these policies will continue to lead to closures and relocations to neighboring states.”

The Governor’s budget proposal for this year includes an increase in taxes on businesses of nearly $1 billion. The Democrats’ outrageous policies are stifling any chance of prosperity and economic growth in Illinois. Illinois House Republicans have offered numerous solutions to help lower taxes and provide relief to hard-working families and business owners.

House Bill 4866, introduced this spring by Rep. Tim Ozinga and Rep. Ugaste, offers a property tax relief plan that is projected to save Illinois taxpayers, businesses, and individuals $82 billion over the next 21 years. This plan will help lower-income communities the most, working to address Illinois’ ‘worst in the nation’ status for Economic Racial Equality as found by a WalletHub report last year.

For reference, the Moody’s Analytics/Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability Report can be found here:  Moody’s Analytics State of Illinois Forecast Report (ilga.gov)

·       Rep. Weber, Colleagues Call for Property Tax Relief, Offer Solutions.  This week at the Illinois Capitol, State Representative Tom Weber was joined by fellow Representatives Joe Sosnowski and Martin McLaughlin to call on the State to act on property tax relief. Despite many years of claiming to support property tax relief, the majority party in Springfield has only allowed minimal action on relief proposals. The solutions offered by Weber and his colleagues would place hard caps on property tax increases that have been driving families and small businesses out of the state for years.

“Men and women across Illinois have worked hard and done everything right to provide a home for their families,” said Weber. “Unfortunately, for too many people, the dream of homeownership has turned into a nightmare of unmanageable property tax bills that are threatening their ability to keep their homes.

“As I represent a district on the border of Wisconsin, I can tell you how frustrating it is when constituents, especially seniors who have lived in Illinois for decades, tell me they have no choice but to consider leaving Illinois because they can’t afford the taxes on their home anymore. The limitations in current state law that are supposed to prevent drastic year-on-year increases in property taxes are not working, and that’s why I’m proposing legislation to put hard caps in place to prevent these excessive tax increases.”

While the State of Illinois has the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to prevent local taxing bodies from increasing their annual property tax levies by more than 5% or CPI, whichever is less, nothing prevents taxes on individual properties from increasing well above 5% in a given year. To address this problem, Weber has filed two pieces of legislation, House Bills 4354 and 4716, to put caps in law to prevent individual property tax bills and assessments from going above 5% or 3%, respectively.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that increasing property taxes are pushing hardworking people to the brink, forcing many to consider selling their homes to seek refuge in cheaper, and sometimes questionable areas,” Weber continued. “We must create a more stable and predictable tax environment that allows individuals and families to plan for their financial future without the fear of losing their homes due to unmanageable tax bills.”

Rep. Sosnowski has filed legislation, House Bill 3390, which would cap the annual increase of residential property tax bills at 3%.


House Republicans Reveal Legislative Package to Address Failures at IDFPR.  House Minority Leader Tony McCombie held a press conference this week to discuss the ongoing issues at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. McCombie stood alongside State Representatives Dave Severin and Bill Hauter to talk about the frustration IDFPR has caused residents and discuss their legislative package to provide solutions.

The package includes McCombie’s License Convenience Act (House Bill 4855), which would require the department to accept electronic payments for licenses and fees.

“IDFPR is too often the barrier to people working,” said McCombie. “Significant delays, breakdowns in communications, lost applications, and just overall dysfunction have too often resulted in bipartisan frustration with this agency. We have written letters, reached out to the Director, and many of us have seen first-hand the pain this agency causes our constituents who want to work throughout the state. It is imperative this agency comes to terms with its own mismanagement and implements solutions. Not years from now, but now…. Where is the sense of urgency?”

“Illinois is losing highly-compensated, highly-trained individuals like physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, physical therapists, veterinarians and many more to other states. Why? Because we can’t get our licensing act together,” Hauter said.

House Bill 1572, sponsored by Rep. Hauter, expedites licensure for health care professionals. Applicants for licenses in Illinois often face longer wait times than applicants in neighboring states, making it harder for health care facilities in Illinois to hire personnel and meet the state’s health care needs.

Below is the IDFPR legislative package House Republicans revealed this week:

Lowering Barriers and Costs for Licensure

o   HB 4855 (McCombie) Requires DFPR to accept online payments

o   HB 5147, HB 5148 (Davidsmeyer), HB 5006 (Coffey) Lowers licensure

License Reciprocity and Expedited Licensure

o   HB 4988 (Spain) Nurse Licensure Compact

o   HB 5608 (Jacobs) Universal Recognition of Licenses Act to streamline
out-of-state licensees

o   HB 1572 (Hauter) Expedited licensure for health care professionals

o   HB 4617 (Davidsmeyer) Reciprocity and online education for

o   HB 4570 (Severin) Streamline teaching requirements for cosmetologists
and barbers

Learning More About Licensing

o   HB 5007 (Coffey) Creates the Licensure Reform Task Force to gather
facts on licensure delays and costs

o   HB 3437 (Hauter) Creates a Task Force to determine if prescribing
psychologists’ scope can be expanded while maintaining safety for


CGFA, GOMB present FY24 and FY25 budget forecasts to General Assembly.  A leading voice in this week’s discussions was that of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), an arm of the Illinois General Assembly. CGFA met on Tuesday, March 12 to discuss its final budget forecast for FY24 (fiscal year ending June 30, 2024) and its extended forecast for FY25 (fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024 and continuing until June 30, 2025). CGFA staff then presented their budget forecast to the Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee on Thursday, March 14. Along with numbers from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), the FY25 CGFA budget forecast will guide the Illinois House and Senate as they craft a budget and appropriation bill or bills during the 2024 spring session.

CGFA’s look at the closing months of the FY24 budget was largely positive. After monitoring numbers from the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and near-term projections of approaching economic activity from economists nationwide, the Commission’s staff was able to report this week that Illinois has seen “firm but steady growth” through the first eight months of FY24. However, storm clouds are gathering. State sales tax revenues are flat, the growth rate of State income tax revenues is sharply slowing down, and the current budget has developed the worrisome trend of matching up new permanent spending programs with one-time revenues. These one-time revenues come from ways of reorganizing State cash flow to speed up the way certain money streams move from point A to point B, or to re-classify other money streams so as not to have to share them with municipalities and other local government units throughout Illinois. CGFA staff warned House members this week that complex accounting moves like these are playing a larger and larger role in the State’s budget.        


Second Amendment advocates ask the U.S. Supreme Court to scrutinize Illinois firearms ban.  The January 2023 law, called the Protect Illinois Communities Act, is described by its supporters as a ban on certain kinds of so-called “assault weapons.” The language of the ban also encompasses other items associated with firearms that the law seeks to ban. Second Amendment advocates, which include the National Association for Gun Rights, see the new Illinois law as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Basing their case on the language of the Second Amendment and a growing body of constitutional case law, these advocates have pushed to have the new Illinois statute struck down in court. Now, they have formally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to have their voices heard against the Illinois law. The appeal papers were filed on Monday, March 11.

The U.S. Supreme Court appeal is part of a process of constitutional litigation that has so far encompassed the Illinois Supreme Court, a federal district court, and the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Defenders of the new law assert that it is a reasonable limit on the enjoyment of rights otherwise guaranteed under the Second Amendment. 

In response to these defenses, critics and opponents of the new law point to the language of the Second Amendment and to the wording of recent federal court decisions (including Supreme Court decisions) on firearms rights. In separate but related arguments, they also point to what critics see as fatal flaws in the text of the Illinois law, including what critics see as inconsistencies and gray areas in the way the law tries to define “assault weapons” and items allegedly associated with assault weapons. Unconstitutional vagueness is one of the grounds that the Supreme Court could choose to use if they issue a decision to sharply narrow or strike down the new Illinois law.    

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a “writ of certiorari” on the new Illinois law, a legal move that enabled the filing of this appeal. The Supreme Court has not yet formally agreed to hear the case against the Protect Illinois Communities Act on its normal docket, but could do so at any time.


State’s “redetermination” process seeks to preserve life of $1 billion healthcare program for undocumented immigrants.  The Pritzker administration is operating a set of programs to grant Medicaid-equivalent health care coverage to selected groups of noncitizen residents of Illinois. Undocumented immigrant seniors and adults in certain age categories that roughly correspond with middle age are covered by these taxpayer-funded programs. The healthcare programs cost almost $1 billion/year, which is far above estimates – and far greater than the money appropriated by the General Assembly to Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) to operate the programs.

In order to try to save these healthcare programs from budgetary disaster, DHFS has instituted a “redetermination” process. This means that enrollees will be asked to verify their eligibility status, in the same way that Medicaid enrollees are verified under current law. In the case of the HBIA/HBIS programs, enrollees are expected to be asked, “Are you a legal permanent resident of the United States?” DHFS announced that anyone who responds that, yes, they are a legal permanent resident of the United States, will be removed from these programs because of ineligibility. 

Enrollees who are legal U.S. residents and who have been in the United States for less than five years will lose their State healthcare coverage altogether. They are potentially eligible for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage, which includes premiums they must pay themselves. As legal residents of the United States without five-year residency status, they will be advised to sign up for ACA and start paying the premiums.

DHFS described the “redetermination” process to a General Assembly panel, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), on Tuesday, March 12.


Illinois publishes delayed metro areas job report for January 2023The Illinois Department of Employment Security metro area jobs report, covering unemployment rates in greater Chicago and thirteen other metropolitan areas across Illinois, showed many suburban and Downstate communities with unemployment rates rising above the 5% mark. In the Chicago suburbs, regions with unemployment above 5% included greater Lake County (5.9%) and the Kane County-based Elgin area (6.5%). Eight separate Downstate areas notched unemployment rates above 5%, with the highs rates in historically industrial Kankakee (7.5%) and Rockford (7.3%). 

To some extent, the unemployment rates posted by metro areas across Illinois were outweighed by the 4.5% rate posted in greater Chicago, which includes suburban Cook County and populous DuPage County. However, the January 2024 posting indicates that the overall trend is downward in many regions of Illinois. On an apples-to-apples basis, a comparison of unemployment rates in January 2023 with the rates twelve months later in January 2024 showed many regions with significantly higher rates of joblessness as 2024 began. In Decatur, Kankakee, and Rockford metro areas, joblessness was up more than 1.0% from the same rates posted in January 2023.