05052017CM0482SPRINGFIELD – A new bipartisan task force will be created to find ways to save taxpayers money under a new law sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker.

Senate Bill 1932 creates the Property Tax Relief Task Force, which will explore potential solutions to reducing Illinois’ high property tax rates and make recommendations to the General Assembly.

“For years our state had a regressive school funding formula that drove up rates and placed the majority of the burden on property owners,” Manar said. “Taxpayers have been forced to pay these exorbitant rates for far too long and it’s time to take a serious look at ways to resolve this problem.”

The task force will be made up of a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both the Senate and House of Representatives as well as individuals appointed by the governor.

The Department of Revenue, State Board of Education and Governor’s Office of Management and Budget will also work with the task force.

“We’ve made great strides toward fixing our school funding formula and the next step in that process is reducing the property tax burden and transitioning toward making state funding the predominant sources of support for schools,” Manar said. “This task force is one of the first steps in that process and I’m confident that by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to talk about this issue, we’ll be able to work together to find the solutions we need.”

Manar has made easing the tax burden on property owners a focus of his tenure. This May, he also passed a bill out of the Senate that would freeze property taxes in most Illinois school districts as long as the state properly funds schools through its evidence-based funding formula. The legislation was not taken up by the House.

Senate Bill 1932 passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously. It will take effect immediately.

Includes income tax cut, property tax relief for working families

SPRINGFIELD – Nearly all working men and women in the 48th Senate District would pay less in state income taxes under a historic overhaul that was approved by the Illinois Senate Wednesday.
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) voted for a package of measures that includes new income tax rates requiring millionaires to pay their fair share to the state, as well as tax relief for property owners and elimination of Illinois’ estate tax.

“Anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year will get a tax cut under this plan. That’s nearly every single taxpayer I represent,” Manar said. “This is the right thing to do for people who find themselves working harder but taking home less. Those who have benefited from a robust economy can pay a little more to help bring stability to the state of Illinois.”

Under the proposal, only the top 3 percent of Illinois earners would pay more in income taxes. Everyone who makes less than $250,000 a year would pay a rate of 4.95 percent or less.

The package is part of a constitutional amendment that will require voter approval in 2020. The plan approved by the Senate Wednesday must go to the House for consideration next.

Manar, who shepherded the state’s recent revamp of the school funding formula, sponsored the property tax relief portion of the package. Under this measure, as long as the state lives up to its responsibilities to adequately fund school districts, including lunch programs and student busing costs, there would be little need for districts to go to local property owners seeking tax hikes.

Property tax relief has to be a priority for the state, Manar said, noting that his legislation gets at the root of what largely drives high property taxes across the state – funding for local school districts. In addition, it forces the state to own up to its responsibility of fully funding schools.

“It’s time to turn off the spigot of property taxes and make state funding the predominant source of support for schools,” he said. “This is the next step toward bringing true equity to the funding of schools while acknowledging the property tax burden has to be reduced over time.”

The package of legislation – the fair tax rates, elimination of the estate tax and property tax relief – are contained in Senate bills 687, 689 and 690. In addition, Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 (SJRCA01) simplifies constitutional language about income taxes to allow for a fair tax while eliminating Illinois’ current outdated flat tax system.

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement regarding Illinois Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, who will step down from his post this week when his contract ends:

“I want to thank Superintendent Smith for his service to the children, families, schools and communities of Illinois.

“Tony helped guide the state through a period of tremendous change. He was an ardent proponent of school funding reform and worked diligently with his team to implement those changes. He supervised the state’s application for the Every Student Succeeds Act. He has been a driving force behind efforts to diversify the teaching ranks in this state. He paid attention to the impact of rural poverty on public education, and he was a constant advocate for underserved children and public schools throughout Illinois.

“I wish him well as he pursues new challenges.”

bath salts passedSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Andy Manar’s (D-Bunker Hill) plan to fight the proliferation of bath salts sold by Illinois retailers was signed into law Monday after passing the House and Senate with full bipartisan support.

Bath salts, specifically known as synthetic cathinones, can be consumed in a variety of ways and can mimic the effect of amphetamine or PCP, often causing hallucinations.

“These drugs are extremely dangerous and have unpredictable effects on the user,” Manar said. “This plan gives our law enforcement officials more power to get them off our streets.”

Senate Bill 210 creates the Bath Salts Prohibition Act and bans Illinois retailers from selling synthetic cathinones that commonly are labeled as bath salts, plant food or jewelry cleaner.

Read more: Manar plan to halt sale of bath salts signed into law

 

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