Manar HeadshotrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D – Bunker Hill) is cleaning up inconsistencies in the tax code that negatively impact Illinois’ coal industry. House Bill 2918 brings uniformity to the sales tax exemption on certain types of coal exploration equipment. This important exemption helps to encourage the growing industry of coal exploration in Illinois.   

“The Illinois coal industry is a tremendous economic engine for downstate Illinois,” said Manar. “We need to be encouraging industries like this one to grow and create jobs here in Illinois, not impeding them with irregularities in our tax code.”

When a long-standing sales tax exemption for coal and aggregate exploration equipment expired in 2003, specific pieces of equipment were no longer covered. The General Assembly renewed this exemption in 2012, but there were inconsistencies due to the gap in coverage. HB 2918 addresses the gap, applying the sales tax exemption retroactively but not at any additional expense to the state. The Department of Revenue will not issue refunds but will only eliminate any outstanding balances that resulted from this inconsistency.

Read more: Manar initiative to promote coal jobs

Manar HeadshotrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) proposed measures to rein in campaign spending by shadowy third party groups in Illinois.  Just three years after passing the first ever campaign finance laws in Illinois, political spending reached record highs in 2012.  The majority of the spending was done by groups organized to take advantage of legal loopholes that allow them to spend money on behalf of or in opposition to political and issue campaigns without reporting the source of their donations.

"The rise of anonymously funded, independent expenditure campaigns has been meteoric, and it's a troubling sign," Manar said.  "Even in the free-spending days before contribution limits, there was accountability.  Voters could see who was funding campaigns.  It's time to bring these independent expenditure groups out of the shadows and subject them that same level of transparency as every other citizen in Illinois.”

Senate Bill 2402 would require a nonprofit organization that accepts contributions, makes contributions, or makes expenditures during any 12-month period in an aggregate amount exceeding $5,000 on behalf of or in opposition to candidates or a question of public policy or for electioneering communications to register with the State Board of Elections and file contribution and expenditure reports.  It also requires independent expenditure committees to A-1 independent expenditures of a $1,000 or more.  It increases penalties for failure to make disclosures.  It requires quarterly reports to disclose the beneficial owner of any entity that contributes more than $10,000 to a ballot initiative committee or an independent expenditure committee during any election period.

Read more: Manar fights for campaign finance reform

Manar Senate FloorrLast week, the State Senate made huge progress towards fixing the single largest problem facing our state: our dangerously underfunded state pension systems.

With our nearly $100 billion pension shortfall increasingly choking off funding for other core state services like public education funding, it was imperative that we address the problem.

At the same time, the Illinois Constitution specifically protects pension benefits, and I don’t believe it’s fair for the state to break its promise to the thousands of hard-working state employees who already paid their portion.

Read more: Pension Update

Members of Illinois General Assembly revive Historic Preservation Caucus to protect state’s heritage

SPRINGFIELD – More than 60 members of the Illinois General Assembly have joined forces to revive the Historic Preservation Caucus, a bipartisan group dedicated to protecting the state’s historic sites, buildings and artifacts.

The caucus will promote legislation and budgets that ensure the taxpayers of Illinois get the most from their state’s unique heritage. Leading the caucus, which last met in 2010, are Sen. Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry, Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Springfield, and Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton.

“Our history in Illinois is rich, and our sites and structures should be preserved and appreciated,” Althoff said. “The kind of economic development that stems from our historical sites and structures is valuable. The caucus recognizes and will work to promote that.”

Read more: Lawmakers join forces to preserve history


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