GOP Legislative Rivals Wary of Tax Break Bill
Two Republican lawmakers who plan to run against each other in the March primary both say they are wary of the tax break measure that will be presented to them on Tuesday. The measure would give tax breaks for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Sears --- both of which have threatened to leave the state.
State Sen. Shane Cultra (R-Onarga) said he wants to see tax changes that would help farmers and small businesses, and State Rep. Jason Barickman (R-Champaign) said he doesn't favor any bill that provides tax breaks for some, but not for all.
Barickman and Cultra have both filed their petitions to get on the March primary ballot in the new 53rd Illinois Senate District.
Cultra, who is the incumbent in the race, currently represents the old 53rd Senate District, and he said his experience as a lawmaker gives him an advantage over Barickman.
"It's up to him to convince people that they need a change," Cultra said. "The district that I represent, I represent very well. It fits me personally as far as the views that I have are the views of the district."
Barickman is running in his first election, after being appointed to take over Cultra's old House seat. Barickman said he does not want to make the race a personal battle between him and Cultra. But Barickman does say that Illinois needs effective, conservative leadership.
"For Republicans, what we have to do is put the best leaders that we can in Springfield who can voice a conservative message, but can also reach across party aisles and bring some of those Democrats with us on issues that are important, like concealed carry and limited spending," Barickman said.
With the veto session starting this week, both lawmakers say they are uneasy about supporting a new package of possible tax breaks for Illinois businesses. The measure passed the House Revenue Committee on Monday afternoon by a 6-0 vote.
The measure's main goal is to provide tax relief to Chicago area companies that have threatened to leave Illinois due to last January's tax hike. They include financial exchange holding company CME Group and Sears Holdings, which owns Sears and Kmart.
Barickman said the tax increases passed last January affected everybody, and that any tax rollbacks must help all businesses and taxpayers, not just specific big corporations.
"Those types of people need to have a voice in Springfield. And I'm certainly going to fight for tax relief that helps them, and not necessarily the one that just helps a specific, cherry-picked group," Barickman said.
Meanwhile, Cultra said he is looking for specifics in the package ---- specifics that helps farmers and small businesses, like a lower inheritance tax and a restoration of the research and development tax credit for corporations.
"These were all things that were in place, that were done away with, that we created more reasons for people not to invest in Illinois. And it just makes common sense to have these things in place," Cultra said.
The latest version of the tax break package released on Monday would restore the tax credit, and make changes in the estate tax. It would also include tax breaks for families and the poor.
The new 53rd Senate District includes all of Ford and Iroquois Counties, and also parts of McLean and Vermilion. Barickman and Cultra used the first day of the filing period to file their petitions for the March 20th Republican primary.
Candidates have until next Monday to file petitions in state and local races.