McConnaughay says GOP measures would end exodus of people, jobs
Republican lawmakers have come up with a way to stop the flow of businesses and residents leaving Illinois, but they need Democratic help to turn the shutoff valve, Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) on Wednesday.
The budget and reform package unveiled on Wednesday contains compromise legislation that will attract jobs and people back to the state through property tax and workers’ compensation reform, she said.
“We need to create a pathway and a direction that put us back on a vitally economic position that encourages businesses to come back to Illinois and to stay in Illinois and ultimately create jobs,” McConnaughay said. “We need to acknowledge what the factors are that push businesses out of the state; that cause people to leave our state. It’s time that we address it, and it’s time we address it now.”
McConnaughay said workers’ compensation reform had been a key issue during discussions with Democrats before they allegedly walked away from the negotiating table.
“We were very willing to compromise,” she said. “There were a number of things that Republicans found that were very important to us, that included causation – Democrats didn’t want to talk about that – [as well as] indemnity benefits and AMA (American Medical Associations) guidelines -- all things that mean something to the business community and have been expressed as incredibly important. In an effort to try to compromise with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we agreed to put those aside for the moment to try to reach compromise.”
Without providing details, McConnaughay asserted that Republicans have compromised on their priorities in the hope that the new workers’ compensation proposal will be acceptable to Democrats.
The same goes for property tax reform, she said. The Republicans wanted a permanent freeze but settled for four years, including an exemption on existing debt service payments. Their proposal would also include a provision to allow taxpayers to vote every four years on whether to increase, decrease or maintain their property taxes.
McConnaughay said the proposals will stop the exodus of businesses and people.
“We are taxing people right out of their homes,” McConnaughay said. “People are paying more in property taxes than they are making their mortgage payments. The same applies to our businesses. While they are looking at key indicators as to whether Illinois is a friendly place to do business … they are [also] looking at workers’ comp, and they are looking at the property tax implication and the overall business regulation that plagues Illinois in a way that creates that exodus of businesses.”
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