Several House Republicans said Tuesday the state doesn't need to raise other taxes in order to provide property tax relief.
At a Statehouse news conference, the Republicans also continued to complain that most of their ideas for property tax relief were rejected by Democrats in control of a legislative task force formed last year to explore ways of providing property tax relief.
As they have before, the House Republicans complained that Democrats were more interested in raising state revenues than cutting property taxes.
"Unfortunately, the task force is just one more example of the Democrat-created blue ribbon commission that has failed," said Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington. "Rather than bringing forward substantive changes and suggestions that would provide relief, the Democrats' so-called reforms focused on expanding the sales tax base to raise even more money without promising to reduce the property tax burden."
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A draft report from the commission did include a suggestion that expanding the state sales tax to additional services would provide money that could go toward K-12 education which would reduce pressure on property taxes that pay for most of K-12 education. Gov. J.B. Pritzker immediately rejected the idea, something noted by Brady.
Property taxes are imposed by local governments, not by the state legislature. However, Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Springfield, said local governments are caught in a squeeze when the legislature imposes mandates on local governments, but without supplying money to pay for them.
He also said the state needs to live within its means.
"The state doesn't need more money for general revenue," he said. "What it needs is to come up with a way to fulfill their obligations. That means making hard decisions to cut programs that don't work."
"We have the largest budget in the history of Illinois," added Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield. "I think we can find a way to have the money we need to fund programs across the state in a $40 billion budget."
Trying to ease property tax burdens is expected to be a key issue during the upcoming session of the General Assembly. Pritzker has said he wants to make it a priority this year, although he has not specified exactly what measures he endorses.