Legislative News from Senator Don DeWitte

Pritzker’s Tax Hikes and Record Government Spending Pass General Assembly

On separate days last week, the Illinois General Assembly passed a Fiscal Year 2025 budget which sets yet another new record for government spending at just over $53 billion. The new budget, which guides spending as of July 1, 2024, represents an increase in state spending of nearly $13 billion, or 32%, since Governor Pritzker took office 5 ½ years ago. Zero Republicans in the Senate or House supported the irresponsible spending plan.

Following the vote, I issued this statement to the media:

“Every revenue agency that advises Governor Pritzker has forecasted a decline in revenues for Fiscal Year 2025. However, the budget brought forward by the Governor and statehouse Democrats fails to address this challenge, maintaining the status quo of uncontrolled spending. Instead of offering desperately needed tax relief, the budget imposes nearly $1 billion in new tax hikes, treating Illinois taxpayers like the Governor’s personal ATM machine. Astonishingly, spending has increased $12.8 billion since Governor Pritzker took office.

“Families are already struggling to make ends meet, and this budget only adds to their burden. We owe it to the people of Illinois to deliver a budget that truly reflects their needs, honors their hard work, and upholds the highest standards of fiscal responsibility. This budget is a significant disappointment and is a missed opportunity for real reform.”

The alarming surge in government spending is fueled largely by temporary emergency COVID funds and unexpectedly high state revenue. Rather than using these temporary resources wisely, Pritzker and his legislative allies created new programs and increased permanent government spending. This includes an annual expenditure of approximately a billion dollars on programs for migrants and illegal immigrants, including top-tier healthcare. Senate Republicans cautioned repeatedly against using temporary dollars to fund permanent spending.

Instead of reducing government spending and reining in costs, the Governor and legislative Democrats chose to raise taxes to the tune of a billion dollars to fund the migrant crisis JB Pritzker created. Meanwhile, the taxpayers of Illinois are the ones forced to foot the bill.

It is abundantly clear that the Governor does not view the people of Illinois his priority. He views them as his piggy bank.

DeWitte Supports Grocery Tax Bill that Enhances Local Control

Municipalities across Illinois rely on funds received from Illinois’ 1% state sales tax on groceries to help balance their local budgets and to pay for services such as police and fire protection, public works projects, and other local government operations. The taxes are collected by the state and then distributed 100% to cities, towns and villages. I was the Chief Sponsor of legislation this year (Senate Bill 3725) that would have eliminated the grocery tax and backfilled lost revenues for municipalities from other government funds.

The bill that advanced in the legislature, however, was House Bill 3144. This bill, which passed in the Senate and House this week, eliminates the state tax, but provides local municipalities with the opportunity to impose an identical 1% tax on groceries by a simple vote of the board.

Cleaning Supply and Toiletry Drive a Success in District 33

Thank you to everyone who donated generously to my cleaning supply and toiletry drive this year. This year’s donations topped the donations from last year! We will be dropping them off at the St. Charles (Tri-City) Salvation Army and Food for Greater Elgin Food Pantries in the coming days.

The people of the 33rd District can always be counted on to help their neighbors in need and this event again highlighted the generous spirit of this region. I cannot thank everyone enough for donating to this year’s drive. The items will be put to very good use by families in this immediate area.

Upcoming events in the 33rd Senate District

Session just ended, but my summer events calendar is filling up with great events for people of all ages! Just a few upcoming events include:

Property Tax Seminar
Those who attend will learn how tax bills are created from information provided by various taxing bodies, about the available exemptions that can lower tax bills, and will learn how to file an appeal of a tax assessment if it is felt to be inaccurate. The event will also include a question-and-answer period.

Senator DeWitte’s and Representative Ugaste’s Property Tax Seminar
Wednesday, June 5
: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, DeWitte-Ugaste Legislative Office, 406 Surrey Woods Drive, St. Charles

Traveling Office Hours

Constituent services experts from my office will provide assistance to anyone who is having issues with state agencies or departments. This includes those having issues with unemployment, FOID cards and CCL licenses, professional licensing, and other issues.

  • Tuesday, June 4 in Elburn: 10:00AM-12:00PM, Town and Country Library, 320 E North Street
  • Wednesday, June 26 in Algonquin: 1:00PM-3:00PM, Algonquin Area Public Library, 2600 Harnish Drive
  • Thursday, July 11 in S. Elgin: 10:00AM-12:00PM, Gail Borden Public Library’s South Elgin Branch, 127 S McLean Boulevard
  • Tuesday, July 23 in Crystal Lake: 10:00AM-12:00PM, Crystal Lake Public Library, 126 W Paddock Street
  • Thursday, August 1 in Geneva: 10:00AM-12:00PM, Geneva Public Library, 227 S. 7th Street
  • Monday, August 19 in Carpentersville: 10:00AM-12:00PM, Dundee Park District Rakow Center, 665 Barrington Avenue

Judge Temporarily Blocks Unconstitutional Election Law

On May 22, a Springfield Circuit judge issued a temporary injunction blocking a controversial new election law rammed through the General Assembly by Democrat lawmakers earlier this month. Critics say this new law is designed to protect vulnerable incumbents and reduce voter choice at the ballot box.

Senate Bill 2412, signed into law by Governor Pritzker on May 3, would make significant changes to the rules for an election process that is already underway. Most notably, it would end the slating process currently taking place in districts throughout the state, eliminating challengers that entrenched incumbents could face in November.

The temporary injunction comes after a lawsuit was filed alleging violations of constitutional voting rights, preventing free and fair elections for the people of Illinois.

Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation earlier this month, noting that this proposal was a blatant power grab by Illinois Democrats looking to protect incumbents in the general election and would only further erode public trust in the electoral process.

I remain hopeful that this ruling is a step toward ensuring that the citizens of Illinois will be able to choose who represents them in Springfield. 

Senate Passes Legislation to Reform Prisoner Review Board

Amid ongoing controversy with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (PRB), including a recent high-profile tragedy where a young boy was murdered by an offender just days after his release, the Senate passed legislation to reform the controversial body.

House Bill 681 includes a number of reforms to the PRB, incorporating several ideas suggested by Senate Republicans. The bill enhances protections for victims by ensuring they are notified when prisoners are up for release and by improving the process for filing impact statements. Additionally, the legislation establishes new qualification standards for board members, increases transparency and creates a task force to examine various issues related to the board.

The PRB urgently needs reforms to improve public safety, prioritize and protect victims, and ensure that their voices are heard throughout the process.

While the legislation cleared the Senate in a unanimous vote, the House failed to call the bill prior to adjournment.

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