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Fortner: State legislators will face key budget talks

State representative speaks at multichamber luncheon

Published: Friday, April 18, 2014 4:18 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – Budget talks will be a big issue when state legislators return from Easter recess April 29, State Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago, told those attending a multichamber legislative luncheon Wednesday at the Eagle Brook Country Club.

“It will be a large part of the debate we will be facing,” Fortner said. The event was presented by the Batavia, Elgin, Geneva and St. Charles chambers of commerce.

Legislators are getting ready to work on the 2015 budget for the state.

The current fiscal year ends June 30. Fortner said the state has to deal with the fact that Medicaid and group insurance costs will continue to increase as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

“That will be the dominant factor,” he said. “Medicaid currently covers 2.8 million enrollees in Illinois, more than one out of five Illinoisans. That’s costly because 50 percent of Medicaid is paid for by the states.”

Fortner said Illinois will see its Medicaid costs rise more than $1 billion a year because of the Affordable Care Act. Illinois has estimated it will receive $1 billion less than in the 2014 budget, Fortner said. That is a result of the state’s income tax increase being phased out, he said.

“Over half of Illinois’ revenue is personal income tax,” Fortner said. “Sales tax is the second-biggest revenue source.”

He voiced his displeasure over a proposal by Gov. Pat Quinn to extend the income tax hike, keeping rates at 5 percent for individuals and 7 percent for corporations.

He also answered questions from those attending the luncheon.

Batavia Enterprises vice president Austin Dempsey asked what the state plans to do about the growing number of major companies leaving Illinois.

He noted that Walgreens is considering moving its corporate headquarters from Deerfield to Europe for lower tax rates.

Fortner said the state’s policy is inconsistent when it comes to providing incentives.

“The legislature picks winners and losers among large corporate entities,” he said. “It all seems to be who wants what, when.”

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