Madigan Unveils New Economic Agenda | WBEZ
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House Speaker Michael Madigan Unveils New Economic Agenda

Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan outlined some of his economic agenda items for the new year during his inaugural address in Springfield on Wednesday. Madigan’s new agenda comes after a majority of House members elected him to a 17th term as House speaker.

In his address, Madigan said Democrats and Republicans in Springfield have tried to find the worst in each other, though Madigan once again criticized Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s call for changes to the state’s workers compensation policies to be more business-friendly. 

Rauner has insisted that his proposed economic reforms be tied to passage of a state budget. A majority of Democrats have opposed Rauner's agenda. The political back and forth has derailed efforts to approve a full budget for more than a year.

So Madigan countered Rauner’s proposals with his own ideas for drawing businesses to Illinois, like reducing the corporate income tax. The current corporate income tax rate in Illinois is 5.25 percent.

“If we lower the rate (by) 50 percent and I think we should do it, there must be one caveat: every corporation has to pay at least something. There can be no free lunches,” Madigan said in his address. 

Madigan also suggested tax credits for businesses that create new jobs and increasing taxes on personal income that’s more than $1 million.

In response, Rauner issued a brief statement saying the Democrats’ agreement to make economic policy changes is “an important positive step.”

Madigan’s new agenda comes after a bipartisan budget proposal emerged earlier this week in the Senate. That plan incorporates some of Rauner’s legislative goals, such as a statewide property tax freeze and term limits on legislative leaders. 

Tony Arnold covers state politics for WBEZ. You can follow him at @tonyjarnold

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