ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Tuesday, Illinois lawmakers kick off the 100th session at the Capitol and they’re hitting the ground running.
Several important hearings are scheduled Tuesday. Subject matters include healthcare funding pension reform.
At the pension hearing lawmakers will discuss two new ideas put on the table by the State Universities Annuitants Association. One option is to have the state borrow more than 100 billion dollars to pay pension debt.
Also, lawmakers will try to quickly tackle the hospital assessment program, set to expire in July. The program helps the state get billions of dollars from the federal government to pay for Medicaid expenses.
One of the biggest issues lawmakers will face is again, funding a capital bill which would pay for failing infrastructure and roads around the state. One idea, increasing the gas tax, was put on the table but some don’t think it’ll get bipartisan support especially during an election year.
Kevin Burke of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association says lawmakers need to put their differences aside to do what’s best for taxpayers in the long-run.
“Sometimes you have to take that short-term pain in order to really have the system in the long term, so the longer they wait, the more expensive it’s going to be and it’s going to be an even bigger tax increase or bigger fee increase,” says Burke.
Another issue on the table- bitcoins. Lawmakers plan to hold committee hearings to evaluate how to regulate crypto-currency.
Also a wage equity bill, which failed last year will get another chance. Bill sponsor Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) is reintroducing legislation that stops employers from learning a candidates salary history.
The House and Senate will begin session Tuesday. Wednesday is the Governor’s much anticipated State of the State of address.