This Week in Springfield the Senate was in session while the House remained adjourned with members back in their districts for the March 15th primary.
FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCT TAX
Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) introduced SB 2746 that would eliminate the tax on feminine hygiene products and incontinent products. Currently, Maryland, New Jersey, Minnesota, Maine and Pennsylvania specifically exempt feminine hygiene products from taxation while Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, New Hampshire and Delaware do not have a sales tax and therefore these products are not taxed.
While Senator Bush seeks to enact a consistent state change by working with the Department of Revenue and other stakeholders, the City of Chicago is seeking to reclassify feminine products as “medical appliance” by ordinance so that the products may be taxed at a lower rate. Chicago is basing its position on a 1990 Illinois Supreme Court case where the court ruled that tampons and pads met the state’s definition of “medical appliances” and were exempt from a sales tax imposed by the city. The state subsequently narrowed the exemption and feminine hygiene products were, once again, taxed at the full rate. Although, both the state and the city are looking to achieve the same goal, it is clear that the state has the sole authority to reclassify a product for tax purposes and therefore Chicago is prohibited from doing so without state action.
IRMA wants to thank Senator Bush for reaching out to stakeholders regarding this issue. While IRMA is neutral on the issue, IRMA supports any change at the state level where the tax can be administered effectively, consistently and legally by the Illinois Department of Revenue rather than potentially unlawful reclassification at the local level.
BUSINESS JUMPSTART ACT TAX
Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) filed an amendment to SB 259 that would require every business in Illinois to pay a tax to fund a new program called the Business Jumpstart Program. The program would be implemented by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and is designed to “support economic growth and enhance employment opportunities for persons who are unemployed, veterans seeking jobs, unemployed persons whose benefits are expiring, graduates from school, and others who are entering the workforce”. The program would be funded by a tax on any Illinois business that employs two or more individuals. Specifically, business would be required to pay a fee of no less than $500 and no more than $1,000 to IDES. In return for the tax, employers will have the opportunity to select from pre-screened candidates for pre-probationary on-the-job training with wage support during the training where a third party intermediary is the time-limited employer of record prior to employment.
BUSINESS DAY SPEAKER
We are happy to announce that the keynote speaker at the opening luncheon of Business day on May 11th will be Amy Walter. Known as one of the best political journalists covering Washington, she is the national editor of the Cook Political Report and the former political director of ABC News. From 1997–2007, Walter had previously served as senior editor of the Cook Political Report. She is also an exclusive panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press and a regular panelist on PBS’ Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier. She also provides political analysis every Monday evening for the PBS NewsHour.
We look forward to her presentation and TWIS readers’ participation in this Business Day2016.
Register Today for Business Day 2016 on May 11th.