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Full text for Articles for Today, Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 3 Articles


Governor's progressive tax plan could have mixed results for married couples
Illinois Watchdog.Org
Wednesday, March 20, 2019  |   Article  |   By Cole Lauterbach
Governor (44) , Taxes, Graduated/Progressive , Taxes, income (86)
If Illinois adopts Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive tax proposal, some couples could take a tax hit for getting married while others could get a break, according to tax experts.

Married taxpayers who file jointly with the federal government apply their taxable income to different brackets than people filing separately. The thresholds are higher so they don’t hit dual-income couples with higher tax rates. There’s no mention of that in Pritzker’s proposed tax rates for Illinois.

This could mean dual-income couples would pay more, said Joe Rosenberg, a senior research associate with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute. 

“They’re more likely, in a progressive income tax system, to face a marriage penalty,” he said.

Taxpayers Federation of Illinois president Carol Portman said it will be more complicated than the state's existing flat income tax, regardless of the taxation levels.

“It’s an issue that we’ve been able to avoid for all of these years because we’ve had a flat tax rate, meaning it doesn’t matter how much or how little you earned,” she said. “Throwing in a graduated rate structure makes us have to think about that.”

If the final enacted progressive tax does contain different tax brackets for joint filers, Rosenberg said single-income couples filing jointly could see more favorable rates, meaning “they could actually, as a combined unit, pay less in tax than they would together as two individuals.”

Fifteen states have what amounts to a marriage penalty for joint filers in their tax rates, according to the Tax Foundation. The marriage penalty, author Katherine Loughead said, could be severe for a married business owner whose company would see higher effective rates just for adding a spouse’s income into the business’ reported income.

Because the state's constitution mandates a flat income tax, a supermajority of lawmakers in both the House and Senate must vote to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, then a supermajority of voters must approve it. The earliest voters could see such an amendment on the ballot is 2020.

McHenry City Council lowers raffle payout limit rule ahead of VFW Queen of Hearts game
Northwest Herald
Wednesday, March 20, 2019  |   Article  |   By BRITTANY KEEPERMAN
Gambling, Gaming

City Council decreases raffle payout limit from $6 million to $3 million, will go down again in July

McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600 hosts the game. The jackpot reached more than $7 million in the last round before a Schaumburg woman won in September. The starting date for a new round hasn’t been set, but the jackpot will start at $3.4 million.

The city raised its raffle limit multiple times to accommodate the game last year but are now attempting to rein it in because of traffic and safety concerns. VFW officials have said they will start the new round with half a deck of cards to move the game forward quickly.

The payout limit will decrease from $3 million to $1 million July 31, when the game is projected to be complete. The limit is on what a winner can take home.

City Council members originally wanted to reduce the limit on July 1 but Ben Keefe, the club’s senior vice commander, said Monday that the game may need to start later than expected while parking lot construction is underway.

“The parking lot may not be ready until June 1,” he told the council.

When the raffle ended in September, the organization collected 20 percent, or $1,416,106, of the $7,080,528 pot and has put the money toward repairs to the facility and parking lot, 3002 Route 120, officials have said.

A new concrete parking lot was projected to cost $900,000 and a 12-foot privacy fence on the west side of the property cost $5,000, VFW Cmdr. Dwayne Lungren has said.

The club will not sell tickets or hold a drawing while the 11-day Fiesta Days festival takes place July 11 to July 21, Keefe said at Monday’s meeting.

Queen of Hearts is a game where cards are placed in individual, numbered envelopes and put on a board. People have a chance to buy raffle tickets for a chance to guess which envelope holds the Queen of Hearts card. The drawing is weekly.

The person who pulls the Queen of Hearts card gets 60 percent of the jackpot, minus taxes. The VFW keeps 20 percent and another 20 percent goes into starting the new pot.


State Rep. Allen Skillicorn a co-host in bipartisan marijuana discussion
Northwest Herald
Wednesday, March 20, 2019  |   Article  |   By DREW ZIMMERMAN
Marijuana, Medical, Recreational Cassidy, Kelly--State House, 14 , Skillicorn, Allen--State House, 66

The event is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Stage Left Cafe, 125 W. Van Buren St. in Woodstock.

The public event will provide information on what legislation is being proposed in Springfield to legalize marijuana. All viewpoints on the issue will be welcome, according to a news release.

“The prospect of cannabis legalization is a loaded topic for people on all sides of the issue,” Skillicorn said in the release. “That’s exactly what this town hall is about. To have an open and honest discussion that welcomes all viewpoints and provide information about the proposals being discussed in Springfield.”

Skillicorn said this is the first town hall meeting he has held on this subject, and if the demand is there, he is happy to hold more.

The prospect of legalizing recreational marijuana was a staple of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s campaign. In his budget address, Pritzker said by legalizing and regulating adult-use cannabis this legislative session, the state will create jobs and bring in $170 million in licensing and other fees in fiscal 2020.

As of now, a total of 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized weed for persons older than the age of 21.

For information on the event, call 815-893-4884.