Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Wednesday, May 1

By Illinois News Network

Democrats introduce new progressive tax rates

Statehouse Democrats looking to change Illinois’ flat income tax to a system with higher rates for higher earners filed a new proposed rate structure Tuesday.

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson’s proposed rates differ from what was proposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this year.

Her rates lower the top bracket from $1 million to $750,000.

Opponents say that shows any progressive tax is likely to push higher rates on lower brackets as revenue projections don’t pan out.

Senate Committee backs package with new income tax rates, school property tax freeze

Proponents are promoting a package of bills to go along with a proposed change to how the state taxes income.

Attached to a proposed rate structure is an end to the state estate tax and a limit to what schools can levy in local property taxes.

State Sen. Andy Manar said the property tax freeze has two exemptions: pensions and debt. Republicans oppose the package.

Business groups gather today in Springfield

Businesses in retail, manufacturing and other sectors are in Springfield for what the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and Illinois Manufacturers’ Association says is the largest gathering of business leaders in Illinois.

Panel discussions will touch on data privacy, cannabis legalization and the proposed graduated income tax.

IEMA warns of flooding potential in Illinois

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency says much of the state is under a flash flood watch and it is urging residents to work to reduce flooding risks.

The agency recommends making sure sump pumps are working properly, clearing debris from gutters and downspouts, and raising and anchoring service equipment and appliances onto platforms so they are at least one foot above potential flood waters.

Wet spring puts farmers’ behind schedule 

Less than 10 percent of Illinois’ corn crop is in the ground right now, and less than five percent of beans have been planted.

The USDA said Illinois farmers are behind where they were one year ago, and even more behind for the five-year average.

A wet spring could further delay planting.

State transportation officials urge motorists to watch for motorcycles

Illinois transportation and law enforcement officials are set to kick off Motorcycle Awareness Month this morning.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker proclaimed May Motorcycle Awareness Month and will join with the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and motorcycle safety advocates to remind motorists around the state to Start Seeing Motorcycles.