Gov. J.B. Pritzker wasted no time in creating new legislation since taking office in January, and the week of May 26 could go down as the biggest week of his tenure.
Illinois has new legislation on abortion, marijuana, gambling and income taxes. Most of the legislation is designed to bring in much-needed revenue, but in this state, residents can be sure they will pay more.
Pritzker’s goal is to have marijuana available to consumers by Jan. 1, 2020. Per the bill, Illinois residents could possess up to 30 grams of marijuana flower, 5 grams of THC concentrate and 5 grams of THC in a marijuana-infused product.
The bill authorizes the state to issue a limited number of licenses for cultivators, processors and retail dispensaries, and to charge excise taxes on the retail sale of marijuana products.
Medicinal marijuana patients would be allowed to grow as many as five cannabis plants at home. The bill also allows for expungement of many cases, which is good news for offenders of minor, non-violent crimes involving marijuana.
Six new casinos are slated for Illinois, along with legalized sports betting. Casinos, race tracks and sports facilities that seat more than 17,000 people, including Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field and the United Center, will be eligible to buy sports-betting licenses.
Revenues from the new casinos, the sale of those licenses and a higher tax on video gambling machines will go to acapital infrastructure plan, including renovations to state buildings.
The abortion bill would give Illinois the most liberal reproductive health laws in the country and will certainly continue to be a debate between Illinois citizens.
The graduated tax rate will start in January 2021 if voters approve a constitutional amendment on the November 2020 general election ballot.
Single filers would pay the maximum rate of 7.99 percent on all income once their taxable income tops $750,000. For joint filers, that rate starts on income over $1 million. Currently, Illinois residents pay 4.95 percent income tax.
The bill also includes an increase in the property tax credit from 5 percent to 6 percent, and up to a $100 per-child tax credit for couples earning less than $100,000 and single parents making less than $80,000.
The state desperately needs these new sources of revenue. Although we will be digging in our pockets, at least Pritzker and legislators got some things done in Springfield.