LAKE BARRINGTON… State Representative Martin McLaughlin (R-Barrington Hills) from the 52ND House District released the following statement after closing out the Spring Legislative Session last month.
Rep. McLaughlin said, “I am proud that Republicans initiated some very important bills this session to combat a sluggish economy, high taxes, and waning public safety in major cities. We pushed legislation to support our job producers, corporations, manufacturers, and the eleven Main Street small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the 52nd District.
“Our priorities are centered on lowering taxes and curbing incessant new regulations, in order to grow jobs in this state. Unfortunately, many of our policy initiatives, like transparency for witness slips to follow bills throughout the entire legislative process, ethics reforms, lower corporate regulations, elimination of the estate tax, and many property tax reform measures did not get hearings and were essentially killed in committee.
“Research & Development tax credits, which would provide opportunities for existing businesses to invest in new product development, were not included. The ‘Invest In Kids’ tax credit scholarship program which has been a huge bi-partisan success story for several years is being vilified by the increasingly polarizing teachers’ union, as it was falsely portrayed as a threat to the public education system.
“The Local Government Distributive Fund or LGDF which is supposed to provide 10% on every tax dollar back to the local communities was not returned to the state agreed level, but rather now sits at 6.4%. This is well below the 10% agreed funding level that is badly needed for our local towns to fund and finance many local initiatives, especially public safety pensions.
“Instead, the majority Democrats prioritized passing genderless public bathrooms, extending paid leave programs, and defunding of local libraries if the local boards determine to monitor age appropriate materials.
“The legislature passed their second pay increase in under 6 months to themselves – with a raise in January and now in May – bringing a total percentage of the combined raises well over 20%. All of this personal ‘legislature pork’ is doled out, while the state raised your gas tax in January and will happily do so again on July 1, right in time for one of America’s busiest summer travel periods, for a total of 6.2 cents per gallon in 2023.
“I co-sponsored a limited amount of bills with my Democratic colleagues in a bi-partisan fashion, which should have a positive impact on our business community. One bill, which mirrors legislation I sponsored from the last General Assembly, will improve efficiency in the design build contract process for many municipalities that will allow for lower costs on the taxpayer.
“On a positive note, I was happy to co-sponsor and vote in support of legislation focusing on beneficial behavioral health and mental health initiatives. It is important to help those suffering through Covid and for those who might need assistance related to violent behaviors.
“All in all, to sum up the session, we have more regulations with roughly 600 new bills passed. Greater spending, higher budgets, less transparency, no meaningful ethics reforms and now billions being spent on ‘sanctuary state and city’ status for undocumented non-citizens versus taking care of our most vulnerable developmentally disabled residents or continuing tax credit scholarships for our most needy children giving them a real chance at success.”