The 2012 spring session of the 97th General Assembly saw the passage of important legislation ranging from spending cuts in the Medicaid program to increasing the tax on cigarettes to eliminating the General Assembly Scholarship Program.
The 2012 Illinois Legislative Vote Card allows our members and the public an impartial look at how their legislators voted on these and other important issues. To look up your state representative and senator and find out what they scored in the Vote Card, search on the Take Action section of the Illinois Opportunity Project’s website.
The Illinois Opportunity Project has selected 16 key votes (8 in the Senate and 8 in the House) on issues that impact the families of Illinois. Each legislator received a “grade” based on how often his or her votes protected taxpayers’ interests and promoted economic growth.
The Vote Card includes only roll call votes on bills that received a recorded floor vote in at least one chamber. The Vote Card does not include bill sponsorship or bills that did not receive a floor vote. The best legislators have an impact far beyond their own floor votes by sponsoring bold legislation, advocating for real reforms, and serving as leaders among their colleagues. For this reason, the Vote Card shows an important but limited view of each legislator.
The Illinois Opportunity Project selected votes that had a major impact on at least one of these areas: spending, taxes, jobs and the economy, government structure and operations, or education. The votes in this Vote Card are not weighted; each vote is potentially worth one point. For a legislator to be given a final grade, they must have voted on at least five of the eight possible votes.
This Vote Card details how elected officials voted on issues that impact you. It does not represent an endorsement of any particular candidate. It is meant to inform voters and is a tool to help individuals more effectively influence the legislative process.
Illinois has the worst credit rating and the highest debt per capita of any state in the nation. Each individual owes $41,000 in unfunded pension and health insurance liabilities for state and local government employees. Meanwhile, state government owes businesses, school districts, non-profits, and other vendors $8 billion in unpaid bills. The status quo in Illinois is not working. The policies passed out of Springfield over the past decade have put Illinois in an economic death spiral and undermined the State’s ability to provide services to the truly needy.
For Illinois to once again be a land of opportunity and prosperity, legislators need to vote for pro-growth economic policies that increase personal freedom and reign in expansive government. Elected officials should vote to bring down unsustainable government spending, reform corrupt state government programs, unleash entrepreneurs and innovators from overly burdensome regulations, and re-focus social services on empowering the poor and disadvantaged. In short, Illinois needs a Policy Revolution.
The Illinois Opportunity Project advocates for an Illinois where entrepreneurs and hardworking families can flourish and where average Illinoisans are not treated like less-than by the elite political class. With their votes, legislators who score well on this Vote Card signal their commitment to this vision. A score of 100% signals the highest level of commitment to pro-growth economic policies.
If you agree that Illinois needs a policy agenda that will protect the interests of taxpayers and promote economic growth, take the next step by:
- Joining our Policy Revolution at www.IllinoisOpportunity.org
- Sharing this Vote Card with a friend
- Attending an IOP grassroots training
- Making a financial contribution to the Illinois Opportunity Project
- Meeting with your state legislators or candidates and discussing the bills in this Vote Card
The Illinois Opportunity Project selected the following 16 votes on 10 bills because they impact the free-market in at least one of theses areas: spending, taxes, government structure and operations, education or jobs and the economy.
Senate Bill 1313 House Amendments 8 and 9: State Employee Health Insurance
Provides the Governor’s Office with the authority to set health insurance premiums for retired state and university employees. (Passed the Senate 31-20-1, passed the House 74-43-0). The Illinois Opportunity Project supports this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored positively.
Senate Bill 2840 House Amendments 2, 4, and 5: Medicaid Reforms
Saves $1.6 billion by reforming and restructuring Illinois’ Medicaid program. (Passed the Senate 44-13-2, passed the House 94-22-1). The Illinois Opportunity Project supports this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored positively.
Senate Bill 2194 House Amendments 2 and 3: Cigarette Tax Increase
Increases the taxes paid on a package of 20 cigarettes by $1. (Passed the Senate 31-27-0, passed the House 60-52-0). The Illinois Opportunity Project opposes this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored negatively.
House Bill 5007 Senate Amendments 5 and 6: ObamaCare Expansion
Implements ObamaCare two years early in Cook County by allowing the Governor to expand Medicaid through the adoption of new eligibility requirements. (Passed the Senate 35-22-0, passed the House 62-55-0). The Illinois Opportunity Project opposes this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored negatively.
House Bill 3810 Senate Amendments 1 and 2: Eliminate General Assembly Scholarships
Eliminates the General Assembly scholarship program. (Passed the Senate 43-5-5, passed the House 79-32-0). The Illinois Opportunity Project supports this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored positively.
House Bill 3277 House Amendments 1 and 4: Contribution Limits
Limits the free speech rights of citizens who want to be involved in the political process while allowing political parties to circumvent the limits. (Passed the Senate 30-26-0, passed the House 63-55-0). The Illinois Opportunity Project opposes this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored negatively.
House Bill 5440 Senate Amendment 2: Satellite Dish Tax
Imposes a five percent tax on all satellite dish service. (Passed the Senate 30-27-0, awaiting action in the House). The Illinois Opportunity Project opposes this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored negatively.
Senate Bill 2643 Senate Amendment 1: Prevailing Wage Expansion
Requires that companies bidding for contracts with local government comply with prevailing wage regulations. (Passed the Senate 32-18-0, awaiting action in the House). The Illinois Opportunity Project opposes this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored negatively.
House Resolution 706/House Joint Resolution 69: Fiscal Year 2013 Spending Levels
Set a budget framework with spending targets that are far above the level necessary to allow the income tax hike to sunset as promised in 2014. (Passed the House 91-16-3). The Illinois Opportunity Project opposes this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored negatively.
House Bill 4277 House Amendment 1: Equal Funding for Charter Schools
Increases funding levels for public charter schools to bring them in line with public schools. (Defeated in the House 45-69-4). The Illinois Opportunity Project supports this legislation and a vote for this bill is scored positively.