Ives mocks bill: Want out of Illinois? It'll cost you
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) took to the House floor in April to urge the state to erect a wall around its borders and grab back pension, education and other payments if anyone tries to leave.
But not really.
Ives was mocking House Bill 3538, calling its goal of curbing business departures from the state a terrible idea that doesn’t go far enough in its absurdity.
Presented by Rep. Michael Halpin (D- Rock Island) to the House chamber on April 24, HB3538 would penalize businesses that move any part of their operation out of state by revoking any economic development incentives, such as tax credits, and requiring the businesses to repay those incentives.
Ives commented sarcastically that the bill does too little to save Illinois and should target everyone who decides to leave.
“I’ll be quite honest with you: I don’t think that this bill goes far enough,” Ives said. “I think, at this point, what we need to do is we need to claw back any educational assistance for high school graduates who decide to go to college in another state. I think that anybody who got an Illinois pension and moves to Florida, Arizona, Texas or anywhere else … I think we ought to claw back some of those pension benefits. I think taxpayers who sat here and raised their kids for a long time and then decide to retire somewhere else … maybe we should go ahead and claw back any of those provisions, too. Honestly, your bill just really doesn’t go far enough.”
Halpin argued that the bill is a measure to force companies to follow through with their promises to invest and develop in the state.
“Illinois has been participating in a race to the bottom, and this bill will hopefully prevent corporations that aren’t interested in investing in Illinois to move on and let our taxpayers be preserved,” he said.
Ives wasn't having any of it.
“As a last resort, what we really could do is we could erect a border fence and then have gates where we tax people that left the state just because they didn’t decide to stay here and do business,” she said. “We just haven’t gone far enough down that path.”
Many House lawmakers echoed Ives' cynicism. Rep. Steven Andersson (R- Geneva) argued that the bill would punish successful companies for being compliant, and Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) said the bill is too broad, with no give or take, and would make tax incentives useless.
“This is a nail in the coffin to anybody who is even looking at coming to Illinois,” Ives said. “I can’t even believe we are debating this.”
Despite Ives' protest, HB3538 passed on a vote of 64 to 48.
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