Illinois coalition pushes ‘people and planet first’ agenda

(From left) Annette McMichael, House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago), State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago). (Dave Dahl/WJBC)


By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Closing tax loopholes. Making fracking transparent. Encouraging affordable housing. An announcement Wednesday morning by Fair Economy Illinois covered a lot of ground.

The coalition is pushing a “people and planet first” agenda.

“Illinois right now is losing $1.3 billion — that’s 1.3 billion with a B — in taxes that corporations and wealthy individuals have managed to shelter in other countries that have different tax policies than we do,” said House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago). “The bill I am introducing is an attempt to reclaim some of that revenue to support some much-needed programs.”

His bill would curtail “offshoring.” Other bills in the package would eliminate the sales tax rebate for larger retailers and bring more transparency to fracking.

In a statement, Illinois Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Todd Maisch said the measures are “merely an attempt to increase taxes on Illinois businesses through an ill-conceived and non-transparent manner,

“House Bill 2085 and Senate Bill 1115 are attempts to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. The bills appear to have been triggered by a flawed study that alleges widespread tax avoidance through the use of offshore tax havens. Illinois legislation adopted ten years ago amended the Illinois Income Tax Act to bring back income earned offshore.”

Dave Dahl can be reached at


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