BREAKING NEWS: Governor vetoes early tax collection bill

Rockford’s hopes of fixing its roads this summer hit another speed-bump Friday, June 22, when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) vetoed legislation sponsored by state Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-67) that would allow the city to begin collecting its sales tax revenue sooner.

“It’s very frustrating that the governor has chosen to ignore the wishes of the people of Rockford by vetoing this bill,” Jefferson said. “The voters overwhelmingly approved a method of raising new revenue in order to repair our streets. The governor’s veto threatens to seriously delay our efforts to improve our infrastructure.”

Senate Bill 1395 allows the City of Rockford to begin collecting the voter-approved 1 percentage point sales tax increase July 1, six months earlier than allowed by current law. The House voted 66-49 to approve Jefferson’s bill May 3, and the Senate concurred with the amendments May 10. The governor, who had the bill on his desk since May 11, took more than a month to act on the legislation.

The timing of the veto puts the city in a difficult position. City officials believe that unless the bill becomes law by July 1, they will be unable to collect the tax early and, effectively, lose the summer months to begin construction work.

“My top priority is to make sure that Rockford continues to move forward, so I will be working closely with my colleagues in the Senate and the House to override the governor’s veto,” Jefferson said. “The governor’s late action on this bill means that time is short, but I believe that by working together, we can get the job done.”

The bill will need to receive 71 “yes” votes in the House to override the governor’s veto; it will need 36 “yes” votes in the Senate.

For more information, call Jefferson’s constituent service office at (815) 987-7433.

From the June 20-26, 2007, issue

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