The Illinois House voted 74-13 June 29, overriding Gov. Rod Blagojevichs (D) veto of Senate Bill 1395. The override means Rockford will begin collecting a 1 percentage point increase in the sales tax for infrastructure improvements July 1, six months earlier than state law previously permitted.
This is a great day for the city of Rockford, said state Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-Rockford). The people of Rockford said that they wanted this tax to be collected. The will of the people has been heard.
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) was in Springfield much of the week, lobbying members of the state legislature to override the governors last-minute June 22 veto. Blagojevich said he vetoed the bill because he feels all sales taxes are regressive.
The Senate voted 43-3 June 26 in favor of the override, thanks in part to the efforts of state Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford). Local legislators, including Jefferson, then worked to gain about five additional votes needed to override the governor in the House.
The governor could have listened to what the people of Rockford wanted and what the General Assembly approved and signed the bill weeks ago, Jefferson added. I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. It took great bipartisan support to get this bill passed. I am pleased that we were able to get this done for Rockford, despite the governors attempt to stop it.
Jefferson originally read in the wrong bill when the House first voted on the bill.
The successful override of Blagojevichs veto means Rockford will be able to begin collecting the money city leaders have said is needed to make essential improvements to roads, bridges and other city infrastructure.
The next hurdle is the Department of Revenue, which is required to notify all retailers in writing of any increase prior to July 1, which is just a couple of days away.
From the June 27-July 4, 2007, issue