Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed House Bill 418, which prevents retired police officers from opting into the pension system a second time if they return to the force as a police chief or join another municipality’s force.

This bill will protect taxpayers from situations in which police officers are collecting two pensions from the same pension fund — a problem known as “double dipping.” Police officers that are promoted to police chief or join a different force will enroll in 401(k)-style retirement plans instead of opting into the pension fund again.

“Illinois taxpayers can’t afford to pay the same person twice,”Gov. Rauner said. “This bill is an important step to help control Illinois’ unsustainable pension costs. It will protect taxpayers from pension fund abuse while still ensuring our police officers are fairly compensated for their service.”

The bill was sponsored by two Naperville Republicans after controversy over whether a Naperville police chief should be able to accrue new pension payments while simultaneously earning a salary of over $168,000 and collecting payments from his first pension.


“There is a loophole in current law that allows double-dipping into the police pension systems, and it’s costing municipalities and local taxpayers a fortune.  Retired law enforcement officers have earned their pensions, but they should not be able to claim multiple pensions that we can’t afford,” said Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), the primary sponsor of this legislation. “Closing this loophole is one step toward keeping our struggling pension systems solvent.”


 “Illinois’ pension systems are in dire need of repair as our pension liabilities at both the state and local levels continue to rack up,” said Sen. Connelly (R-Naperville). “While I recognize that many changes need to occur within the current system, this law at least gets us going in the right direction.”


Chicago, IL – State Reps. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), Christine Winger (R-Bloomingdale), Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) today introduced legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.

“This pop tax is a repeated example of another financial burden being imposed upon the people of Cook County. The vetting of this measure was short-sighted and irresponsible as roll-outs of similar pop taxes in other cities have proven to be not effective and even harmful to the local economy,” stated Rep. McAuliffe. “I spent this past weekend in my district and the feedback against this tax was overwhelmingly negative. The taxpayers are understandably frustrated and there is a lot of confusion.”

“Longstanding small businesses that have been pivotal in the community are going to suffer, especially when residents can walk less than a mile to a different store in a county that isn’t affected by the tax to buy their goods,” said Rep. Winger. “Residents will choose a different store over one they have gone to for years to avoid paying this. I have heard first-hand the severity this tax has already had in its first two weeks.  Some say sales have already dropped 80% on certain products.”

Specifically, House Bill 4082 would prevent any home rule county from imposing a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold. It applies to any county ordinance adopted on or before the effective date of the bill, repealing the existing Cook County ordinance.

"On the heels of being hit with a 32% income tax hike, the residents of Cook County were immediately saddled with a costly tax on sweetened beverages,” said Rep. Breen. “It's time for government to live within its means and quit turning to taxpayers for more of their hard-earned money. Through this legislation, the Cook County beverage tax will be repealed, and a law will be in place to prohibit any similar taxes in other Illinois counties."


“Democrats not only want you to keep ‘drinking the Koolaid’, they want you to pay more for the privilege,” said Rep. Wehrli. “This tax hits families directly in their wallets.  It could also cost us some of the thousands of good jobs the soft drink industry provides Illinois families. It’s no surprise that nearly 87% of Cook County residents oppose this tax, and we stand with them.”

The City of Philadelphia recently enacted a similar, 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages to pay for universal preschool. Following the implementation of the tax, beverage sales fell by as much as 50 percent and more than 400 jobs were lost. Additionally, actual beverage tax collections for the first six months are $6.9 million below the city’s estimate of $46.2 million.

The impact on Cook County is expected to be even more devastating. An economic analysis in 2016 found that the beverage tax, which Cook County estimates to provide $67.5 million in new revenue in 2017 and $200.6 million in 2018, could result in a loss of 6,100 jobs, $321 million in lost wages and $1.3 billion in lost economic activity. There have already been a number of complaints and lawsuits as retailers struggle to comply with the implementation of the tax.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently notified Cook County that portions of the tax were illegal and that the state could stand to lose more than $86 million in federal funding if the problems are not resolved.

Additionally, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission has voiced its concerns with Cook County as well, stating that the new tax “may lead to practices that violate the Illinois Liquor Control Act.”
LISLE – State Representatives Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) and Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) along with State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) will host a Town Hall Meeting on the status of the controversial education funding reform bill, Senate Bill 1, and what is at stake for local taxpayers and school districts at 9:30am on Saturday, August 12 at Benedictine University’s Goodwin Business Building's Hall of Leaders (4th Floor), located at 5700 College Road in Lisle. 

The Illinois General Assembly is expected to return to session in Springfield as early as August 14 to deliberate upon the Governor’s partial veto of Senate Bill 1. 
  
“Republicans agree that this legislation is historic and important – and that’s why we have to make sure we get it right,” said Representative Wehrli. “We have been very clear about our concerns on this legislation from the moment it was amended and passed in the legislature on May 31. There is no more time to lose.  Democrats have played politics with this bill all summer. Suburban parents and taxpayers need to know how this will affect us before moving forward.”