Republicans react to Cloonen’s support for billions in tax increase
In the recent legislative session State Rep. Kate Cloonen voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a measure that would cost constituents upwards of $3.6 billion — a bill tagged by the Quad-City Times as an “end-run on democracy.”
H.B. 580, a controversial piece of legislation that would have undermined the state’s voters by removing motivation for union negotiation, according to some stakeholders, sought to amend the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act regarding collective bargaining agreements.
The bill stipulated, among other measures, that if a mediator fails to bring opposing parties into agreement within 30 days, either party can initiate impasse arbitration procedures. First filed in February 2015, H.B. 580 went through at least three motions to override the governor’s veto, but ultimately failed.
Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe expressed disenchantment with Cloonen’s position, while the Rockford Register Star unequivocally dubbed HB 580 “one of the worst pieces of legislation we’d ever seen.”
“Kate Cloonen sent a clear signal today that she wants to raises taxes on Illinois families by $3.6 billion,” Yaffe said. “This bill would have given an unelected, unaccountable individual the authority to force the state to pay $3.6 billion more to cover double-digit pay increases and five weeks vacation time for state workers.”
Foremost among the bill's flaws, according to Illinois Republicans, was that it would have expired after Rauner completed his term as governor and that it would have cost taxpayers exorbitant amounts, not to mention that it could have potentially damage the inherent balance of labor relations in Illinois.
“As much as Cloonen wishes it were the case, money doesn’t fall from the sky,” Yaffe said. “A vote for $3.6 billion more in spending is a vote for a tax hike, because we have to find a way to pay for that spending in order to balance the budget.”
Cloonen, a Democrat, is currently serving her second term as state representative for the 79th District of Illinois. She is a small business owner and former teacher.