053015CM0579SPRINGFIELD – In light of an economic agenda put forth by the Governor’s office, Illinois Senate Democrats are proposing a package of legislation to increase tuition tax credits, raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour and close millions worth of corporate tax loopholes. The Senate Democrats are proposing the plan after negotiations with Governor Rauner stalled.

“When I began working in public service, I pledged to protect and better the lives of the families and residents of my district. The agenda put forth by the Governor does nothing to help working families get ahead. Our plan will help students get a better education, help working families increase their take home pay and help eliminate the millions in corporate loopholes,” Senator Cunningham said.

The agenda unveiled Sunday contains five key provisions:

  • Tuition Tax Credit. Qualified parents or students who are Illinois residents can claim a tax credit for higher education expenses incurred at any qualified public or private university, community college, vocational school, or other postsecondary educational institution located in Illinois.
  • Minimum wage. Increases the state minimum wage to $9.00 on July 1, 2015 and by $0.50 each year thereafter until the minimum wage reaches $11.00 on July 1, 2019. Provides a three-year tax credit for employers with less than 50 employees.
  • Illinois College Promise Program. Covers tuition and mandatory fees for up to two years at any of the state’s 48 community colleges so long as the student continues to meet all applicable eligibility requirements.
  • Healthy Workplace Act. Guarantees up to seven paid days of sick time to full and part time employees. Sick time would accrue at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees would not be able to take sick time for the first 120 days of employment
  • Corporate loopholes. Ends a variety of corporate tax breaks including corporations ability to automatically receive a tax breaks for production outside of Illinois. Closing these loopholes will bring the state $334 million.

“The plan we are putting forth is a common-sense approach to making the lives of working families better, helping students get a good, solid education and making certain that corporations start sharing in the sacrifice that many of our families have already shared in,” Cunningham said.

The new proposal come as Governor Bruce Rauner has threatened to shut down state government and end state services if lawmakers don’t reduce worker protections, make it harder to sue corporations that make dangerous products and slash billions of dollars in services to at-risk children and seniors.

Senator Cunningham plans to co-sponsor the legislation along with numerous other Senate Democrats. The proposals could be in final form for possible votes should lawmakers be called back into session this summer.