Senate Week in Review: January 16-20, 2023

SPRINGFIELD – The first legal challenges to Illinois’ new weapons ban law were filed this week in Illinois and federal courts.

In other news, a report detailing the economic effects of Illinois’ goal to put one million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 shows that Illinois would lose $4.3 billion in motor fuel taxes over the next eight years.

Also this week, Illinois still maintained its first-place position in the U.S. for state soybean production in 2022. And Jan. 23 marks the start of state and federal tax season.

Lawsuits filed on new gun ban law

Several lawsuits have already been filed in response to Illinois’ new firearms ban, which passed the General Assembly during “lame-duck” session earlier this month and was quickly signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker.

One of the lawsuits, filed by the Illinois State Rifle Association in federal court, argues that the new Illinois law violates the Second and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution. Likewise, another lawsuit was filed in Illinois with the 2nd Judicial District Court in Crawford County, which also argues similar violations of the U.S. Constitution.

A third lawsuit was filed with the 4th Judicial Circuit Court in Effingham County, which argues the General Assembly violated aspects of the Illinois Constitution relating to public participation in the legislative process during the swift passage of the bill. Furthermore, the lawsuit asks for a Temporary Restraining Order on the law, which if granted, would place a hold on the law from taking effect until the outcome of the case.

State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley) voted against the so-called “assault weapons” ban legislation and says he is hopeful the courts will overrule this infringement of Second Amendment rights.

Electric vehicle report: Illinois would lose billions in revenue

The Illinois Economic Policy Institute has released a report on the economic effects of Illinois’ recent focus on increasing electric vehicle production and use. The report notes that rising fuel efficiency standards and the recent push to popularize electric vehicles will mean a loss to Illinois of $4.3 billion in tax revenues that would traditionally be used to support state and federal transportation projects.

The report’s author says that this loss would primarily result from Illinoisians buying decreased amounts of motor fuel, and the tax revenues that are generated through these purchases. Thus, sources of funding for transportation projects, like road and bridge repair, are in jeopardy as the motor fuel tax made up just over half of the total state transportation revenue.

The $4.3 billion number assumes that Illinois will succeed in its current goal of putting one million electric vehicles on the road, an effort that would require an addition of 119,000 electric vehicles per year. This amount also considers the recent increase of the annual electric vehicle registration fee.

Illinois top soybean producer in 2022

The Illinois Soybean Association announced Jan. 17 that Illinois produced the most soybeans in the nation once again in 2022, despite the cool and wet weather that slowed the start to the planting season.

The 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois together raised 677.25 million bushels in total, an average yield of 63 bushels per acre. Soybean production has been down in Illinois as well as across the nation. Overall, the yields this year show soybean production as decreased from last year, but still the largest in the nation.

Illinois has maintained its place as the top state soybean producer since 2016 and has been within the top two spots on the list since 2000.

Tax season begins Jan. 23

On Jan. 23, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will both begin accepting 2022 state and federal income tax returns. Last year, IDOR received almost 6.2 million returns, approximately 90 percent of which were filed electronically.

A number of different websites and places offer resources for free filing programs, but IDOR encourages taxpayers to use MyTax Illinois, a free online account management program, to electronically file their taxes. The site has recently been updated to try to make it easier on users to file and check the status of their returns.

The site also helps individuals manage payments, respond to any department inquiries, and to check the status of returns. As always, the department encourages people to set up direct deposit to speed up delivery of the returns.

The deadline for tax filing is April 18. Additional resources and information can be found on IDOR’s website.

Dave Syverson

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