Illinois Tax Tribunal Bill Goes to Governor Quinn!
An Illinois Chamber initiative, HB 5192, the Illinois Tax Tribunal Act of 2012 passed the Senate at about 12:25 Friday morning with a unanimous vote and now goes to Governor Quinn for his review and signature. We are very proud to have worked with some dedicated legislators in making the independent Tax Tribunal a reality for Illinois taxpayers. Special thanks to Representatives Mike Zalewski, in particular, for the many hours he devoted to working with us in developing the final legislative language, and also to Representatives Barbara Flynn Currie, and David Harris in the House, and to Senators Toi Hutchinson and Shane Cultra in the Senate for guiding this legislation to the finish line in the final hours of spring session.
We are also very proud of the fact that the Tax Tribunal Act of 2012 had true bipartisan support, and passed through both House and Senate Revenue Committees and ultimately the House and Senate without a single dissenting vote.
The ultimate results belie the amount of work that went into the project, however. The effort to implement a Tax Tribunal began last summer when Illinois Chamber Tax Institute members convened a joint working group with Tom Johnson and members of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois to begin work on draft legislation based on the American Bar Association Model Tax Tribunal Act. We were fortunate in fall veto session when legislative leaders were willing to insert a mandate in Public Act 97-0636 which called for the creation of the Illinois Tax Tribunal in 2013, but left the details to future legislation. Our joint working group was ready to immediately step up its efforts and we were able to present a first draft of legislation as early as January. Negotiating sessions with the Department of Revenue and House legislative leaders began in February and continued (almost weekly) through early May. The Department originally opposed the concept of the Tax Tribunal, but took a neutral position once agreed language was reached. Working group members were invaluable in critiquing multiple drafts and working through numerous implementation issues as spring session progressed and negotiations continued. Special thanks should also go to Tom Johnson of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois who partnered so effectively with the Illinois Chamber in seeing the Tax Tribunal become a reality.
Next steps will be ensuring adequate funding for the Tax Tribunal and providing input during Senate confirmation hearings for the Tax Tribunal administrative law judge selection process.