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Proposed amendment faces scrutiny by Illinois group

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – A Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights is drawing mixed reviews at the state Capitol. A proposed constitutional amendment would tie state spending increases to a personal-income index. At least one interest group – the Illinois Policy Institute – says it’s rife with loopholes.

“This would place in the Illinois Constitution a set restriction on the growth in spending out of the general accounts, beginning in the Fiscal Year 2014,” House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) told a House committee in presenting the amendment. “The aggregate appropriations and transfers from general funds are limited to the average annual percentage change in the per capita personal income for Illinois for the five most recent calendar years.” Madigan says a report from the U. S. Department of Commerce would provide those benchmarks.

Exemptions include debt service and pension payments.

Kristina Rasmussen, the policy institute’s executive vice president, says the governor would have too much flexibility to declare an emergency. She is also upset members of her group did not get a chance to speak to the committee.

HJRCA 61 has passed the House State Government Administration Committee.

Reported by Dave Dahl

Copyright 2010 Illinois Radio Network

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