McCombie Column: Clock is Ticking on Spring Session Calendar

It’s springtime in Northwest Illinois, and with just four weeks left on the legislative calendar, bills are moving fast at the State Capitol. My priorities this spring are to lower the tax burden on Illinois families, deliver results for people enduring lengthy delays receiving their professional licenses from the state, and advocating for more personal freedom.

One issue we need to resolve is the burdensome Estate Tax, frequently referred to as the “death tax.” This tax disproportionately hurts family farmers who pass their legacy on from one generation to the next, and also family-owned small businesses and manufacturers in Illinois. I have filed legislation to reduce the Estate Tax and prevent any double taxation of inherited farms and small businesses. Ultimately, we need to eliminate this tax altogether.

Not only do we need to lower taxes, but we also need to ensure they are used for their intended purpose. On April 19, the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation I introduced, the Illinois Forestry Fix (House Bill 1855), to ensure the state’s 4% tax on timber goes toward its intended purpose, to support the cost-share program for forest development that timber growers here in northwest Illinois and across the state rely upon. To be eligible to receive cost-share payments, a landowner must operate at least 10 contiguous acres (at least 100 feet wide) on which timber is produced, have timber production as the primary goal of their land, and have a forest management plan approved by the state. Eligible landowners are reimbursed for a portion of their costs, up to 75%, for applying forest improvement practices. Together we are taking action to protect our vital natural resources.

Enjoying the outdoors is another cherished aspect of our lives. Many families own a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV), or a recreational off-highway vehicle, yet state law restricts where they can travel. To fix this, I have filed the Freedom to Ride Act (House Bill 5436), which would allow UTVs to drive on all roadways. We should all be able to enjoy outdoor time with family and friends, moving about freely on the roads maintained by our tax dollars.  

My remaining top priority this spring is to help the thousands of Illinois residents acquire their professional licenses from the state in a timely manner. Too many of our neighbors have lost income and employment opportunities due to lengthy and frankly inexcusable delays in receiving their licenses due to the antiquated process at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Significant delays, breakdowns in communication, lost applications, and overall dysfunction have resulted in mounting frustration with the IDFPR. We have written letters, reached out to the Director, and shared numerous first-hand stories we’ve heard from constituents who have experienced undue hardship and simply want the ability to work in this state. IDFPR has yet to come to terms with its own mismanagement and implement solutions.

Last month, I was proud to stand with my colleagues to introduce a package of bills aimed at fixing this problem. The package includes the License Convenience Act (House Bill 4855), which would require the state to accept electronic payments for licenses and fees. We have also filed bills to lower licensure costs, implement reciprocity agreements to recognize out-of-state licenses, expedited licensure for health care professionals, streamline requirements for cosmetologists and barbers, and much more.

Four weeks to go on the session calendar and plenty of work to get done. Stay tuned for updates. Please feel welcome to call my office at 815-291-8989 or share feedback online at