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Pritzker Signs Collective Bargaining Law, Calls On Republicans To Offer Fiscal Plan

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law today intended to protect collective bargaining rights for labor unions.

It would ban local governments from creating “right-to-work zones” — where employees at a unionized company no longer have to pay fees if they choose not to join.

Pritzker said it’s another step toward ensuring working families can make a living wage.

“From the start, right-to-work was an idea cooked up to lower wages, slash benefits and hurt our working families,” he said. “Right-to-work has always meant right to work for less money.”

Former Gov. Bruce Rauner was a promoter of local right-to-work zones. He vetoed similar legislation in 2017.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to decide whether the suburban Chicago village of Lincolnshire can enforce a right-to-work ordinance. Lower courts sided with the unions, and Pritzker said the new law settles the issue.

Losing Patience With Republicans

In a press conference after the bill signing, Pritzker effectively told Republicans to put up or shut up when it comes to his graduated income tax proposal.

As it gains momentum, the governor is calling on opponents to lay out their own plan to fix Illinois’ finances.

Pritzker said doing nothing is not an option, with the state facing a $7.9 billion bill backlog. He said Republican calls for spending cuts have been empty words.

“Tell me if you want your universities cut by 15 percent,” he said. “Tell me if you think it’s okay if your local property taxes go up because the Republicans want to cut funding for K-12 education. Tell me if you want fewer state police on the roads to protect you, because that is what they’re advocating for.”

Pritzker has said his tax plan could raise $3.4 billion, though an independent analysis raises questions about whether his projections are too optimisitc.

His budget also relies on pushing back pension payments, which is likely to drive up costs in the long run.

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