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In First For Pritzker, General Assembly Overrides Veto

Private jets at Sun Valley Airport in 2015.
Thomas Hawk
via flickr.com/thomashawk (cc by-nc 2.0)

Illinois Senators overwhelmingly override Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s veto of a sales tax exemption Wednesday, a day after member of the House did the same. It’s the first time that’s happened during Pritzker’s time in office.

The 54-to-1 Senate vote reinstates a tax break for private jet maintenance companies. They’ll be able to buy aircraft parts tax free.

Sen. Rachelle Crowe, a Democrat from Glen Carbon, said the law is an attempt to keep jobs in Illinois.

“In my district alone, over 500 jobs were created because of this exemption,” Crowe said on the Senate floor. “More than 500 families are supported in highly-skilled, well-paying jobs with a median income of over $82,000.”

Sen. Scott Bennett, a Democrat from Champaign, said Flightstar Corporation employs 145 people in his district.

“This is not about the very privileged people who happen to own a private aircraft,” Bennett said. “This is about the hardworking men and women who have special skills and have created markets and jobs across Illinois.”

The companies owed five years of back-taxes because a previous exemption expired. When Pritzker vetoed the legislation, he cited Illinois’ poor financial health and objected to targeting just one industry.

But the House and Senate overwhelmingly overrode his veto — just one lawmaker sided with the governor.

Backers say the law applies to at least 14 different facilities employing 3,700 people statewide.

House Bill 3902 takes effect immediately.

Mike Smith is a graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legislative session.
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