Illinois Retail Merchants Association

a plastic bag in a tree
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to create a host of new taxes to help balance Illinois’ budget — on everything from e-cigarettes to medical insurance companies.

NPR Illinois reporters have been breaking down those revenue-generating ideas. Today we’re looking at a potential tax on shopping bags.

Flickr user: TaxCredits.net

Stores in Illinois keep a portion of what you pay in sales tax. Think of it like a collection fee, though in state government shorthand it’s called a retail discount.

The amount is based on a percentage of what they collect. So the more they sell, the more they keep.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to cap that amount to $1,000 per month for each retailer. It’s one of several proposals aimed at addressing a $3.2 billion deficit in next year’s budget.

Illinois lawmakers may be slowing the process to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The proposal was expected to be called for a vote and passed out of the Senate as soon as Thursday.

State Sen. Kim Lightford (D-Maywood), sponsor of the plan, said Gov. J.B. Pritzker wanted the bill approved in time for his budget address on Feb. 20.

“We’re off next week,” she said. “And the House will still be in, so the goal was to actually send the bill over so that the House could work on it next week while we’re not here.”

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are moving quickly to draft a plan for a minimum wage increase. But, there are competing ideas on how to approach it. 

IRMA

The holiday shopping season is upon us and shifts in the retail sector are becoming more evident.  

U.S. Supreme Court exterior
Brittany Hogan / Flickr (CC-by 2.0)

A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday gives more power to states to collect taxes on Internet sales. It could be a boon to Illinois, but not as much as in other states.

The Toys R Us store location in Springfield, Illinois.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As big box stores continue to close, some worry Illinois isn't ready for the changing economy.

Yuri Samoilov / Flickr

Time is running out on Governor Bruce Rauner to act on a bill that would change the way websites track a user's location and how they store that data. 

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' unemployment insurance program will see some changes next year, the result of something that's rare in Springfield these days as a budget stalemate persists: hard-fought negotiations giving way to a compromise.

capitol
Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  A plan to raise the minimum wage in Illinois has cleared its first legislative hurdle. But as it moves through the General Assembly, it continues to draw criticism from business groups.

The plan would gradually increase the state's minimum wage to $10.65 an hour. Illinois' current rate is $8.25, already one of the highest in the nation.

AARP

A new report says electricity deregulation has saved Illinois customers up to $37 billion over the past 16 years.  

The report being released Monday by four business groups says the average household has paid $3,600 less overall than if the average annual electricity rates had stayed the same.  

Deregulation kicked in in 1998, allowing Illinois utilities to compete for business on the open market rather than being regulated monopolies whose rates were set. The utilities before deregulation both supplied and delivered electricity to customers, who had no other choices.  

Amanda Vinicky

  There are more than 200,000 limited liability corporations operating in Illinois. The governor has a proposal he says will add more. But business groups are skeptical it will help.

To file as an LLC in Illinois, you have to pay the state at least $500.

During his state of the state address, Gov. Pat Quinn proposed lowering the fee to $39.

"This small but important step will encourage entrepreneurs to start their business and put more people to work right here in Illinois," Quinn, a Democrat, said.