Thirty state lawmakers, including Mitchell, Phillips, leaving office
The Illinois General Assembly will see 30 lawmakers not return, including Reps. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) and Reginald Phillips (R-Charleston) from east central Illinois.
23 members (20 percent) of the House of Representatives and seven members of the Senate will be leaving their seats, either resigning, not running for re-election or running for different government positions.
The Illinois Policy Institute credits the reaction from constituents to the tax hike passed by the General Assembly as a major reason for so many departures. Of those leaving, eight of the 11 House Republicans voted for the tax hike, with 11 of the 12 House Democrats vacating their seats voting for it as well. The other Democrat resigned prior to the vote.
The General Assembly passed a budget featuring a tax hike in July, overriding a veto from Gov. Bruce Rauner. The plan raised the personal income tax to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent, as well as increasing the corporate income tax to 7 percent from 5.25 percent.
Both Mitchell and Phillips voted for the tax hike. Neither are running for re-election.
Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin also pointed to social media as a factor with a “major impact” on lawmakers leaving.
According to a press release from the Illinois Policy Institute, close to 300,000 Illinoisans follow the group’s Facebook page, and an eight-day window this summer, including when the General Assembly passed the budget, Illinoisans sent 35,000 emails through the institute’s “contact your lawmaker” tool.