CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich took his plan to increase funding for the Chicago Transit Authority directly to commuters today, urging them to lobby their lawmakers to support his proposal to close the canned software tax loophole – a move that would generate $65 million in revenue for transit funding.
“The ‘doomsday scenario’ put forward by the CTA could set back the progress that’s been made in responding to the transportation needs of Chicago’s businesses and workers,” Blagojevich said. “We’ve put a credible, responsible plan on the table that will keep the trains and buses running and avoid a fare hike. Now it’s time for legislators to move forward and adopt our plan.”
The Governor appeared at the 95th Street CTA Station on the red line and urged morning commuters to contact their state legislators in support of his proposal to close the canned software tax loophole, a tax break that benefits a small number of large corporations in Illinois.
He was joined by several Chicago area elected officials, including: Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Illinois 1st District), State Rep. Calvin Giles (D- Chicago), Alderman Carrie Austin (34th Ward), Alderman Howard Brookins (21st Ward), Alderman Freddrenna Lyle (6th Ward), Alderman Theodore Thomas (15th Ward), Alderman Rey Colon (35th Ward), Alderman Manuel Flores (1st Ward), Alderman Billy Ocasio (26th Ward), Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward) and Alderman Eugene Schulter (47th Ward), along with 200 volunteers who fanned out to transit stops across Chicago to pass out flyers explaining the Governor’s funding plan.
“I support the Governor’s initiative. So far we have not come up with any other ideas to bail out the CTA, so that the services can be provided and not be interrupted. I support the Governor’s initiative wholeheartedly and I hope that we get a chance to vote on it in the House of Representatives,” said state Rep. Calvin Giles.
The canned software loophole is a tax break available only in Illinois – no other state with a sales tax exempts canned software. Illinois’ loophole allows a handful of big businesses to avoid paying sales taxes on software by purchasing it in bulk through a licensing agreement, even though every individual in Illinois and all 650,000 small businesses in Illinois are required to pay sales tax on the very same products.
As the legislative session enters its final month, the Governor is urging the General Assembly to adopt his proposal to close the canned software loophole and use that money to help the CTA and other mass transit.