The list of co-sponsors on a new law boosting a veteran-hiring tax credit and a property tax break for some veterans' spouses has an interesting twist.
State Sen. Martin Sandoval is listed as a co-sponsor on the bill, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed Monday. But Sandoval put his name on the bill after it already had passed both houses of the General Assembly -- unanimously.
Adding a last-second signature is one of those time-honored practices in Springfield. If you spot legislation that looks like a winner with the voters, paste on your name as a co-sponsor after the legislation already has cleared the Legislature. Then, in the next election campaign, you can take credit for co-sponsoring the bill.
Sandoval said Monday that wasn't the case this time. He said he signed on after the bill passed -- but before it went to Quinn -- to "send a message to the governor that this is important."
"I think it is always good to ensure that the governor sees that veterans have friends in the Legislature," Sandoval said.
Still, seasoned observers of the Legislature might harbor doubts. This one was of Quinn's few budget initiatives that made it intact through the legislative process. There never was much doubt that Quinn's John Hancock was going onto this one.
Because of his controversial handling of legislative scholarships and for other reasons, Sandoval no doubt is feeling somewhat beleaguered these days. (The Sun-Times disclosed last August that Sandoval gave scholarships to five students with different last names who listed their home address as a residence belonging to a paid Sandoval campaign worker.)
The bill -- called the Hiring Veterans Tax Credit -- raises the tax credit from 10 percent to 20 percent of annual wages and more than quadruples the annual cap from $1,200 to $5,000. It also allows counties or municipalities the option of reducing or eliminating property taxes for a surviving spouse of a fallen Illinois soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan just as some already do for the families of firefighters or police officers who die in the line of duty. It had 13 other sponsors in the Senate and 24 in the House.
Read a Sun-Times editorial about hiring veterans here.
Read the governor's press release.pdfabout the bill signing here.
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