GOP criticizes Dems' proposed questions for fall ballots
SPRINGFIELD — Despite heavy criticism, Illinois Senate Democrats added two advisory ballot questions to the growing list of issues and offices that voters might face when they go to the polls in November.
One of the non-binding questions would ask voters if they support an additional 3 percent income tax on milionaires, with the proceeds going to public schools.
The second question, which although it passed the Senate faces one more vote in the House, would ask voters if they want health insurers to cover the cost of providing contraceptive coverage.
Republicans noted that has been the law in Illinois for 10 years, but Democratic Sen. Iris Martinez of Chicago said businesses want to get rid of the provision in the federal Affordable Care Act.
GOP senators charged that Democrats are using the issues to boost turnout from their voter base in November.
Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, told Democrats that the maneuver "is nothing less than the desperation that your side of the aisle has because people of the state might actually pay attention this year and fire some of you people for the despicable record you have for the fact that you've run a once-great state into the ground."
"This is a gimmick, a stunt, a game, and everybody down here knows it," he continued. "You're talking about something that has been settled law for 10 years. You just want to gin people up over issues that realy don't exist."
The Catholic Conference of Illinois also attacked the question about contraceptive coverage, saying that it "seeks to misinform and exploit, play so-called identity politics and further divide the people of Illinois."
"This effort should be recognized for what it is and rejected," said Robert Gilligan, the executive director of the Catholic lobbying group.
The November ballot will includeanother advisory referendum on raising the minimum wage, two constitutional amendments advanced by the Legislature, and may include two other amendments dealing with term limits and redrawing legislative maps.