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Sen. Win Stoller speaks at Princeton Rotary

Republican senator shares freshman experiences

State Sen. Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) was particularly proud of a piece of legislation passed in his freshman term in the General Assembly.

His SALT bill (State and Local Taxes), which was passed in August reduced tax rates for small businesses, something Stoller especially touted as a 20-plus year small business owner.

The bill allows S-corporations and partnerships to avoid the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction, known as the S.A.L.T. deduction, providing federal tax relief to more than 400,000 Illinois businesses, at no cost to the state.

Speaking with the Princeton Noon Rotary on Tuesday, Stoller said coming into office he was aware of and frustrated by the extreme polarization in politics, calling it poisonous thinking.

“I reject the notion that we’re supposed to hate each other,” Stoller said to the assembled crowd.

Taking a lesson from a book, Stoller said he’s learned people are “hard to hate close up” and that it’s important to lean in and learn to build relationships.

“Building a relationship makes it that much harder to hate someone,” he said.

Coming into the Senate in a super minority, Stoller said he had to determine what kind of legislation he could pass from that position, and the S.A.L.T. deduction was a natural fit for the former business owner with degrees in accountancy and business administration.

Stoller said it was that willingness to work across the aisle that moved his bill forward — his first co-sponsor for the bill was a Democrat.

Stoller eventually got on board 14 Democrat and 17 Republican co-sponsors for the legislation.

Stoller even met with Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker about it.

“The governor said to me he’s never seen this legislation this consequential by a freshman senator,” Stoller said.

On other bills, however, Stoller said he’s had to make the tough choice to say no, even when the intention of the legislation is good.

He recounted a proposed bill that would given broadband internet credit vouchers to low-income residents of Illinois, which he admits is sorely needed, but he declined support when the cost of the bill ran into the billions, with no funding source suggested once American Cares Act money ceased to be available for funding.

“The government needs more people who will ask questions,” Stoller said. “We need people to behave in a fiscally responsible way.”

Stoller, who is based in Germantown Hills, represents central Illinois counties including Mercer, Lee, Bureau, Henry, Knox, Stark, Peoria, Woodford and Marshall. He succeeded Sen. Chuck Weaver.