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Archive → January 30th, 2017

Rep.Margo Mc Dermed: State of the State

Margo McDermed
State of the State

                Despite the current political climate, Governor Rauner gave an upbeat State of the State to the entire Illinois General Assembly last week.  In his third annual State of the State Address, he indicated that he is optimistic about the future of Illinois and used the opportunity to talk about Illinois’ accomplishments, as well as the work that still lies ahead.
                The Governor said he recognizes the state’s challenges, but “with great challenges comes great opportunity”. He is optimistic these challenges can be solved by working together to improve the future of Illinois. He discussed the administration’s accomplishments including ethics reform, record education funding, job creation and making government more efficient. The Governor also encouraged the General Assembly to pass legislation allowing voters to weigh-in on fair maps and term limits.

House Rules Adopted

              The new House Rules governing the 100th General Assembly were written by the office of Speaker Michael J. Madigan, and were adopted along partisan lines. Each Illinois House district contains more than 100,000 residents, but the new Rules of the House contain a wide variety of provisions intended to enhance the ability of Speaker Madigan to maintain complete control of the House.
              Here are some examples of how undemocratic the rules are:
·         Gives total control over legislation to the five-member House Rules Committee, “The Ultimate Gatekeeper”, comprised of three Democrats and two Republicans, with the Democrats being appointed by the Speaker on the basis of their complete fealty to him. The Rules Committee decides which legislation is allowed to be considered, and which bills are left to die without even a hearing.
·         Current House Rules provide for only One-Hour Advance, Public Notice Prior to House Action on legislation.
·         Current House Rules give the Speaker complete control of the daily agenda of the House Calendar.
              In contrast to Speaker Madigan’s Rules, House Republicans advocated for common-sense reforms to the House Rules that would open up the legislative process to be more truly inclusive, collaborative and democratic.  House Republicans jointly sponsored HR 47, an alternative Rules proposal meant to be bipartisan in its operation, but never received a vote.

AG Madigan Files Motion to Block Employee Pay

              At 7:30 PM on Thursday night, Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion in St. Clair County Circuit Court to stop state employee pay by the end of February. Despite lacking the appropriation authority due to the lack of a budget, the state has continued to pay employees anyway after a judicial ruling on the matter. If a judge rules that employee pay must stop, it would put undue harm on thousands of state workers and put tremendous pressure on the current bipartisan effort to get a budget done.

New Leadership Illinois

              If you know of a female college student interested in pursuing a career in public service,  they may be interested in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s NEW Leadership Illinois program. The program provides college leaders opportunities to network with and learn from many of Illinois’ most prominent female leaders. NEW Leadership Illinois is a yearly bi-partisan program that strives to educate and empower the next generation of female leaders.
              This expenses paid program includes leadership education, hands-on training in public policy, and networking opportunities with leaders from every level of government. The 2017 program will be held June 5-9 in Chicago. Students from all backgrounds and in all majors are encouraged to apply. Students should attend a college or university in Illinois or should be an Illinois resident, and must have junior or senior standing in June 2017.

Tax Season Almost Here

             Illinois free tax preparation for low-income residents for the 2016 tax filing season will be offered by tax assistance centers across Illinois in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). It is targeted towards families with incomes up to $55,000 and individuals with incomes up to $30,000.  The service offices will help Illinois residents fill out and sign their forms in advance of the tax filing deadline of April 18, 2017, but eligible Illinois residents are urged to come in as soon as possible.
             People whose incomes make them potentially eligible for this benefit can find the tax assistance centers that offer this free service.  They should visit this website and enter their zip code to find a center close to where they live.  This service is being targeted towards individuals and households that are potentially eligible for federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs).
             Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption renewal applications for Cook County have been mailed out. Under Illinois law, you must reapply annually for both these exemptions in order to continue to receive the deductions on your Second Installment Property Tax Bills. The application deadline is February 8th. For Will County, the deadline is July 1st. For more information visit the Will County website and the Cook County website.
Margo McDermed
Margo McDermed
http://www.repmcdermed.com/

Source: Will County News

Homer School District 33C Finance & Operations Committee Meeting January 24, 2017

Summary of the Homer School District 33C

Finance & Operations Committee Meeting

January 24, 2017

_____________________________________________________________________

            Barb Wilson, President      Angela Adolf, Vice President      Amy Blank, Secretary

    Deb Martin, Member    Ed Campins, Member    Elizabeth Hitzeman, Member    Russ Petrizzo, Member                                                                                       

 

 

At the January 24th Finance & Operations Committee meeting:

 

  • Christi Tyler, Interim Assistant Superintendent for Business, updated the Committee on a bus leasing option that would enable the district to avoid a large capital outlay; refresh its entire fleet every 5 years; and reduce maintenance costs. Administrators met with three vendors recently and arranged for Homer 33C drivers to test drive a bus from each company/manufacturer. District mechanics were included in the process and invited to ask questions of each vendor. The vendors have until February 1, 2017 to return pricing and trade-in amounts for 71-passenger buses and lift buses, including custom special education buses that would enable the District to remove all seats to accommodate wheelchairs.

 

  • Arlene Siefert, Director of Technology, reported the District received three bids from printer/copier companies to service every copier in the District. Administrators will recommend at the January 31, 2017 Board of Education meeting that the District award the maintenance agreement to Martin Whalen.

 

  • Tyler and Siefert reported that only one school district in our area — Lemont — currently charges a separate technology fee. Instead of implementing a technology fee here, they recommend the District implement a nominal increase annually/biannually so that parents aren’t hit with a large spike in fees in a single year. At the January 31, 2017 Board of Education meeting, administrators will recommend that the District raise its registration fees $5 for grades K-4; $10 for grades 5-7; and $15 for grade 8. They also will recommend the District raise its Little Learners preschool program rate from $250 to $275. A survey of preschool program rates showed Homer 33C was charging significantly less than other service providers in our area.

 

  • Tyler presented the Committee with a list of all district owned properties. They include:
    • Its six school sites (Butler, Goodings Grove, Hadley, Homer Junior High, Schilling and Young)
    • Its Transportation Center on Cedar Road
    • Two vacant sites
      • 12 acres on Parker Road
      • 6 acres at Bruce and Cedar roads

 

  • Instead of moving forward with a proposal to rent a former bank building on Bell Road for administrative offices, the District will conduct an audit at each school and facility (including the District Office and Transportation Center) to determine how each room is being used and what the repair/maintenance needs will be in the coming years. The goal is to make better use of existing space and to accommodate the steady increase of students. Moving forward, the District and its new Board (who will be seated after the April election) will need to focus on developing a long-range facility plan, reported Superintendent Kara Coglianese. Options that have loosely been tossed around so far are moving 5th graders back to the elementary schools, purchasing/leasing mobile classrooms or asking voters to fund a new school and/or classroom additions.

 

  • Tyler reviewed the District’s portable radio bid with the Committee and suggested the Board move forward with a plan to purchase radios for the school buses.

 

  • Tyler reported one of the District’s trucks, which is used for plowing and other tasks throughout the District, is in need of significant repairs. Instead of spending $6,000 to repair the 13-year-old truck with over 120,000 miles on it, administrators recommend the District purchase a new one for $36,000. The plow would be removed from the District’s old truck and installed on the new one. To pay for the truck, the District would reallocate funds that were budgeted for a repaving project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Next Regular School Board Meeting is January 31, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

Source: Will County News

News From State Representative Mark Batinick

News From

State Representative Mark Batinick

 

For Immediate Release                                                                      Contact: Debbie Kraulidis

January 30, 2017                                                                                                     (815) 254-0000

 

Batinick unveils outline for “1-2-3” state budget solution

 

PLAINFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) today announced his outline for a “1-2-3 State Budget Solution” that would match current revenue estimates, balance spending reforms with structural reforms and prioritize the payment of the existing backlog of state bills, which currently exceeds $10.7 Billion, according to the Office of Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

 

“First, let’s complete a budget through 2018 that is based on the revenue we have.  Second, let’s make a plan to pay our unpaid bills.  Third, let’s have a thorough discussion about reforms and any new revenue,” Rep. Batinick said.  Passage of a bipartisan budget solution is especially critical in the wake of the court motion filed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan last week seeking to halt state employee pay.

 

The first step in Rep. Batinick’s outline to achieve a responsible resolution to the ongoing state budget impasse centers on keeping the budget in line with the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) revenue estimate of approximately $33 Billion, differing from the $38-$40 Billion budget proposal being considered by the State Senate, which contains minimal or no spending reforms. Crafting a state budget at $33 Billion would meet the state’s commitments at a level consistent with the amount of revenue the state takes in. Pension reform would also have to be part of Step 1 (see attached outline).

 

The second step in Rep. Batinick’s outline makes note of the two options to pay the backlog of past-due state bills; in recognition that this backlog has led to erosion of Illinois’ human services network, raised the cost of doing business with the state and created widespread instability in every aspect of the Illinois budget. Those two options include selling a major state asset and/or imposing a one-time income tax surcharge designated only to pay off the past-due bill backlog.

 

Thirdly, Rep. Batinick acknowledges the need to discuss changes in our tax structure and specifies the reforms necessary to put Illinois on a path to prosperity; including school funding reform, property tax relief, workers compensation reform, unfunded mandate reform, government consolidation, and pension reform.
“The damaging instability wrought by the ongoing impasse coupled with the Attorney General’s action last week with regard to halting state employee pay require us to act quickly on passing a budget,” Rep. Batinick said. “The 1-2-3 Budget Plan is a set of parameters I believe can help advance serious bipartisan negotiations of how we can best come together, as quickly as possible, to pass a responsible budget for the families and taxpayers of Illinois.”

 

# # #

 

Joshua B. Wessell | Senior Communications Analyst

Illinois General Assembly | Office of the House Republican Leader

 

Address 959 Oak Street | North Aurora, IL 60542

Office (630) 345-3464 

Email jwessell@hrs.ilga.gov | Find us everywhere at ilhousegop.org

 

Source: Will County News

Rahm Chicago is a great place to live for the affluent in Streeterville and Lakeview

If you are doing well, he [Rahm] values you. Chicago is a great place to live for the affluent in Streeterville and Lakeview. But just a few blocks away, families live in constant fear of becoming another statistic. 797 homicides in 2016 alone. Most of the victims African American and Hispanic souls relegated to hopeless lives and violent deaths on the city’s South and West Sides.” Pat Hughes, co-founder Illinois Opportunity Project

Watch “Two Minute Warning” and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter using #UpstreamIdeas.

Source: Will County News

Senate soda tax takes aim at low-income Illinoisans

Illinois Policy Institute

Chicago could soon become home to the most expensive soda in the nation, if a tax hike proposal from the Illinois Senate becomes law.

In addition to a 32 percent income tax hike, Senate Bill 9, introduced by state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights, would add a statewide penny-per-ounce tax on bottled sugar-sweetened beverages, syrups or powders sold or offered for sale to a retailer for sale to a consumer. This cost would be felt across the state, but Cook County residents – whose board just passed a similar, countywide penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks – would be hit hardest, especially in Chicago.

Two penny-per-ounce taxes on sugary drinks would match Boulder, Colo., for the steepest such taxes in the nation. But, on top of that, Chicago residents also pay the highest sales taxes of any major city in the nation at 10.25 percent. Additionally, Chicago imposes a 3 percent tax on all non-alcoholic beverages. Taken together, soda prices in Chicago could nearly double.

For example, a 24-pack of Coke at a base price of about $8 would be $14.82 after taxes. A 12-pack at a base price of $4 would be $7.41 after taxes.

And Chicago’s poorest residents would feel the effects the most. According to Gallup, 45 percent of people with incomes less than $30,000 drink regular soda, while one-third of those with incomes from $30,000-$74,999 drink regular soda, and just one-fifth of those with incomes above $75,000 drink regular soda.

Much like the regressive soda and sales taxes politicians have imposed in Chicago and Cook County, Springfield politicians are placing the heaviest burden on poor and middle-income Illinoisans as a “solution” to fiscal woes. These are the groups hurt most by Illinois’ dismal post-recession income recovery – the worst in the Midwest – and shouldn’t be asked to bail out politicians’ decadeslong reckless spending and financial mismanagement.

In addition to the sugary drink tax and personal and corporate income tax hikes, SB 9 does little to nothing for structural reforms the state needs. The plan wouldn’t fix the state’s broken workers’ compensation system; includes a watered-down, two-year property tax freeze; and fails to modernize Illinois’ broken defined-benefit pension system.

Illinois needs real reforms, such as 401(k)-style retirement plans, comprehensive property tax reform and a complete overhaul of its workers’ compensation system. Overburdening struggling Illinoisans with more taxes is not an acceptable substitute.

TAGS: Chicago, John Cullerton, sales tax, senate, soda tax, sugar tax, taxes, Toi Hutchinson

Source: Will County News