“As an owner of a small business that operates in both Illinois and Iowa, I experience first hand the challenges small businesses face in Illinois compared to our neighbors,” said state Rep. Tony McCombie (IL-71). “Slashing the LLC filing fees is a significant first step to attracting and growing new small businesses to grow our economy. Illinois must continue to make pro-growth reforms when the legislature returns for Spring Session."


Today my office had the honor to take part in the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Rock Island National Cemetery where over 25,000 heroes are interned. Thank you to all veterans who fought and continue to fight for our freedom.


SAVANNA… This month, State Rep. Tony McCombie (IL-71) received an ‘A’ rating from the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) in their 2017 Legislative Scorecard.

"Manufacturers in Illinois face many challenges, which are compounded by the very legislators in Springfield who ought to be helping them create good-paying manufacturing jobs. That's why it is so refreshing to see new citizen legislators like Representative McCombie go to Springfield and immediately make an impact on behalf of the hard-working manufacturers in her district and throughout the state. As a small businesswoman herself, Rep McCombie clearly understands the importance of avoiding unnecessary, intrusive regulation of the employee/employer relationship. TMA applauds her for her leadership." --Steve Rauschenberger, President of the TMA

In 2017, only 23% of Illinois state representatives scored 75 or better, meaning a majority voted against bills that will encourage more manufacturing in Illinois.

"I will continue to be an advocate in the legislature for manufacturers and their employees, because the manufacturing industry promotes economic growth and stability for our families, our region and our state as a whole. Illinois has seen a lack of structural reforms and an increase in regulations that have slowed manufacturers from growing and in some cases pushing them to close their doors or take their business to a competing state," said Rep. McCombie. "I want to thank Steve Rausenberger and the TMA for their continued efforts advocating for manufacturers and their employees in Illinois."

The TMA represents close to 1,000 manufacturers and over 30,000 manufacturing employees. Their membership consists of Midwest manufacturers looking to improve operations, strengthen their workforce, and grow their businesses.
Joined the Northwest Illinois Criminal Justice Commission meeting in Sterling! We discussed training opportunities, current issues, and future legislation.

ROCK FALLS… State Rep. Tony McCombie (IL-71) and State Sen. Neil Anderson (IL-36) today announced that a $329,250 grant for the Whiteside County Community Health Clinic (WCCHC) will be released by the Illinois Capital Development Board.

“I am extremely proud of the great work the Whiteside County Health Department does for the underserved population in the county as well as the surrounding areas” said Rep. McCombie. “The WCCHC was forward thinking when they took on this project in 2014, and it is now providing 13,000 patients with affordable healthcare. The release of these funds will allow the WCCHC to move forward on their next capital initiative.” 

“Community healthcare grants like this one aim to provide increased access to healthcare in underserved areas. Residents in Whiteside County will benefit greatly from the release of these funds,” said Governor Bruce Rauner.

“Access to quality healthcare is vital in every community, but in rural areas where there are less options, it is paramount,” Sen. Anderson said. “The releasing of funds for the Whiteside County Health Department will go a long way in helping the citizens of this area.”

A grant for construction of the 5,000 square foot, $1,022,000 building was issued in 2014. Construction started in 2015, and the building started serving patients in 2016. However, due to Illinois’ budget situation, the final payment has not yet been received.

The WCCHC provides primary and preventative medical, dental behavioral healthcare access to the residents of Whiteside County and the surrounding areas. In 2016, the WCCHC provides direct services to for medical, dental and behavioral health the clinic served almost 13,000 patients at over 50,000 visits.

The WCCHC was established in 2006 with a goal of providing access to medical, dental and behavioral health care in the community. The clinic is partially federally funded, and provides services on a sliding fee and no patient is denied. Executive Director Beth Fiorini recently received an award from the Illinois Public Health Association because of her efforts to make the clinic successful.


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Replaces the 84-year-old US Route 52 Bridge connecting Savanna, IL with Sabula, IA

SAVANNA…Today Rep. McCombie spoke at the ribbon cutting of the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge which officially opened for traffic this afternoon.

“This project is much more than just a bridge to most of us. The Savanna/Sabula Bridge is a reminder of our history and our past.  For me, the bridge is a reminder of my childhood when I would fight with my brother to give money at the toll booth, crossing it with my nieces and nephews, and of course listening to the amazement of visitors when the snow plows come out in the summer for the shadflies,” said Rep. McCombie. “Illinois and Iowa chose to believe in our future and our families and prove their commitment to us by developing a new gateway of opportunities.  Today we have come together to celebrate new beginnings.  The opening of the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge will bring growth to our area through business development and tourism.”

The Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge replaced the outdated and functionally obsolete 20 foot wide half mile long Savanna-Sabula Bridge which opened over 85 years ago. The old bridge will be deconstructed in the coming months.

Rep. McCombie sponsored HJR 58 to name the bridge the “Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge,” in after Savanna native Dale Gardner after his classmates from Savanna High School led the effort to honor him. Dale Gardner was the valedictorian of Savanna Community High School class of 1966. In 1978, NASA selected Captain Gardner to be an astronaut where he logged 337 hours in space, and orbited the earth 225 times. He passed away on February 19, 2014, at the age of 65.


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Rep. McCombie to Host Traveling Office Hours at Colona Fire Dept

Savanna…State Representative Tony McCombie (IL-71st) will be hosting traveling office hours at the Colona Fire Department on Monday, November 27.

Rep. McCombie’s traveling office hours in Colona will be held at the Colona Fire Department on Monday, November 27, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm located at 401 1st St, Colona, IL.

If you live in the area and have concerns, suggestions or problems related to state government, residents are encouraged to stop by and talk with Representative McCombie or a member of her staff.

McCombie will continue to hold traveling office hours in communities across District 71 to hear the needs of constituents. Constituents may schedule an appointment by calling (815) 632-7384, but appointments are not required.


SB 403 provides credit of up to $750 for eligible taxpayers

CHICAGO (Nov. 16, 2017) — Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law today a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners in 18 Illinois counties where flood damages were sustained in July.

The bill, signed at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago this morning, creates a natural disaster credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes.

Included counties are Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Jackson, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside — all of which were declared state disaster areas by the governor last summer.

“July’s severe storms pushed rivers and lakes over their banks across a wide swath of Illinois,” Rauner said. “Many home and business owners are still working to restore their properties after the inundation of water, debris and mud they suffered through, in some cases for weeks. In northeastern Illinois counties, the flooding was unprecedented. This tax credit offers a measure of much-needed relief.”

State Rep. Barbara Wheeler said the tax credit will be welcome news.

“Unfortunately for many families impacted by this type of disaster, once the initial shock wears off, the reality of financial hardship caused by the devastation can be just as traumatic as the event itself,” said Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake. “In the past, state government has not always responded quickly enough to provide the relief needed for this financial stress. 

However, this time the governor and legislature acted quickly, and I know many of the families still trying to recover are grateful.”

State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, agreed.

“I appreciate the governor taking quick action to sign the Flood Victims Tax Credit into law,” McCombie said. “Victims of the floods this year did not receive federal assistance, so this incentive is a small measure we can take to help and be good neighbors.”

“This summer’s flooding was devastating to many northern Illinois residents,” said state Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods. “This tax credit is one more tool in the toolbox.”

“While some residents have recovered, many are still working to rebuild,” said state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake. “This tax credit will help ease the financial burden and help local residents get back on their feet.”

Qualified properties include a taxpayer’s principle residence or land owned by a small business, but not a rental or leasing business. The allowable income tax credit will be the lesser of $750 or the deduction allowed under the Internal Revenue Code for each taxpayer who owns qualified property in a county declared a state disaster area.

The bill provides that township assessors shall issue eligibility certificates for appropriately requesting property owners, and that assessors shall certify to the Illinois Department of Revenue listings of flood-damaged properties.

The fiscal impact to the state is estimated at $4.6 million, based on damages previously reported to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

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Rep. McCombie was in Dixon for the latest stop in the opioid task force's tour of communities. The tour started in October to talk about the successes and challenges with local programs geared toward prevention and recovery. The goal is to reduce opioid fatalities by one-third in the next 3 years.










SAVANNA… Legislation to provide an income tax credit to flood victims received the approval of the Illinois House of Representatives and State Senate this week and now heads to the Governor's desk for final consideration, according to State Representative McCombie (IL-71), co-sponsor of the bill.

This summer, several counties across the State of Illinois were declared disaster areas after being devastated by flooding. Senate Bill 403 creates the Flood Victims Tax Credit. It will provide residents and businesses who were victims of these floods an income tax credit of $750 to assist them in their rebuilding effort.

"SB 403 will touch all four counties in my district. This legislation came about because Illinois did not hit the threshold to be eligible for federal assistance. With a property and casualty background, I know that people impacted by the floods are not always made whole by insurance once depreciation, deductibles, and other factors are taken into account," said Rep. McCombie. "This provides just a little bit of relief to families that have been devastated."

In total, SB 403 impacts 18 counties, including residents in Carroll, Henry, Rock Island and Whiteside counties represented by Rep. McCombie. Nearby Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, and Stephenson counties are also eligible for the tax relief.

Federal assistance may not become available for victims of these disasters.

Click Here for video of Rep. McCombie's speaking in support of SB 403 on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives. 
House Bill 3649 Passed Both the House and Senate with Broad Bi-Partisan Support

SPRINGFIELD… Today, State Representative Tony McCombie’s (IL-71st) chief co-sponsored legislation HB3649, also known as the Debt Transparency Act, became law after the House of Representatives and Senate voted to override the governor’s veto.

The Debt Transparency Act makes common sense reforms by requiring all state agencies to disclose the unpaid bills they are currently holding but have not yet sent to the Office of Comptroller at the end every month. This is a change from current law which require state agencies to report unpaid bills only once per year.

“I am really proud to be a part of passing the Debt Transparency Act into law; it was amazing to me that this was not already our standard practice in Illinois. While Mayor of Savanna, anytime I needed information on bills, the comptroller had the information readily available,” said Rep. McCombie. “This is a non-political, good government, and common sense piece of legislation.”

In addition, the new law requires agencies to estimate the amount of late payment interest penalties incurred on these bills. The state’s Prompt Payment Act means a 1 percent per month penalty applies to unpaid bills even though they are currently unknown to the Comptroller. As of today, the Office of the Comptroller is reporting a current bill backlog of $16.7 billion. 

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House Bill 4147 gives DCFS workers the same protections as police and firemen  

Springfield…Today, State Representative Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) filed House Bill 4147 to make attacking a DCFS workers in performance of their duties an aggravated battery and a Class 1 felony.   
House Bill 4147, filed this week, would make battering a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in the performance of his/her official duties or in response to their official duties an aggravated battery and a Class 1 felony.  Aggravated battery subject perpetrators to more severe penalties when facing prosecution and sentencing.
“My deepest sympathies and get well-wishes go out to the victim of this horrible attack, her family and everyone in her DCFS family.  Everyday DCFS workers put themselves at risk to protect the most vulnerable children in our communities,” said Rep. Stewart. “This legislation will give DCFS workers the same protections as policemen, firemen, and peace officers who also put themselves in harm’s way.”    
This legislation is in response to the September 29th tragedy where a 59-year-old DCFS worker in Milledgeville was checking on a child when she was viciously assaulted by the child’s father.
State Representatives Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) and Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), and John Cabello (R-Rockford) who will be chief co-sponsoring HB 4147, expressed their support of this legislation.
“I continue to pray for the victim of this senseless act of violence. It’s unfortunate an act of violence was inflicted on anyone in order for legislation to be proposed, however, this bill will give DCFS workers along with other public servants the additional legal protections they deserve,” said Rep. McCombie.
“It’s unfortunate that this type of measure is needed, but the safety of these state employees charged with protecting child welfare is paramount.  Their work in protecting children and stepping into dangerous situations warrant additional penalty for those who cause them harm in the performance of their duties,” said Rep. Demmer.
Current law makes it an aggravated battery and a Class 1 felony offense when the suspect causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to peace officers, community policing volunteers, firemen, private security officers, correctional institution employees, or certain Department of Human Services employees.

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Weather-related decision permits trucks hauling ag commodities to exceed gross vehicle weight limits, speed crop transportation

YORKVILLE (Nov. 5, 2017) — Gov. Bruce Rauner today declared a statewide harvest emergency to assist farmers and grain handlers who are grappling with the fallout of rain-related delays.



“Illinois is home to 72,000 farms on 26.7 million acres. We are among the top three corn producers in the nation,” Rauner said while visiting Stewart Farms in Yorkville Sunday afternoon. “Moving corn and other crops in a timely and efficient manner affects the bottom line of hard-working farmers. This declaration is an appropriate response to an urgent need.”

Under a new law Rauner signed Aug. 11, the declaration permits drivers of trucks carrying agricultural commodities over state highways to obtain a free permit to exceed gross vehicle weight limits by 10 percent. Further, local authorities may waive the permit requirement at their discretion. The emergency declaration is in effect for 45 days beginning today, Nov. 5.
The Illinois Department of Transportation already is mobilizing the permitting process and notifying law enforcement agencies throughout the state. More information is available at https://truckpermits.dot.illinois.gov/.

“I would like to thank the governor for making this declaration today,” said Richard Guebert Jr., president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. “This harvest season emergency declaration will improve the transportation of our crops.”

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois corn harvest at the end of October was 17 percentage points behind the prior year and 11 percentage points behind the five-year average. The corn harvests in the Northwest, Northeast and East regions are especially hard hit. Harvesters of a variety of crops made up ground toward the end of October, but early delays still are causing backups in the transportation chain.

Jeff Adkisson, executive vice president of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, also praised the governor’s action, noting that a bumper crop combined with the harvest delays to compound the situation.

“In years when harvest is better than anticipated, crops like corn and soybeans may need to be stored in piles outside of the traditional concrete or steel bins or tanks,” he said. “This declaration will allow grain elevators to transport commodities out of their facilities quicker, thus making room for grain stored on the ground to be moved to more suitable storage structures.”

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe said the action will encourage the farming community.

“Illinois farmers work tirelessly year-round, even more so around harvest,” he said. “The Department of Agriculture would like to thank Gov. Rauner for making this declaration and for his support of Illinois farmers.”

And state legislators also welcomed the harvest emergency declaration.

State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, co-sponsored HB 2580, which amended the state vehicle code to allow for exceeding trucks’ gross weight limits when a governor declares a harvest emergency.

“Mother Nature has presented Illinois farmers with a rainy spring and fall, making this year’s harvest challenging,” she said. “The State of Illinois was proactive when we foresaw an emergency this year.”

“Farmers form the backbone of our state’s economy,” said state Sen. Neil Anderson, a Republican from Andalusia who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. “Declaring a harvest emergency will reduce red tape and allow those farmers who are still in the field to focus on getting their crops in before winter really takes hold.

“The sooner farmers can get their commodities to market, the more stable the market will be for the consumer.”

State Rep. Dan Swanson, R-Alpha, a member of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee, said the rainy planting season caused corn and beans to mature later this fall.

“As a result, many farmers are behind in getting their crops harvested,” he said. “With this declaration of a harvest emergency, we will allow farmers the ability to get more grain to the storage sites quicker.”
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In 2022, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will celebrate its 100th Anniversary. In anticipation of the
anniversary, the ISP is hosting a logo design contest open to active ISP employees, retirees, and community members.

The 100th anniversary logo will be used in making commemorative stars, patches, car decals, letterhead, challenge coins, yearbook, apparel, web design, advertising, and collectible memorabilia.

For more information follow the link: http://isphf.org/logo-contest

Rep. McCombie attended a press conference today to highlight the importance of investing in American jobs at Wahl’s global headquarters and manufacturing plant in Sterling. The event highlighted efforts by Wahl and Walmart to preserve and create American jobs and create value in the communities they serve. After the press conference, McCombie and Sen. Anderson toured the facility. Other speakers executives from Wahl and Walmart, Wahl employees and community partners.

Walmart recently announced its pledge to purchase $250 billion in products that support the creation of American jobs. The company will accomplish this goal by 2023 by working with suppliers, such as Wahl Clipper Corporation, to increase the amount of U.S. manufactured goods it purchases to help boost job opportunities in the domestic manufacturing sector. Wahl has been manufacturing products in Illinois for one hundred years and employs over 1,000 persons in Sterling. We hope you can join us to learn first-hand of our work in Sterling and its benefits to Illinois and the U.S. economy











COLONA POLICE DEPARTMENT 
215 1ST STREET  COLONA, IL 61241

CLINTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
537 BALLPARK DRIVE, CLINTON, IA  52732 

MILAN POLICE DEPARTMENT
405 E. 1ST STREET, MILAN, IL  61264

ROCK ISLAND COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE             
1317 3RD AVENUE, ROCK ISLAND, IL 61201      

SABULA POLICE DEPARTMENT  
411 BROAD ST, SABULA, IA 52070

SILVIS POLICE DEPARTMENT
600 ILLINI DR, SILVIS, IL  61282

STERLING POLICE DEPARTMENT
212 3RD AVENUE, STERLING, IL 61081



Cordova… Last week, Representative Tony McCombie (Savanna) hosted an advisory committee on
local economic development with the mayors and economic development agencies of the district.

Rep. McCombie provided a quick legislative update regarding the unbalanced budget and growing unpaid bills passed over the summer, expanding Enterprise Zones, and tax credits incentive programs such as EDGE, River’s EDGE that were signed into law.

Major topics of discussion included budget cuts to PPRT (Personal Property Replacement Tax), MFT (Motor Fuel Tax) cuts, and county sales tax cuts. Local programs like the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) and the cost of continually having to do more with less were also addressed.  

“It is important to get feedback from community and economic development leaders in order to more effectively represent the constituents.  We had over 30 participants at the meeting and it was my goal to facilitate a place for them to network with each other and learn at least one thing that may help them locally,” said Rep. McCombie. “It is no secret that Illinois is facing some tough challenges, but together we do not have to face and overcome them alone. To promote regionalism, communities and organizations in Northwest Illinois should communicate and collaborate to better serve our residents and grow our local and regional economies.” 

In attendance was State Senator Neil Anderson (Rock Island), State Representative Dan Swanson (Alpha), nine mayors, including Rock Falls Mayor Bill Wescott the President of the Northwest Illinois Mayors Association, five city/county administrators, five local chambers, and representatives from ten other economic development agencies and tourism bureaus in the 71st District.

Residents of the 71st District can learn more about Rep. McCombie by visiting her website at www.repmccombie.com or calling her legislative office at (815) 632-7384.


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SAVANNA…Last week, State Representative Tony McCombie (IL-71st) signed on to become a chief co-sponsor of HB 3649 also known as the Debt Transparency Act.

The Debt Transparency Act would require all state agencies to disclose monthly the unpaid bills they are holding but have not yet sent to the Office of Comptroller. The current requirement is that state agencies must do this on an annual basis. The Debt Transparency Act puts an end to this inefficient and opaque process to truly determine the state’s financial debt and outlook.  

“I am proud to be a chief co-sponsor of this common sense solution. No household, business or local government could operate without knowing what bills they owe, and our state should not either” said McCombie. “Taxpayers across Illinois – who just saw a record 32% permanent income tax increase – deserve to know where their money is being spent and what it is being spent on.  I find it short sighted and irresponsible that this has not been the process all along.”

In addition, agencies must estimate the amount of late payment interest penalties incurred on these bills. The state’s Prompt Payment Act means a 1 percent per month penalty applies to unpaid bills even though they are currently unknown to the Comptroller. According to the Office of the Comptroller Illinois has $15.8 billion in unpaid bills and $800 million in interest has accrued on those outstanding bills.  

The Debt Transparency Act originally passed the Illinois House on a vote of 70-40 with the support of Rep. McCombie. The bill also passed the Senate on a vote of 37-16, but was vetoed over the summer.  HB 3649 will need 71 votes in the House and 36 in the Senate to overcome the veto to become law.


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What a day in Fulton! 
I like to share where I visit so you can see and hear about the district with me! We are truly blessed to live in the best part of the state!
We started our day...

  • Coffee from The Steam Anchor
  • Visited and toured Company One
  • Visited and toured JT Cullen Company
  • Lunch at Krumpets with Brandi from the Fulton Chamber and Barb Mask
  • Popped in at The Fulton Meat Market to meet the new owner, Greg Anderson
  • Visited and toured Timken Drives
  • Visited and hiked through Wierenga’s Heritage Canyon
Today, we learned so much history and know from our area manufacturers that they are hiring and want to grow in Illinois!
Please be sure to visit their websites and join a family owned business team that cares about developing relationships and American Made products!





My Office had over 100 submissions to our photo contest. It was a very difficult decision to come to winner! Congratulations to Beth from Fulton for taking the winning photo!

First Place: Submitted by Beth of Fulton

Runner Up: Submitted by Beth of Fulton 
Runner Up: Submitted by Jay of Albany


Runner Up: Submitted by Juliene of Savanna


Runner Up: Submitted by Steven of Morrison

Runner Up: Submitted by Bill of Rock Falls

Dixon… State Representatives Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), and Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) urged prayers and community awareness following a brutal attack on a DCFS Child Protective Investigator at a child welfare check on Friday, September 29th in Carroll County.

The three legislators offered the following statement today:

“This tragic attack highlights the dangers faced by our child welfare officers every day and the profound need to continue to educate communities on eliminating violence, especially domestic violence.  Along with our fellow legislators, we offer our prayers to the family of the DCFS Investigator, as well as to her co-workers and fellow employees who are saving lives in Illinois’ child welfare system every day.  This is terribly frightening and traumatizing for all of our hardworking Child Protective Investigators, but this incident shows how important their work is in protecting children from violence and harm.”

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REP. MCCOMBIE END OF SUMMER LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

I wanted to send you a quick update on all that has happened in Springfield and the district this summer. It has been a very busy time, but there are several important pieces of legislation that will impact everyone. I hope that you find this helpful.

I value the feedback and communication from all my constituents. If you have concerns relating to state government, please contact my office by email at mccombie@ilhousegop.org or by phone at (815) 632-7384.

Happy First Day of Fall!

Thank you for allowing me to represent you,

Rep. Tony McCombie

If you would like to sign up for email updates click here!

BUDGET – EDUCATION FUNDING

Education funding reform passes.  The new school funding formula moves towards an “evidence-based” model based on practices followed in many other states.  Illinois’ 852 school districts will be given positive incentives to work hard to improve their students’ performances. The new formula is contained in SB 1947, as amended in the House. The House vote on SB 1947 on Monday, August 28, was 73-34-3.  The House’s three-fifths majority carried the bill over to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate 38-13-4 concurrence vote sent the education funding reform package to Gov. Rauner for his signature and it was signed into law.

Schools receive their first payments. On September 7, Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office began transmitting $805 million in General State Aid to schools around the state. These are the funds that were supposed to go out on August 10th and 20th, but were delayed because the majority in the legislature did not send an compromise bill school funding bill to governor in a timely manner. We have confirmed that every district has received their General State Aid Payments, but are still waiting for their 4th quarter categorical payments.

HOUSING – HOME VALUES

Realtors see July “solid gains” in Illinois housing values and prices.  The median price of a home sold in Illinois rose 5.8% from July 2016.  The data was published in the monthly report submitted by Illinois Realtors to their members and to the general public.  The statewide median price of an Illinois home sold in July 2017 was $210,000, up from $198,500 in July 2016.  The numbers published as this median do not, of course, fully reflect Illinois housing values and prices in geographic regions of the State that are seen as relatively desirable or less so.

RECENT HURRICANES – ILLINOIS OFFERS SUPPORT

Illinoisans rally to support Gulf Coast.  Governor Rauner has mobilized the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to coordinate Illinois’ disaster-response infrastructure with the responses being organized by the states of Louisiana and Texas.  The Illinois Red Cross has marshaled its resources to rush support to the Gulf Coast, which has suffered widespread deaths and devastation from Hurricane Harvey and its catastrophic tropical-storm rainfall.  The nature of the damage makes infrastructure maintenance and repair especially urgent.  ComEd has deployed electrical repair teams to the Houston area.  Many other businesses and nonprofit organizations are also stepping in to help.

In the Quad Cities Valley Construction has organized a supply drive, and sent two semis down to the areas impacted by Harvey. Our office, partnered with Rep Swanson (R-Woodhull) and Rep. Halpin (D-Rock Island) by collecting supplies for the drive. For more information please click here.

For more information on how you can help hurricane disaster survivors, please click here.

JOBS

Jobless rate drops in all Illinois metro areas.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), which has already reported the July 2017 unemployment rate for all of Illinois (4.9%), has supplemented this report with a table showing year-over-year unemployment rates in twelve key Illinois metropolitan areas including the Quad Cities.  All 12 of these metropolitan areas had a lower jobless rate in July 2017 than had been posted twelve months earlier, with an especially significant drop in Chicago (6.0% to 4.8%, down 1.2%).  As in previous metro reports, the jobless picture was slightly better in Illinois’ largest cities and suburban areas than statewide, indicating a continuing challenge in some Downstate rural counties.

NEW TAX CREDITS FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Education funding bill allow voters to initiate a school district property tax reduction referendum.  As part of the overall school funding formula rewrite (SB 1947), the General Assembly this week enacted language that will allow many local Illinois residents to place a school tax levy reduction of up to 10% on their local ballots.  The measure gives many property taxpayers a recourse they have not had before 2017. The burden placed on these residents to get the question on the ballot will be significant: ten percent of the registered voters of a school district will have to sign a petition to get the measure on the ballot in that district.

New scholarship tax credit.  SB 1947 contains a new $100 million State of Illinois program intended to benefit Illinois elementary and secondary private-school scholarship funds.  In order to be eligible for money from the private-sector gifts that will fund the program, these funds will have to operate scholarships that will provide tuition assistance to low and middle-income families.  An income eligibility ceiling is placed on the household incomes of families eligible for the scholarships. Language is included in the bill to encourage that a wide variety of school students benefit from the program, and to require that it be implemented in a way that will enable its benefits to be geographically distributed across the state.

TRANSPORTATION – AMTRAK

Quad Cities to Chicago passenger rail delayed. Work is winding down on a new multi-modal station and hotel in downtown Moline which is supposed to coincide with the long-awaited return of passenger rail service between the Quad Cities and Chicago via Amtrak. But while the building is almost done, no one seems to know when the trains might start rolling. Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri asked for a projected date for when passengers will be riding on the rail, but couldn’t get a date. For more information please click here.

New St. Louis-Chicago Amtrak engines will cut travel time by an hour.  The improved diesel-powered locomotives will be capable of running at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour in open areas.  The enhanced performances generated by these 4,400-horsepower units could reduce “Lincoln Service” travel time between the two Midwestern cities by more than 1 hour, from 5 hours and 40 minutes to 4 hours and 30 minutes.   

AGRICULTURE

Gov. Rauner signs series of agriculture bills during State Fair’s Ag Day.  Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a series of agriculture bills, including House Bill 470, which designates corn as the official state grain of Illinois and is supported by the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Agriculture Education Shortage Task Force created by Senate Bill 1991, which passed unanimously out of the General Assembly will examine the status of agriculture education in the state. The task force also will make recommendations for how to expand recruitment and retention of agriculture educators. The task force will disband once the final report is completed.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO LOOK VERY DIFFERENT AFTER MIDTERMS

The General Assembly is going to look very different after next year’s election. To date 22 of the 118 of current officeholders from both sides of the isle have announced their intentions to retire or run for different offices in 2018.  

BUDGET – BORROWING PLAN

Governor Rauner announces borrowing plan to pay down bill backlog.  After conducting a thorough review of the out-of-balance fiscal year 2018 budget passed by the General Assembly in July, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced that he intends to exercise borrowing authority to issue $6 billion in bonds to pay down a portion of the state’s bill backlog. In order borrow the money Governor Rauner warned that he'll try to trim state spending in order to pay for the new debt costs, because the budget passed in July used several gimmicks to balance and kicked the can down the road when it came to making tough decisions. Illinois’ debt will be refinanced at a much lower interest rate and will provide payment for services rendered to thousands of people and organizations across the state. 

For more information please click here.

Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) reports on July 2017 revenues.  Working with the Illinois Department of Revenue, the bipartisan fiscal arm of the Illinois General Assembly saw an additional $137 million in gross personal income tax receipts flow into State coffers as a consequence of the major tax increase enacted in early July.  Increases in corporate income tax receipts and in sales tax receipts led to an overall increase of $233 million in total general funds revenues from state and federal sources in July 2017 as opposed to July 2016.

HEALTH CARE UPDATE

Participants in Affordable Care Act may see another year of steep price increases.  Health insurers are filing their annual rate increase requests with the Illinois Department of Insurance.  Insurance firms that offer plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) may be asking for rate increases of as much as 43%.  Firms that include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, active in the Chicago area, and HealthAlliance, active in Downstate Illinois, state that increased medical and prescription drug costs make the rate increases essential if they are to offer ACA-compliant health care plans in Illinois in calendar year 2018. 

MCCOMBIE BILL INCREASING EFFICIENCY WITHIN THE IL DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SIGNED INTO LAW

HB 2028 sponsored by Representative Tony McCombie (IL-71) was signed into law to increase efficiency at the Department of Natural Resources.

“This law increases efficiency at the DNR by streamlining the licensing processes and reducing the confusion of our commercial licenses and permit dates for the public. The legislature must continue to find common sense solutions to increase efficiency for taxpayers,” said Rep. McCombie. “Thank you to the Department of Natural Resources for bringing the issue forward, and thank you to Senator Dale Fowler for sponsoring the legislation in the Senate.”

Specifically, the legislation amended Fish and Aquatic Wildlife Code by changing the expiration date for thirteen different licenses from January 31st to March 31st to correspond with the expiration dates of hunting and fishing licenses. The bill is an initiative originally brought forward by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Tony McCombie

http://www.ilhousegop.org/