The sooner we can do this, the sooner the people of this community can get back to doing what needs to be done, and that’s working on economic development in their community for their families and for their citizens.
Earlier in the week, an October 24 public hearing was also held about Governor Quinn’s proposed closure of Jacksonville Development Center (JDC). About 1,000 people were in attendance at the JDC hearing.
C.O.G.F.A. RULES IN FAVOR OF FOUR STATE FACILITIES
A day after the hearing in Lincoln, COGFA issued a favorable opinion for four state facilities the Quinn Administration is also seeking to close.
On October 27, the majority of COGFA members voted in favor of Chester Mental Health Center, Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro, Jack Mabley Developmental Center in Dixon and Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford.
It is important to remember that while the COGFA vote is favorable for the facilities, the Governor’s Administration will ultimately make the final decision about closing the facilities.
LAWMAKERS OVERRIDE GOVERNOR’S SMART-GRID VETO
On October 26, lawmakers sought updates to the state’s electric grid, overriding a gubernatorial veto of the initial smart-grid legislation and passing new legislation that addressed several concerns with the previous utility upgrade measure.
A majority of Senate and House lawmakers voted in favor of a “trailer” bill that advanced changes to the initial legislation that was vetoed by Governor Quinn this fall. The follow-up legislation, House Bill 3036, sought to address concerns with that bill, requiring utilities ComEd and Ameren to pay $60 million into low-income assistance funds to help qualified families, senior citizens and veterans. The bill also added $200 million for additional storm-related relief, which was sought in response to the spring and summer storms that recently left many northern Illinois residents without power.
The Senate also acted on Governor Quinn’s veto of SB 1652, the first smart-grid measure lawmakers passed last spring. Supporters argued in favor of the changes, which will allow the state to make much-needed updates to its antiquated electric grid. Though opponents countered that the bill did not do enough to protect consumers, the Governor’s veto was ultimately overridden.
DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE ON C.M.E. PACKAGE
Discussions continue on tax law changes sought by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, with my Republican colleagues and I expressing a desire to assist the major employer, but critical of the piecemeal approach that Governor Quinn has taken in dealing with businesses impacted by the 67% tax hike passed last January.
Governor Quinn and his fellow Democrats would not have to keep offering incentives to keep Illinois businesses from fleeing the state, if Democrats had not created a hostile environment for employers under Governor Quinn and ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich.
We are hoping that a final package can be negotiated that not only keeps major employers in the state, but also improves the business climate for small businesses, which create the majority of jobs.
HOUSE APPROVES PENSION REFORMS
Also during the week, the House of Representatives approved legislation aimed at reforming certain pension abuses by high-ranking union officials.
The measure is meant to address recent reports that some union leaders, mostly in Chicago, have received lucrative public pension payments not for their public employment, but rather for the work they did as union officials.
Kudos to the new state program launch earlier this month to provide Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs with access to the capital they need to start new companies and expand existing business.
Administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Advantage Illinois program will leverage $78 million in federal funding that will allow businesses to bring innovative ideas and new products to market and accelerate job creation and economic growth in Illinois.
Interested businesses may submit their applications online to DCEO at http://www.ildceo.net/AdvantageIllinois. Funding for Advantage Illinois is being provided by the U.S. Treasury through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).