Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Voters will soon have the power to consolidate or abolish local townships thanks to a local government consolidation measure championed by Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), which was signed into law today.

“Local government consolidation is long overdue,” Bush said. “Voters will soon be able to decide what type of government can best serve the needs of their communities.”

Illinois has more than 1,400 townships. Prior to this measure, only three Illinois counties had a framework to consolidate, absorb or eliminate local townships. Because of Bush’s past work on local government consolidation, Lake County is one of the three counties that allowed for consolidation.

The legislation allows all 102 Illinois counties to consolidate local townships with voter consent. Bush championed the same legislation during the 99th General Assembly as SB 388, but the measure died in the House.

“Consolidating local governments is good for Illinois. It saves taxpayer money and reduces government bureaucracy—two things Illinois desperately needs,” Bush said.

Senate Bill 3 was signed into law today. The bill takes effect on January 1, 2018.

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Category: Press Releases

Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD — Illinois is one step closer to reinstating an important incentive program for attracting and retaining businesses, thanks to a measure from Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).

House Bill 162 reinstates the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program, allowing the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to offer tax credits to businesses that invest in Illinois.

“We need every tool possible to attract and retain businesses in Illinois and ensure we can offer incentives that allow us to compete with neighboring states,” Bush said. “I represent an area that borders Wisconsin. It’s important for us to have the EDGE program in place in order to stay competitive.”

The bill requires the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to recapture the economic development funds if the recipient does not fulfill their end of the bargain. That money would then be disbursed to the local workforce investment area.

The measure extends the EDGE credit program through June 30, 2022.

Having passed both the House and Senate, House Bill 162 now goes to the governor for approval.


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Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD — Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s vote to override the governor’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1:

“Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1 was a short-sighted political move that would be devastating for Illinois schools. The governor intended to harm Chicago, but in reality, poor districts across the state would lose money if his amendatory veto were to take effect.

“Senate Bill 1 is the only plan that ensures no Illinois schools lose funding. Hundreds of superintendents, educators and advocacy groups have come out in support of the SB1 because it's a fair and equitable plan that would provide long-term stability and certainty to our schools.

“I am proud to vote to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1. It’s time to put politics aside and fix Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula once and for all.”


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Category: Press Releases

Crain's Chicago Business - August 11, 2017 | original article

It looks like Illinois is finally getting back its most important job-creating incentives tool.

More than three months after Edge program—Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credits—expired, caught up in the partisan warfare over the state budget, lawmakers on Aug. 13 are set to take final action to restore the program. And I'm told that everybody involved, including Gov. Bruce Rauner, is on board.

Scheduled for a vote in the Senate is a measure sponsored by Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Chicago, that would somewhat reduce the value of the payroll tax credit and focus the program more on helping bring new jobs to impoverished area, but still put the development tool back in the state's toolbox.

The bill passed the House on a 102-5 vote, but stalled in the Senate. That caused some embarrassment a couple of weeks ago when it became apparent Illinois couldn't even begin to compete for the big new Foxconn plant that's going to southeast Wisconsin, because it had no incentives it could offer.

Sponsor Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, who is handling the bill with GOP colleague Sen. Pam Althoff of Crystal Lake, tells me the weekend vote is on and all signals are go.

"It's a damned miracle," Bush said, verbally shaking her head at how long it took to get this far. "We really needed to do this in the regular legislative session," which ended June 30, "but with all the focus on the budget, all the (legislative) oxygen was used up."

Sources tell me Rauner, who'd wanted changes in the old policy, is now happy enough that he'll sign the bill.

In fact, Bush said the GOP governor got everything he wanted except a clause allowing recipients to sell or transfer Edge credits to someone else. "We certainly can work that out at a later time," she said.

Bush emphasized that she'll be running a "clean" bill, one that's identical to the version already approved by the House. So Senate action should be final.

"We need Edge credits in place," said Bush, whose district is not too far from where the Foxconn plant will be. "We need to do everything we can to be competitive."

Category: In The News

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