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

Bush 2017 Round Lake Shred Day flyer

Category: District Events

Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the statement below after Gov. Rauner issued an amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, a proposal that would give Illinois students a fair, evidence-based funding formula for the first time in two decades. 

"I'm exhausted with the governors constant misinformation and revisionist history regarding events in Springfield. For months, Republicans and Democrats have attempted to work with the governor’s office to come to a compromise for a fair education funding formula. Republicans and Democrats have been working on this particular funding formula for 5 years. Despite his own education secretary saying she agreed with 90% of Senate Bill 1, he still decided he couldn’t support the proposal.

"It's apparent he never intended to negotiate. Instead, he took every opportunity he could to mischaracterize the bill for campaign purposes. Every school district is treated the same in this funding formula and any claim to the contrary is nothing more than misinformation. 

“This brinksmanship needs to end and school funding reform needs to pass. I will continue to work across the aisle to ensure Illinois has a fair school funding formula to benefit all students."

###

Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush - photo credit: Daily HeraldDaily Herald - July 27, 2017 | original article

By Kerry Lester

An already expensive four-day legislative special session underway in Springfield could have cost taxpayers $56,740 more if it hadn't been for the efforts of a suburban lawmaker.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner Wednesday signed legislation, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake, that freezes lawmaker pay rates and reimbursements as they travel down to Springfield to negotiate over a bill that would free up state funding for schools.

Bush's bill, which goes into effect immediately, caps all 177 General Assembly members' per diem rates at $111 per session day; lawmakers who travel more than 50 miles to the capitol would continue to be reimbursed 39 cents per mile. It would also eliminate a 2.1 percent cost of living adjustment to their annual salary, which has a base pay of $67,636 before stipends for leadership and committee roles. Without the legislation, per diems were set to rise to $142 per day, and mileage to 53 cents per mile, based on federal rates.

Senate President John Cullerton's office estimates that a special session costs roughly $48,000 per day -- and would have cost an added $14,185 daily without the bill for the session, which started Wednesday.

Bush, in a statement, encouraged the governor "to go one step further in saving money for Illinois taxpayers by disclosing his plans for his school funding veto and meeting with legislative leaders to negotiate a plan instead of wasting Illinois tax dollars on unnecessary special sessions."

Read the full article...

Category: In The News

opioid crisis button

Contact Me

Springfield Office:
124 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-7353

District Office:
10 N. Lake St., Suite 112
Grayslake, IL 60030
Phone: (847) 548-5631