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Murphy streamlines property tax exemptions for disabled veterans

sm houseSPRINGFIELD- State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) advanced legislation through the Illinois Senate today to prevent disabled veterans from being forced to reapply for the Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption every year.

The exemption is available to veterans with service-related disabilities. 

As of 2015, veterans with a 30 percent - 50 percent disability can receive $2,500 exemption, those with 50 percent - 70 percent receive a $5,000 exemption, and veterans with at least a 70 percent disability are exempt from paying property taxes.

“These property tax exemptions are a small token to show our thanks for making these great sacrifices for our country, but forcing disabled veterans to reapply every year is duplicative,” Murphy said. “My proposal removes the legal barriers that force them to reapply and make their lives just a bit easier.”

Senator Murphy’s legislation, Senate Bill 1437, passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 55-0. It will now head to the Illinois House. 

Entrepreneur learner’s permit program passes Illinois Senate

holmes 042617SPRINGFIELD – A bipartisan measure to help first-time business owners in Illinois was approved by the Illinois Senate today. The entrepreneur learner’s permit program was introduced by State Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora.

“There has been a lot of talk about making Illinois more business friendly, but not enough action,” Holmes said. “This legislation encourages first-time small business owners to set up in Illinois by giving them incentives. It is important that we as lawmakers do whatever we can to strengthen Illinois’ economy in real and tangible ways.”

The entrepreneur learner’s permit would encourage small business growth by reimbursing first-time business owners for certain costs paid to the state for licensing and permits. The Illinois legislation creates a pilot version of a similar program established by the Connecticut State Legislature in July of 2016.

The measure, Senate Bill 1462, has been approved by the Illinois Senate and now moves to the House of Representatives.

McGuire calls on students to “Teach The Governor”

mcguire 020817SPRINGFIELD — Joining student activists as they visited Springfield to call for funding for higher education, State Sen. Pat McGuire asked them to tell Gov. Bruce Rauner about how the impasse is affecting them.

“I’m going to ask you to teach,” said McGuire, D-Joliet. “I have become an attentive student of Governor Bruce Rauner. In his State of the State address, he said ‘Job creators get excited by term limits.’ You know that’s not true. Job creators get excited by a well-trained, well-educated workforce. I’m convinced the Governor does not know our lives from a hill of beans. The real Illinois is not people like himself, worth $700 million. It’s people trying to get by on $8.25 an hour. People who need Monetary Award Program grants to continue their education.”

The Fund Our Future Rally drew students from Moraine Valley Community College, the City Colleges of Chicago, the University of Illinois, DePaul University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

McGuire asked students to “teach the governor” by giving him sharp, specific examples of what the budget impasse is doing to their education.

“Trust your experience,” McGuire said. “He can’t dispute what you’ve been through. He can’t dispute what you’re after.”

Stadelman passes measure to direct federal funds to at-risk students

stadelman 042617SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) secured passage of legislation today that will protect federal funding for the Rockford public school district.

The measure, effective July 1, ensures federal funds meant for Title 1 programs go to help low-income children rather than paying into teachers’ pensions and could free up millions of federal dollars for Rockford public schools.

“Right now, school districts are being required to use federal funds that are meant to go to students to pay down the state’s pension debt,” Stadelman said. “This disproportionately affects at-risk students in the districts that need help the most.”

The legislation allows school districts to pay into federally funded teachers’ pensions at the same rate as all other teachers, cutting the districts’ contribution rate from 45 percent to 7 percent. Individual teachers’ pensions would not be affected.

Dr. Ehren Jarrett, Rockford Public Schools Superintendent, testified in committee in favor of the legislation last month.

“What we’re advocating for is to let those federal dollars go to what the teachers and the principals in those schools say they need most, which is support for struggling students,” Jarrett said. “This is an opportunity for equity for those schools.”

Title 1 funding provides federal assistance to school districts with high percentages of low-income students to make sure their educational needs are met. Schools can use the funds for schoolwide programs or programs targeted at individual students, but they are intended to bring students up to the state’s academic standards.

SB 195 passed unanimously in the Senate and will move to the House for consideration.