Text Size
Login
config

Harmon: The most meaningful reform is a balanced budget (AUDIO)

harmon 031517SPRINGFIELD – The most meaningful reform Gov. Bruce Rauner can sign into law after two years of gridlock in Springfield is a balanced budget, Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said.

“Citizens and businesses in Illinois need predictability, stability and certainty, and Senate Democrats are offering that with a balanced budget,” Harmon said. “They’ll know what they are in for, they’ll know the state will pay its bills, and they’ll know that the state will be here to provide the services that everyone relies upon us to provide.”

Harmon elaborated on a series of reforms the Senate passed last week in conjunction with a balanced budget at the behest of Gov. Rauner and others to make the state more business friendly. The reforms include workers’ compensation reform, procurement reform, local government consolidation reform and school funding reform. Senate Democrats also have indicated a willingness to enact a two-year property tax freeze.

“Nobody likes property taxes. We’re proposing a freeze in property taxes. We’d like to hit the pause button so that we can implement state financial reforms and protect local property taxpayers from increase at the local level,” Harmon said.

He noted that the Senate most recently enacted major reform of the state’s workers’ compensation system in 2011.

“Those reforms are paying dividends, but we aren’t seeing those benefits being passed down from the insurance companies to the local businesses that buy their insurance,” he said. “The reforms we’re advancing this session will attempt to deal with that, will attempt to ensure that the premiums, the rates people pay for their workers’ compensation reflect the strides we’ve made in reforming the system.”

Sen. Harmon talks about the budget:

 

Lightford: Lottery dollars should serve as a supplement to education

LotterySPRINGFIELD — When the Illinois Lottery was established, its purpose was to provide extra revenue for schools, but those funds have been often used to replace funds from other sources. Reliance on lottery revenue to fund local schools could soon come to an end under a proposal that was approved in the Senate today.

House Bill 213, led by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), ensures that any money transferred to the Common School Fund from the State Lottery Fund shall serve as a supplement, not a replacement for, any other money due to the Common School Fund.

“It is time we used lottery money as it was intended,” Lightford said. “Our school system is underfunded, and we cannot continue to allow our children to lose out on vital resources they need for success.”

Currently, 24 percent of lottery ticket revenue is deposited into the Common School Fund. In fiscal year 15, that amount was $679 million of the total $2.85 billion in lottery sales.

The measure will now head back to the House on concurrence.

Castro passes measure that would help prevent auto collisions

Auto dealerSPRINGFIELD – Obstructions in car windshields of test-driven vehicles has led State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) to act on life saving legislation that would require dealerships to remove decals on vehicles before leaving the lot.

The measure, House Bill 733, arose out of a tragic situation where 22 year old Brenden Burke was victim to a preventable fatal accident.

Burke was struck and killed in 2016 after a vehicle being test-driven from a nearby car dealer turned left into Burke’s path. The driver of the other vehicle had obstructed vision because of the number of decals and paper work left on the driver side windshield by the dealership.

“The story of Brenden Burke is a tragic, yet highly preventable, one,” said Castro. “There is absolutely no reason decals and paper work should be obstructing the view of a person test-driving an unfamiliar vehicle.”

Koehler passes measure cutting red tape

Food serviceSPRINGFIELD – A redundant food handling certificate required by the state will be no more under legislation passed by the Illinois Senate. House Bill 3684 would eliminate the certificate and $35 fee, helping small business owners and workers.

Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health requires workers to complete an approved training program and pass an exam provided by an accredited exam provider. After the person passes the exam and pays for the national certificate, they are required to electronically send that certificate to the state and pay $35 for an Illinois specific certificate.

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) sponsored the legislation that would eliminate the $35 fee.   

“Redundant regulations make it difficult to manage the day-to-day operations of their business instead of focusing on growing,” said Koehler, a former small business owner himself. “If and when we find these types of regulations, we should do everything we can to free those businesses from the burdensome redundancies.”

The measure passed the Senate without opposition.