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Koehler works to preserve Peoria-area jobs

airplane mech 111419SPRINGFIELD – Legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) that would ensure the preservation of manufacturing jobs in the Peoria area passed the Senate with bipartisan support yesterday.

“The point of this legislation is simple: to keep good-paying jobs in our area,” Koehler said. “Without this tax exemption there is no question that aviation companies would have to take a long look at doing business elsewhere.”

Peoria is home to Byerly Aviation, a company that offers maintenance, charters and aircraft sales.

This legislation would reinstate the Illinois state sales tax exemption for materials used in aircraft manufacturing, which expired Dec. 31, 2014.

Since its expiration, the Illinois Department of Revenue audited several privately owned aviation repair companies and never required them to collect sales tax. The Illinois Aviation Trades Association believes the outstanding tax bill is roughly $50 million.

“Since the expiration of this sales tax, Illinois has become an outlier,” Koehler said. “In order to remain competitive with several other states who currently offer this exemption, we had to reinstate it.”

This legislation now awaits the governor’s signature.

Koehler votes to consolidate police and firefighter pensions

koehler 111419SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to save taxpayer money, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) voted in favor of a measure today that will consolidate police and firefighter pensions.

“The passage of this bipartisan legislation was years in the making, and I’m thrilled my colleagues and I were able to work with the governor’s office to address a part of our serious pension problem,” Koehler said. “We’re saving taxpayers money and increasing retirement security for those who risk their lives on a daily basis.”

Under this legislation, the roughly 650 separate pension funds for downstate police officers and firefighters will be consolidated into two individual and separate funds. The fund consolidation will happen over a 30-month transition period beginning upon the legislation becoming law and is estimated to save Illinois taxpayers nearly $160 million annually while not affecting individual pension amounts.

“I understand the concerns people may have about giving the state control over a pension system,” Koehler said. “For that reason it’s especially important to keep in mind that local pension board control remains in place under this legislation.”

Under this legislation local pension fund boards and their authority to rule on benefits would remain firmly intact. Additionally, balances of other pensions would be untouched. The proceeds from one fund’s investment will not be used to make up for another fund’s shortfall.

This legislation now awaits the governor’s signature.

Koehler, Area Recycling and Kuusakoski host e-recycling event

TV recyclePEKIN – Peoria area residents were able to clear their homes of broken and outdated electronics in a safe, environmentally friendly manner thanks to an electronics recycling event hosted by State Senator Dave Koehler.

The event took place at Area Recycling in Pekin with the help of Kuusakoski Recycling, an e-waste recycler with corporate offices in Plainfield.

“The partnership between my office, Area Recycling, and Kuusakoski has been extraordinary,” Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “It’s my sincere hope that we will be able to provide this service to area residents, and I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure the continuation of this event.”

The total amount of electronics collected for this event weighed in at 170,322 pounds, an improvement over last year’s 130,000 pounds.

“It’s really important to the environment that we sponsor these events, because we hear from our township road commissioners all the time that the lack of a responsible means of disposal just ends in fly dumping. If people don’t have somewhere to dispose of old electronics, they throw them in a ditch.” Koehler said. “This is a safe way of disposing of these items. It’s also nice knowing that they’re going to be recycled, and I think people appreciate it.”

Koehler calls for lower prescription insulin cost

koehler 091719SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler joined with colleagues for a press conference today highlighting a solution to counter the skyrocketing cost of prescription insulin.

“For far too long pharmaceutical companies have been allowed to take advantage of people who require this medication to live, and it’s unacceptable,” Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “Working to ease the financial burden on families who require prescription insulin is the humane thing to do.”

Senate Bill 667 would cap out of pocket insulin expenses at $100 for a 30-day supply.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are over 30 million Americans who have diabetes, with 7.4 million of them who require prescription insulin to survive. The increasing cost of the medication has forced many of these patients to choose between purchasing vital medication and other financial obligations.

“There shouldn’t be a choice to make in the first place,” Koehler said. “Those who suffer from diabetes should be able to acquire the necessary prescription medication without it breaking the bank.”

Sen. David Koehler


Assistant Majority Leader
46th District

Years served:
Appointed December 2006; Elected 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Education; Environment and Conservation (Vice-Chairperson); Labor; Local Government; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Born and raised in South Dakota, moved to Peoria in 1978; B.A., Yankton College, 1971; M.A. in divinity, United Theological Seminary, 1974; staff member, National Farm Worker Ministry; community organizer and program manager, Peoria Friendship House; executive director, Peoria Area Labor Management Council; president, Labor Management Cooperative Health Programs Inc.; Peoria County Board member, 1982-88; Peoria City Council member, 1989-97 (mayor pro tem, 1993-94); first elected to Senate in 2006; married with three daughters, a son-in-law and two granddaughters.

Associated Representatives:
Jehan Gordon-Booth
Michael D. Unes