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Manar joins Senate in voting to protect downstate Main Street retailers

manar 041718Measure will help stabilize rural communities as consumer shopping habits evolve

SPRINGFIELD – An effort to protect rural and downstate communities by ensuring distant online retailers are playing by the same rules as local brick-and-mortar retailers advanced out of the Senate Tuesday.

The measure requires out-of-state retailers that do business with Illinois customers to collect a use tax under two conditions: their cumulative gross receipts exceed $100,000 or they have more than 200 separate transactions with customers in Illinois.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is a chief cosponsor of the initiative, Senate Bill 2577. It passed the Senate 39-10 with bipartisan support.

He represents central Illinois communities that have been hard hit by job losses and declining sales tax revenue for road and sewer projects as long-standing brick-and-mortar retailers have shuttered because of online competition and changing consumer habits.

“Out-of-state corporations are gaming the system. It’s hurting the small and mid-size retailers our communities rely so deeply upon for goods, services, jobs and revenue,” Manar said. “Online shopping, while good and convenient for rural consumers, has contributed to a tidal wave of brick-and-mortar store closures, job losses and sales tax declines that have local mayors and county boards extremely concerned. I share their worries.”

Federal law requires retailers with a physical storefront to collect the sales tax required by the jurisdiction where the business is located. If the retailer has a physical presence in a state, it must collect applicable state and local sales tax from customers, regardless of where the sales originates.

However, if it does not have a presence in a particular state, it is not required to collect sales taxes.

As consumer shopping habits shift online, local governments are finding their sales tax collections – money often used for local infrastructure improvements – on the decline or stagnant.

Manar stressed that SB2577 is an effort to level the playing field, not a tax hike.

“As the economy and consumer habits change, it’s vital that state government is vigilant and changes with them,” Manar said. “If we don’t try to rectify this imbalance, I don’t want to imagine what some of our rural communities will look like in a few years.”

Manar calls out Rauner for holding up state grant for Decatur clinic

manar 041318Clinic’s ability to address Decatur opioid crisis uncertain while state funding is withheld

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar is calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to release the $3 million in state money he promised to Decatur’s Crossing Healthcare during a splashy news conference in February.

More than two months after the governor’s announcement, the Rauner administration has only approved $750,000 for the clinic.

That’s unacceptable, said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat whose district includes Crossing Healthcare and much of Decatur.

“Let’s revisit the governor’s track record with money for this clinic. He froze its funding immediately upon taking office in 2015. He blocked negotiations on the Senate’s ‘grand bargain’ budget last year and repeatedly vetoed budgets that would have provided the money the center was owed and desperately needed,” Manar said.

“I have contacted the comptroller, and her office is prepared to release the full $3 million but can’t do that until Rauner submits the paperwork to do so. I would hate to think the governor could be so cruel as to dangle money in front of a clinic just so he could get in front of a TV camera.”

Rauner previously froze a promised $3 million construction grant to the clinic for its Community Health Improvement Center.

Crossing Healthcare is a federally qualified clinic that served more than 19,000 patients in Decatur in 2016. Among its many services is treatment for opioid addiction.

“Gov. Rauner is going around claiming his administration is doing everything in its power to address the opioid problem. It’s baloney,” Manar said. “And, clearly, he’s not keeping his promises to Decatur.”

Effort to settle back wages tab with state workers moves forward

Sen. Andy ManarState’s oldest debt is outstanding wages for prison workers, caregivers and others

SPRINGFIELD – An effort to compensate about 24,000 state workers for promised wages going back to 2011 took a step forward Thursday.

A measure to set aside $63.25 million for the back pay was approved by a Senate appropriations committee. The legislation – Senate Bill 2269 sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) – was approved 14-2 with bipartisan support.

Childhood cancer awareness measure receives overwhelming Senate support

Manar 013118 sb444SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to set aside May 17 of each year to raise awareness of a rare and incurable form of childhood brain cancer was approved Wednesday by the Illinois Senate.

The measure, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), was prompted by the advocacy efforts of Bunker Hill mother Kim Skief, whose 11-year-old daughter, Grace, died from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, in 2015.

The Senate approved the measure, Senate Bill 2254, 56-0. It was sent to the House for consideration.

“Grace’s story is a simple reminder that medical cures and care, sadly, are not guaranteed to all of us. That’s why I’m working with her mother to help raise awareness about this childhood cancer,” Manar said. “Although DIPG is rare, when it strikes it is painful, and unfortunately it is quick.”

DIPG is an aggressive form of cancer that targets children almost exclusively – about 300 each year in the United States. It affects the part of the brain that controls the heartbeat, breathing, swallowing, sight and eye movement, and balance. It is in operable, and the survival rate is less than 1 percent.

Grace Skief was a fifth-grader when she was diagnosed with DIPG in April 2015. She died three months later, on July 31, 2015.

Twenty other states have set aside May 17 to raise awareness of this heart-breaking childhood cancer and the lack of a cure for it.

Present in the Senate gallery during Wednesday’s vote were Kim Skief and her son, James, both of Bunker Hill; and Grace’s grandmother, Carol Robbins of Alton. Manar thanked them for their advocacy and their courage.

“Any number of things could happen after tragedy strikes a family, as we often see when families visit us in the Senate,” he said. “At the lowest point the Skief family somehow mustered the strength and courage to move on and make something positive out of what undoubtedly is the most difficult situation anybody could go through.”

For more information about DIPG, visit http://www.defeatdipg.org and http://www.cancer.gov.

Sen. Andy Manar

manar2014hs

48th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Higher Education; Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Labor.

Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.