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Tom Cullerton measure to give taxpayers clear picture of state’s finances now law

tc 060219VILLA PARK – Illinois residents will soon have a clearer picture of the state’s finances thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton.

Signed into law today, Cullerton’s legislation, House Bill 313 requires the Illinois Comptroller’s website to display the amounts and dates of expenditures by state agencies to vendors, the salaries of each state employee and graphical data whenever possible.

“Illinois taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent,” Cullerton said. “While this online database provides residents with an excellent resource, this legislation will expand the scope of the website to create an even clearer picture of the state’s finances.”

The website currently shows all of the state financial records and reports, with the same up-to-date numbers and information that are used by the Comptroller’s office in carrying out its Constitutional duties, including employee salaries. Cullerton urges Illinois residents to visit https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/financial-data/state-expenditures/employee-salary-database/  to inspect state revenues, expenses, contracts and salaries.

In addition to increasing transparency about individual employee salaries, the new law will also extend to information about private-sector firms that seek contracts from the state.

“Our goal is to ensure this comprehensive financial database gives taxpayers an up-to-date and reliable method to inspect state revenues and expenditures to improve fiscal transparency in our state,” Cullerton said.

The bipartisan legislation passed the General Assembly with unanimous support and goes into effect immediately.  

Cullerton’s new law will help direct vital dollars toward economic development and infrastructure improvements

pothole 080519VILLA PARK – Towns across DuPage County can now spend hotel tax dollars on items other than tourism, thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) started working on passing this initiative four or five years ago, that would allow non-home rule towns to direct vital dollars on the needs of residents. Senate Bill 1217, will allow for up to 25 percent of hotel tax revenue to be used on economic development or infrastructure improvements. It was signed into law on Friday.

“This new law will give flexibility to towns and villages across DuPage County to direct dollars toward vital repairs, expanding public transportation and fixing annoying potholes,” Cullerton said. “Solid roadways help community put its best face forward for visitors while improving conditions for residents. No one wants to drive through towns full of potholes.”

Under previous law, towns within DuPage County were required to use 100 percent of all hotel revenues toward promoting tourism. Now up to 25 percent of those dollars can be used to address local needs.

“I would like to thank Senator Tom Cullerton and Representative Diane Pappas for fighting for Itasca,” said Jeff Pruyn, Mayor of Itasca. “As a former mayor, Senator Cullerton understands that villages and towns across DuPage County have pressing needs. This law will allow us to direct vital dollars toward key infrastructure and economic development projects that will help ensure local residents’ needs are met.” 

Previously, Cullerton served as the Village President and Trustee of Villa Park. During that time, Villa Park experienced monumental job creation, balanced its budgets and fully funded its pension system. He draws on his own experiences to improve the lives of people in his district and those throughout Illinois.

The DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference support the measure as well as representatives from the Villages of Villa Park, Roselle, Wood Dale, Wayne, Carol Stream, Lombard, Addison and Bensenville.

“This new law will help communities address pressing needs without raising property taxes,” Cullerton said. “This is a win for local residents, tourists and local officials who are striving to provide the best possible service and quality of life to its citizens.”

Senate Bill 1217 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. It will go into effect immediately. 

Tom Cullerton measure to raise penalties for construction zone car accidents now law

tc roadconst 073019VILLA PARK – To protect construction workers and discourage unsafe driving as construction season returns in Illinois, a new law by State Senator Tom Cullerton signed today increases the maximum penalty for hitting a construction worker to $25,000 from the current $10,000 fine.

“We are seeing an epidemic of distracted driving, and the people who work in our roadways are paying the price,” Cullerton said. “As construction season progresses, it is crucial that we take every necessary step to deter drivers from taking their eyes off the road.”

Tom Cullerton applauds ISP’s efforts to eliminate forensic backlog

tc 050819VILLA PARK – State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) praised the Illinois State Police crime lab’s efforts to reduce the massive backlog of cases awaiting DNA analysis.

This month, ISP posted 26 job postings for forensic scientists to get to work on the massive backlog of cases. Filling these positions will allow the agency to address the backlog.

“Forensic evidence can make or break the outcome of a case,” Cullerton said. “This highly scientific process continues to become increasingly important in solving crimes. The Illinois State Police is working diligently to help solve this crisis and eliminate this catastrophic backlog once and for all, and to do it, they need more experts.”

Cullerton sponsored House Joint Resolution 7, which directs the Illinois State Police to take all steps possible to comply with the Federal Rapid DNA Act of 2017. The measure was adopted by the House and Senate with unanimous support in May.

In today's climate where police and prosecutors are increasingly scrutinized about their procedures, DNA evidence is crucial to the successful prosecution of criminal cases. The current backlog of biological evidence includes numerous cases of violent crimes, including murders, shootings, and criminal sexual assaults, that end up being delayed for long periods of time. It typically takes at least one year for biological evidence to be processed by the state crime labs.

“I’m glad to see ISP taking steps to drastically improve turnaround and ensure they are in compliance with federal protocols,” Cullerton said. “The goal of our legislation was to jump start this process to ensure justice is delivered swiftly.”

The bipartisan initiative is sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor (Chairperson); State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas