Sunday, May 5, 2013
The Illinois House approved sweeping pension reform this week. The legislation will now move on to the Senate.
The Illinois House approved a pension reform bill that could eliminate the state's $96.8 billion funding shortfall over the next 30 years, Reuters reported. The legislation was approved by a vote of 62-51 and would impact Illinois teachers outside of the Chicago Public School system, state university employees and the Illinois General Assembly, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The bill still must be approved by the Senate. The Chicago Tribune reported that the bill would increase the retirement age for employees 44 and younger. Employees also would contribute 2 percent more of their paychecks to their retirements. The state would no longer give out compounded 3 percent bumps on the entire pension amount every year, the newspaper reported. …
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Sen. Kirk and Sen. Durbin make first joint appearance in state at Great Lakes school along with Rep. Schneider.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Springfield) made their first joint public appearance in Illinois since Kirk returned to full time duty in the Senate in January at a Great Lakes charter school they helped create which is now being hurt by the Sequester. Durbin, Kirk and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) met with students at the Learn Public Charter School, a North Chicago public school on the Great Lakes Naval Base, to see the new institution and listen to the students. “This is our first public appearance in Illinois since Sen. Kirk returned to the Senate (in January after suffering a stroke a year before),” Durbin said. “We wanted it to be here because it is something we worked on together.” Sequester Reduces …
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Illinois Senate OKs proposal for new casinos. The bill is now in the House.
State Sen. Terry Link's bill proposing expanded casino gambling in Illinois, including in Lake County, passed the Senate this week with a vote of 32 to 20. The bill, which proposes five new casinos, moved to the House Thursday. Prior to the Senate vote, Link told members the new casinos could generate an initial $1.2 billion for the deficit state, reported the Daily Herald. If approved, possible locations for a casino in Lake County include Park City, North Chicago and Waukegan. Senators representing Lake County who voted in favor of SB1739 were Democrat Terry Link, of Waukegan and Democrat Julie Morrison, of Deerfield. Voting no were Democrat Melinda Bush, of Grayslake and Republican Dan Duffy, of Lake Barrington, according to the vote …
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Reports indicate former Congressman is raising money for a 2014 run.
Though former Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) has not indicated he will seek a 2014 rematch against Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield), evidence is mounting he may try to regain his 10th Congressional District seat. Dold, who reported raising no money in the quarter ending March 31, according to the Federal Election Commission, is starting to solicit funds, according to an email from the Schneider campaign and a flyer which Patch recently obtained. Earlier: Dold Resurfaces on Facebook “We just got word that former Republican Congressman Bob Dold has decided to run again,” an email sent today to Schneider supporters soliciting funds for the current Congressman’s campaign, said. A form Dold for Congress attached to this article indicates the …
Friday, April 26, 2013
According to the American Lung Association's 2013 "State of the Air," Lake County gets an "F."
This week, the American Lung Association released its 2013 "State of the Air" report card and Lake County received an "F." Cook County also received an "F" but the other Chicago area collar counties (McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will) all received B's. Incinerator-Free Lake County has been trying to raise awareness with citizens and elected officials in Lake County that "our air quality is very poor and much worse than any of the other collar counties," said Barbara Klipp, the organization's co-founder and spokesperson. On Monday, Incinerator-Free Lake County will be speaking to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at a hearing in Chicago on behalf of Lake County residents, who are invited to attend. Incinerator-Free Lake County, along …
"The planting of trees improves the air quality in the community," said Mayor Rhett Taylor.
Friday, April 26
The Village of Grayslake was recently designated a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the 19th consecutive year in recognition of its community forestry program. “The Village is proud to be a recipient of this award for the 19th consecutive time. In addition to Village resources used to maintain its trees, the Village supports property owners planting trees on their property,” said Mayor Rhett Taylor. “The planting of trees improves the air quality in the community.” This designation is made possible, in part, by the Village’s environmental programs such as the Tree Replacement and Neighborhood Partnership Programs. In 2012, 83 new trees were planted in Grayslake through the Tree Replacement Program. For more …
Thursday, April 25, 2013
State Sen. Jim Oberweis is sponsoring a bill that would increase the state's highest speed limit by 5 mph.
If driving 65 mph on Illinois’ highways just isn’t fast enough for you, don’t worry. The maximum speed limit in the state may soon be increased. State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) is sponsoring a bill that already has made its way through the state Senate that would increase the speed limit to 70 mph on state highways, according to the Chicago Tribune. The measure is a "business friendly" bill that would allow companies to move commerce in a faster way, Oberweis said. “This is a bipartisan, good-government bill, which would allow the maximum speed limit on tollways and interstate highways to increase to 70 mph to bring Illinois in line with most of the rest of the country,” Oberweis said. “The interstates were designed for a higher …
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Help is available for homeowners with flooded or storm damaged properties.
Did your property receive any damage from the recent storms or flooding? You may be eligible for a property tax break. Governor Quinn declared Lake County a disaster area on April 18. This allows property owners to request a reassessment of any taxable property which was substantially damaged by the disaster. This can also allow a reduction when a property is uninhabitable for a period of time as a result of this disaster event. If a property has received damage, the taxpayer must contact their township assessor and complete the PTAX- 245, Disaster Area Reassessment application
New law increases senior homestead exemption and general homestead exemption.
Wednesday, April 24
Gov. Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will reduce property tax bills for seniors across Illinois. Senate Bill 1894 raises the senior homestead exemption from $4,000 to $5,000 – potentially saving seniors up to more than $200 annually. This new exemption for seniors takes effect for Cook County this year. All other counties will benefit from the increase beginning next year. “The new law will reduce property tax bills for seniors across Illinois,” Gov. Quinn said. “This boost in savings will relieve some of the financial burden faced by seniors and working families, and help ensure no one struggles to stay in their home.” Sponsored by Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), SB 1894 increases the …
The Marketplace Fairness Act would give states the ability to collect online sales taxes.
The Senate cleared the way this week for the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which requires businesses with more than $1 million in Internet sales to pay sales taxes to the state where the buyer resides, Slate reported. While a 1992 Supreme Court decision allows for taxing online sales, states don’t collect online sales tax unless the buyer voluntarily sends it. In 2012, states collectively lost an estimated $23.3 billion in sales tax revenue due to online sales according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Huffington Post reported. Michael Mazerov of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the Marketplace Fairness Act would make tax collections slightly more progressive, since poorer Americans are less…