FY16 Budget

·         Legislative leaders meet with Governor Rauner for second round of budget talks.  The second week of budget talks took place behind closed doors in Chicago on Tuesday, December 8.  The meeting yielded some mild optimism and word that more talks — including among the Governor’s and legislative staff — are planned for the near future.

The leaders agreed to meet again next week to further discuss the major outstanding budget and budget-related issues facing Illinois.  The State continues to operate in FY16 (began July 1, 2015) without a constitutional balanced budget. 

·         $3.1 billion “other state funds” appropriation bill signed by Governor.  The enactment of SB 2039 appropriated $3.1 billion in what are called “other state funds” which are funds continue to flow into Illinois from taxes and fees other than sales, income, and other general-revenue taxes.  An example of this cash flow is the hundreds of millions of dollars paid annually by motorists who buy diesel fuel and gasoline for their cars and light trucks in Illinois.  Release of this money has been “frozen” so far this year due to the lack of an approved balanced budget.    

Passage of SB 2039 into law unblocked these program lines and allowed the money to flow.  The move released funds for streets, roads, and highways; 9-1-1 call centers; firefighter training; lottery payouts; and other moneys for local first-responders and local governments.  The bipartisan House vote of 107-1-1 was one of the key moves sending this bill to the Governor for his signature.  Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 2039 on Monday, December 7.
FY16 Budget

·         Governor Rauner, legislative leaders hold budget summit; December cash flow affects talks.  The summit, which included House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, was held on Tuesday, December 1 at the State Capitol in Springfield.  There was a frank and full exchange of views on issues dividing the four caucuses, including the need for property tax relief, workers’ compensation reform, public-sector labor-management relations, and a reformed system to elect and re-elect State lawmakers. 

As Durkin, Governor Rauner, and other summit leaders met, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced that the State’s revenue picture was improving slightly in December.  Factors affecting State cash flow include the coming of the annual Christmas retail shopping season and larger flows of cash from sales taxes charged on retail goods.  Illinois will be able to make its required December 2015 $560 million contribution to State retirement systems, after delaying the November 2015 pension payment.  However, the Comptroller’s tally of unpaid State bills shows that the State now owes approximately $6.7 billion to providers of goods and services.
By Greg Bishop

House passes measure to free local funds and more A measure to provide money to local governments, winners of the Illinois Lottery and funds for veterans homes across the state, among other things, is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough in solving the budget crisis. That’s according to some supporters of a measure that passed the House Wednesday...

Unemployment Insurance measure passed An agreed upon measure to update unemployment insurance before ramps in costs to employers and decreases in benefits for the unemployed now heads to the governor’s desk. Before passing lawmakers from both sides of the aisle applauded the effort as a sign of true bipartisanship, not just between Republicans and Democrats, but also business and labor...

Republican Representative Keith Wheeler said the bill is a sign of the General Assembly working together to improve the state’s business climate.

“This bill shows we can make progress. We’ve got a lot more we can do but we can do it...”

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, its time for ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ and ‪#‎ILGive‬. #ILGive is a statewide, non-partisan movement to support nonprofit communities in Illinois by increasing individual giving. Last year, they raised over $4 million dollars. This year, over 500 organizations, individuals, and foundations from all over the state have joined the movement to provide creative ways for people in Illinois to give. 

For more information and a list of participating Illinois nonprofits, click here.
FY16 Budget

·         Leaders’ budget meeting with Governor moved to December 1.  The face-to-face meeting is scheduled to bring together Governor Bruce Rauner and the leaders of the four General Assembly legislative caucuses, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.  Originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 18, the meeting has been reset for Tuesday, December 1.  The new time will allow preparations to continue over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

In addition to budget issues, questions dividing Illinois leaders include workers’ compensation, property tax relief, public-sector labor pay and benefits, tort reform, election process reform, and term limits.  Many key items of House Republican advocacy have been barred from discussion and debate within the Illinois General Assembly in recent years.  The role of House Speaker Madigan has come under discussion as an element in the overall operation of Illinois state government, often characterized in recent years as one of the “worst in the nation.”  Illinois currently has the lowest bond and credit ratings of any of the 50 states. 
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) visited with students at Blackberry Creek Elementary School in Elburn today, describing the role of a State Representative and emphasizing the importance of education and reading. The students asked questions about government and shared some of their class activities with Rep. Wheeler.
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) joins AT&T's John Quinn in presenting a $1,000 "Investing in Illinois" Award to Countryside Food Pantry in Elburn, represented by coordinator Rita Burnham.
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) joins AT&T's John Quinn in presenting a $1,000 Investing in Illinois Award to the volunteers and staff of the Kendall County Food Pantry, of which Rep. Wheeler formerly served as Board Chairman.

FY16 budget – CGFA

·         General Assembly watchdogs chart continued budget picture.  The nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the in-house budget agency of the Illinois General Assembly, released their October 2015 fiscal report this week.  The CGFA “Monthly Briefing” covers ongoing State revenues, particularly key State General Funds revenue numbers, and ongoing trends likely to affect future State revenues.  For example, the October briefing includes a discussion, based on nationwide trends and economic models, of the likely health of the 2015 Christmas retail selling season and its expected impact on State sales tax revenues.

CGFA, working in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Revenue, uncovered continued dismal trends in State revenues this October.  Illinois general funds revenues were $319 million lower in October 2015 (fiscal year 2016) than they had been in October 2014.  General Funds revenues come from income taxes, sales taxes, and other sources.  As in previous months, the decline was paced by a year-over-year shortfall in State personal income tax revenues and corporate income tax revenues.  The accumulated deficit for the four months of FY16 so far experienced is $1,456 million.  The current fiscal year began on July 1, 2015.
FY16 Budget

  • Governor Rauner to chair public meeting with legislative leaders on Nov. 18.  The meeting is expected to examine the delayed FY16 budget process.  Although the FY16 fiscal year began on July 1, 2015, a constitutional balanced budget has not been enacted by the Democrat supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate.  The State has continued to operate under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations, and school appropriations, but this has created many operational problems.  Recipients of State services, and providers of goods and services to the State, have been affected by the lack of a legal budget document. 
Spokespersons for all four legislative leaders, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, expressed positive interest in the meeting. The gathering was requested by a consortium of nonpartisan advocacy groups. Sponsors of the request included the Better Government Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Teenagers commonly feel as though they are invincible. As parents, we certainly know that is not the case.

In February of this year, a 13 year old student collapsed and died at basketball practice at a nearby Plainfield high school. He died from an undiagnosed cardiac condition. In fact, heart abnormalities claim the lives of between three and four thousand young adults in the United States each year.

Both (Oswego) School District 308 high schools have partnered with an organization called, “Young Hearts for Life” to provide our students the necessary screening to help identify cardiac abnormalities. Young Hearts for Life has screened over 130,000 students in the Chicagoland area.

Voluntary screenings will take place at Oswego East High School on Nov. 19 during the school day. Oswego High School will hold their screening next March.

If you are the parent of a high school student at Oswego East, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and register your child for this potentially lifesaving screening.

Two things are needed most urgently: volunteers and donations. Each and every person can make a difference, as can each dollar. To register, donate or volunteer, please visit the Community Unit School District website at sd308.org and register under YH4L. If you have any questions, please contact Melanie Eilers at the School District 308 office at 630-636-4633.

State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield)
State Rep. Keith R. Wheeler (R-Oswego)
State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) and State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) are teaming up with AARP to host a free Medicare Part D Seminar for local senior citizens at 10:00 a.m. Oct. 22 at the City of Batavia building, 100 N. Island Ave. in Batavia.

James R. Thompson Center
·         Governor Rauner asks cash-strapped state to consider selling or leasing Chicago office building.  The governor pointed out that ongoing and deferred maintenance costs of the James R. Thompson Center, Illinois’ principal downtown Chicago office structure, make it a highly expensive place to house State workers; deferred maintenance costs could soon require State taxpayers to invest up to $100 million in the aging building to allow it to continue to operate. 

Under an alternate path, which Rauner this week urged the State to follow, Illinois will offer the building’s real estate site up for sale.  The developer who buys the site could rehabilitate the structure, or could tear down the structure and construct a modern office building in its place.  HB 4313, introduced by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin on Wednesday, October 14, would implement this proposed property sale.

Experts in downtown real estate responded to Rauner’s announcement by calling the office complex’s LaSalle Street site an underused resource.  The structure, which opened for State use in 1985, has been allowed to run down over its three decades of activity.  Meanwhile, adjacent Loop sites are thriving as locations for high-end office, hospitality, retail and residential use.  Reorientation of the building’s “footprint” toward 21st-century architectural use could increase local property tax revenues by adding the land parcel to Chicago assessment rolls.  Advocates noted that construction of a new building on the site would also create highly paid construction jobs.
FY16 Budget
·         Legislature’s budget commission reports continued shortfall in State revenues.  A report for September 2015, compiled by the nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), shows that Illinois general funds receipts fell $382 million short of comparable figures for September 2015.  This change reflects reductions in personal and corporate income tax rates that took effect on January 1, 2015, and is one of the pieces of background that lie behind the current State of Illinois budget crisis.  Released on Thursday, October 1, the report can be found on page 6 of CGFA’s “September 2015 Monthly Briefing.”

The September numbers, which reflect ongoing receipts paid by taxpayers into the state Department of Revenue and other State agencies that take in general funds, follow up on similar numbers reported in July 2015 and August 2015.  CGFA’s three-month summary spreadsheet, also published in their September report, shows an accumulated cash flow shortfall of $1,137 million for the quarter-long period.  It is expected, furthermore, that a comparable shortfall will be posted during the fourth and final quarter of calendar year 2015.

Despite the ongoing fiscal shortfall, the Democrat majority in the Illinois General Assembly continues to insist that the State must operate a public sector that is almost exactly as large, and spends almost as much money from day to day, as it did in fiscal year 2015 before the changes in tax rates took effect.  Court decisions, continuing appropriations and consent decrees have kept the money flowing for a wide variety of budget line items.  The constitutional requirement  that Illinois enact and implement a balanced budget has been ignored. 
State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) are teaming up with AARP to host a free Medicare Part D Seminar for local seniors at 10:00am on Thursday, October 22 in Batavia. Please see the flyer for full details.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White recently announced that his office will suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminder notices to the public due to the lack of a state budget.

According to a news release dated September 28: 

"White encouraged vehicle owners to be mindful of their vehicle registration status to ensure they renew in a timely manner and avoid driving on expired vehicle stickers. He also emphasized that more vehicle owners will be forced to visit facilities to renew their vehicle registration stickers because without a reminder notice they will not have a pin number needed to renew online. However, people who have signed up to receive electronic reminder notices will continue to receive them by email. To sign up for this service, please visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com."
State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) hosted a successful Identity Theft Seminar at GreenFields of Geneva this morning, featuring guest speakers from the Illinois Attorney General's Office, Kane County Sheriff's Office and Geneva Police Department. Over 70 local residents attended, asked questions and learned about how to safeguard their credit card, Social Security, and other personal and financial information.

For questions or more information on how to help protect yourself from identity theft, please call Rep. Wheeler's office at (630) 345-3464 or call the Attorney General's Identity Theft Hotline toll-free at 1-866-999-5630.
GENEVA – Fox Valley residents are invited to attend an identity theft prevention seminar sponsored by State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at 10:00am on Monday, September 28 at GreenFields of Geneva, located at 0N801 Friendship Way.

There are approximately 10 million identity theft victims every year in the United States. A majority of victims are senior citizens. Professionals from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office will show attendees how to safeguard their credit card, Social Security and other personal and financial information to prevent it from falling into the hands of criminals.
YORKVILLE – Kendall County residents are invited to attend a complimentary coffee and discussion with State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and State Rep. John Anthony (R-Plainfield) to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 18 at Silver Dollars Restaurant in Yorkville, located at 102 Stagecoach Trail (corner of IL Route 47 and IL Route 71).

Constituents are encouraged to bring their questions and concerns. The representatives will provide an update on the current status of state budget negotiations and legislation they are working on.

“It is important for us to hear directly from the men, women and families we represent,” Rep. Anthony and Rep. Wheeler said. “These coffees are an opportunity for local residents to share their questions and concerns with us one-on-one.  We are looking forward to answering their questions and sharing our solutions to help move Illinois forward.”

No RSVP is necessary. Please call Rep. Anthony’s office with any questions at (815) 416-1475 or Rep. Wheeler’s office at (630) 345-3464.

9-11 Observances
·         State observes anniversary of 9-11, honors victims and first responders.  In Illinois by order of Gov. Rauner, flags flew at half-mast throughout Patriot Day in honor of the victims and heroes of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and rural Pennsylvania.

Leading the way towards observance of the somber day of remembrance were Republican members of the University of Illinois student and teaching community, who successfully advocated for permission to set up a memorial installation on the U of I Quad.  After a facet of the university administration temporarily attempted to block organization of the installation, the Illini Republicans led the way in a successful push to reverse the prohibition and allow the placement of 2,977 flags on the Quad.  Each U.S. flag will represent one victim of the atrocity.   

Further remembrance ceremonies will be held in other Illinois locations.  For example, Central Park in downtown Decatur, Illinois was scheduled to hold a lunchtime picnic and ceremony to honor Central Illinois first responders and commence advocacy for the construction of a permanent 9-11 memorial in Macon County.  The Decatur memorial is scheduled to contain a physical fragment of the World Trade Center.    

FY16 Budget – Comptroller Munger
·         Comptroller Munger says Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills could top $8.5 billion without a State budget.  Munger’s concerns follow moves throughout the summer of 2015 by advocates of various spending and policy programs to place various Illinois big-budget spending programs, such as Medicaid payments to residential care facilities, on “automatic spending” status pending the enactment of a budget.  These statuses have, in many cases, been backed up by the judicial branch in the form of court orders and references to various consent decrees previously signed by the State.

With money being spent at FY15 rates and State revenues coming in at FY16 rates, cash outflow is exceeding cash inflow.  The Office of the Comptroller, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, and other State agencies are responding to this asymmetry by prioritizing the speed with which bills are paid; many bills are going unpaid at this time.  The $8.5 billion figure is a cumulative figure representing the Office of the Comptroller’s estimate of where the unpaid-bill total will be on December 31, at the end of the 2015 calendar year.
FY16 Budget
·         House Republicans defend fair bargaining process for state employees & taxpayers.  On Wednesday, House Republicans blocked an attempt by the Democrat majority to override Governor Rauner’s veto of SB 1229.  The bill would have changed the way that the State of Illinois negotiates with labor unions in cases of alleged negotiation impasses.  The measure would have instituted “interest arbitration” as the preferred method, for four years, for the State of Illinois to negotiate with most of its organized workers. 

The bill was seen as a pathway for the State’s largest union, AFSCME, to bypass the collective bargaining process and use interest arbitration to impose a labor-management contract on the State.  AFSCME’s contract offer, which could have been adopted in its entirety under interest arbitration, could have resulted in an increase of $1.5 billion to $2.0 billion in taxpayer-funded employment costs over the next four years. 

SB 1229 is bad public policy aimed directly at Governor Rauner.  The Governor has committed in writing that the tolling agreement extending the current contract will remain in place until both sides agree they are walking away from the negotiating table.  The Governor will not lock out employees and is committed to remaining at the table until a final deal is reached.  He cannot and will not force unions to strike.

The Democrats’ proposal would take away negotiating authority from the duly elected Governor and put state labor contracts in the hands of an arbitrator, not elected or accountable to taxpayers, who would not be allowed to compromise or come up with a reasonable solution.  Whereas normally arbitrators are given discretion to forge a compromise, that would no longer be the case (at least not for the current administration).  Arbitrators would be forced to choose between labor’s request or the State’s proposal with absolutely no discretion… all or nothing.

After a total veto by Governor Rauner, SB 1229 was returned to the General Assembly for a possible override as provided for in the state Constitution.  To override the Governor’s veto requires a three-fifths vote in both houses of the legislature.  While the Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto, the Illinois House voted on Wednesday, September 2 to sustain Governor Rauner’s veto, thereby defeating the bill (71 votes had been required).  The House vote was 68-34-9. 
Budget – FY16
·         Many providers of mandated state-financed services report they are not being paid despite court orders.  In one case, the operation of networks of residential care services for persons with developmental disabilities, a federal judge has ordered that the state pay the networks and the Comptroller has reported that Illinois does not have the money to immediately carry out this order.  Approximately 10,000 persons with developmental disabilities are affected. 

Based on policies supported by the majority party in the General Assembly, the State is spending general funds – money raised by income taxes, sales taxes, and other non-dedicated sources of revenue – at a rate of between $37.4 billion and $38.2 billion per year.  Many policymakers, headed by Governor Bruce Rauner, are asking the General Assembly to look at the underlying policies that generate this level of spending.
·         Illinois House meets, again fails to take budget action.  The summer session day of the Illinois General Assembly was held on Tuesday, August 25.  Although this was the 14th such House summer session day called by the House Speaker since the “adjournment” of the state legislature on May 31st, no workable State budget has been produced and the Speaker’s leadership team did no work this week to generate one. 

In its session on the 25th, the House heard from witnesses who described growing challenges to them based on the failure of the State to set aside funds for roads and street repair, child care services and other essential public infrastructure and programs.  
Budget – FY16
·         Governor signs “federal funds” measure pushed by House Republicans. The measure “holds harmless” essential State spending lines that are not burdens on taxpayers who pay income and sales taxes.  SB 2042, as amended in the House on Wednesday, August 12, will “pass through” monies given to Illinois for programs mandated or strongly encouraged by Washington, D.C.   Governor Rauner signed SB 2042 into law on Thursday, August 20.

Although SB 2042 was a Senate bill, the final language approved by the General Assembly and the Governor was developed in the Illinois House after pressure from House Republicans. Led by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, the GOP caucus pointed out that the overall FY16 budget impasse was holding federally-funded programs “hostage.” Even though the underlying money to pay for these federally-funded programs had been paid by Illinois residents as part of their federal tax payments, Washington was not transferring funds for these programs to Springfield until the State’s government countersigned the transfer by assigning the money to legal appropriations line items. SB 2042, as urged and supported by House Republicans, created these line items and will enable this money to be transferred. 

Before passing through the House, SB 2042 was carefully stripped of State taxpayer-funded items that will increase the State’s budget deficit. House Republicans continued to draw attention to the piecemeal FY16 Illinois budget taking shape, but noted that federal dollars should not be subject to the ongoing budget battle in Springfield. The House vote on SB 2042 was 98-0-0.
Senator Kirk Announces Staff Mobile Office Hours in North Aurora

Staff from the Office of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
Staff from the Office of Ill. State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-50th)

Office of Illinois State Senator Jim Oberweis and Illinois State Representative Keith Wheeler
959 Oak Street
North Aurora, Ill.

Monday, August 24, 2015

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today announced that his staff will hold mobile office hours in Aurora, Ill., on Monday, August 24, in conjunction with staff from Illinois State Representative Keith Wheeler’s (R-50th) office. Kirk staffers will be available to assist constituents with any problems they may be experiencing with the federal government, including Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, student loans, and immigration. 


State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) was a featured speaker in the Community Leadership Forum on Transportation and Technology sponsored by U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) held at Plainfield Village Hall on Thursday. Representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Uber, Fermilab and General Motors participated in the discussion on today's leading opportunities and challenges in transportation and technology and how the two fields combine to generate economic activity in the 21st century.

As a small business owner, former Board Chairman for the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce and former Chairman of the Illinois Leadership Council of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Rep. Wheeler brings a lifetime of hands-on experience and real-world knowledge of the most pressing challenges facing job creators in Illinois to his role as a freshman state legislator serving the Fox Valley.

NORTH AURORA – State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) is accepting applications from interested parents, educators and community members to serve on his Education Advisory Council serving families in Illinois’ 50th District, which includes portions of Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills, Elburn, Montgomery, Oswego, Plano, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.  

Rep. Wheeler’s Education Advisory Council will hold quarterly meetings throughout the year, with the first to be scheduled for September. Specifically, Rep. Wheeler is looking for community members interested in serving on one of the following committees to advise him on state/local education policy:

K-12 Classroom Educator Committee (for teachers, teacher aides, special education assistants)
K-12 Parent & Taxpayer Committee (for parents and concerned taxpayers of any school district within the 50th District)
Higher Ed Committee (for parents, educators, taxpayers and/or local students pursuing a degree at Northern Illinois University, Aurora University or Waubonsee Community College)
SPRINGFIELD – Taking aim at costly and burdensome overregulation of small business and manufacturing in Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner on Friday signed into law a bipartisan bill introduced and sponsored by State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) requiring a full-scale review across every state agency of rules, regulations and permitting processes that impact job creators. 

The measure, HB 3887, aims to identify all state regulations that are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, or onerous to small business so they can be streamlined or eliminated. The first review will be completed within one year, with subsequent reviews to take place every 5 years thereafter. 

“Small business men and women are the backbone of our state and local economies,” Rep. Wheeler said. “They create 64% of all new private-sector jobs in America and provide literally millions of good-paying career opportunities for hardworking families in Illinois and across the country each and every year. As a state, we have the ability to conduct a thorough review of every rule and regulation and identify the ones that make it harder for start-ups, entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses to create and sustain new jobs right here in the Fox Valley and beyond.”
General Assembly Pay Freeze
·         House Republicans unanimously co-sponsor bill to block pay increase for FY16; General Assembly approves measure. The automatic 2% “cost of living” pay increase was scheduled to automatically go into effect for the State fiscal year starting July 1, 2015. Many House Republican members do not think the General Assembly deserves to enjoy a pay hike at a time when many Illinois workers have their pay and benefits frozen or cannot find work at all. HB 576 freezes cost-of-living adjustments and other benefit compensations for General Assembly members and other high-ranking elected and appointed State officials in FY16. The bill received final General Assembly approval on Wednesday, August 5, and was sent to the Governor.
House Republicans unanimously supported and helped pass HB 576, and all 47 Republican members were co-sponsors of the measure in the House. The Governor has expressed support for the concept of freezing the pay of Illinois’ top elected officials, and is expected to sign the bill.  
General Assembly Pay
·         House Republicans vote for bill to deny pay increase for selves in FY16. The measure, HB 576, amends State law to block implementation of the automatic pay increases slated to be paid in FY16 to Illinois elected officials. This action is necessary to prevent an annual automatic pay increase from being paid to members of the General Assembly, statewide elected officials, certain Cabinet-level executive branch agency directors and appointees, and county state’s attorneys. Automatic pay increases of this type have been mandated by the Compensation Review Act since 1984.

The increase for FY16, which is designed to help beneficiaries keep up with the level of inflation, is 2.0%. If HB 576 passes through the Senate and is signed by the Governor, this 2.0% pay hike will be blocked for the year. HB 576 also blocks scheduled increases in the legislator per diem and legislative mileage reimbursements that are meant to compensate legislators for their living expenses when living in, or traveling to and from, Springfield and other places of legislative duty. 

The 101-1-0 House vote on HB 576 was held on Tuesday, July 28. Gov. Rauner has signaled his support for blocking these pay hikes, but action on this bill in the state Senate is not certain.  The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, August 4. 
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and Rep. Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore) held a coffee for constituents in Campton Hills on Saturday to discuss state issues of interest and concern to local families as well as the status of state budget discussions in Springfield.

As a freshman legislator, Rep. Wheeler remains committed to being accessible and responsive to constituents throughout the Fox Valley. For questions or to share feedback on legislation or current state issues, please call Rep. Wheeler's constituent services office in North Aurora at (630) 345-3464.

FY16 Budget Crisis
·         Budget stalemate continues in Springfield. As the State of Illinois entered the fourth week of the new fiscal year without a balanced budget in place, the Democrat majority again refused to negotiate in good faith and instead continued their piece-meal approach to the budget crisis.

In the House, Democrats again backed a temporary budget to fund certain services at a level that is not sustainable over the course of the entire fiscal year. House Amendment 1 to HB 4143 was adopted by a narrow majority of Democrats, but did not receive enough votes to be passed on Third Reading and was therefore held for future consideration.

The Democrat majority continues to insist on spending levels that are unsustainable.  The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget believes this plan will ultimately require the expenditure of over $36 billion of GRF taxpayer resources for FY16.  The Democrats’ bills march the taxpayers of Illinois toward a $4 billion unbalanced budget one month at a time.

House Republicans continue to stand united in our support for a truly balanced budget that protects the interests of taxpayers, working families and seniors.
GENEVA– Kane County could face nearly $2 million in additional costs because of an extension of the grace-period registration for voters bill.

Signed by then-Gov. Pat Quinn in January, Senate Bill 172 requires same-day voter registration at every polling place for countywide elections if a county’s population is greater than 100,000, or if it has an electronic poll book – an electronic list of all eligible voters in the county.

Kane County has more than 515,000 residents, so it will have to foot the cost of adding two election officials and one voting machine to more than 95 polling places in the county, Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham said...

“This is going to be a very expensive mandate for county governments for counties who fit the criteria, and Kane County is one of them,” said State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego...

Campton Hills, IL…. State Representatives Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore) and Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) are hosting a coffee and conversation at 10:00am on Saturday, July 25 in Campton Hills. They will discuss the Spring legislative session thus far, the 2016 budget and recent bills which will impact the community and the state as a whole. 

The Representatives will also be taking time to hear from local residents about the issues that affect them. The format will be informal so that constituents can interact with legislators and express their ideas and concerns.

“There are a lot of questions out there about what’s going on in Springfield and we want to meet with the community to keep local residents informed,” Rep Wheeler stated.

“These informal coffee settings are great way for residents to communicate to us what we can do in Springfield to help them,” Rep Pritchard followed up.

Your TVs, mailboxes and newspapers have been bombarded recently with information about the ongoing state budget stalemate in Springfield.

As freshmen members of the Illinois House of Representatives, we offer our perspective – hopefully a fresh perspective – on the vexing challenges.

We are certain you would ask yourself, “Why can’t reasonable people come up with a budget that doesn’t spend more than we bring in?” After all, there never will be enough funds for everything. We all live with that reality in our household budgets. We all prioritize our spending and cut where needed. Simply put, we prioritize our spending. Why can’t Springfield?

That’s a fair question. What stops politicians from living within their means? Or more precisely, within your means – because it is your money.
FY16 Budget Crisis
·         Democrats continue push for unbalanced, unconstitutional budget.  As the State of Illinois entered the second week of its fiscal year without a balanced budget in place, the Democrat majority continued to take a piece-meal approach to the budget crisis.

Democrats again backed a temporary budget to fund certain services at a level that is not sustainable over the course of the entire fiscal year.  SB 2040, passed by the bare minimum of 71 partisan Democrat votes in the House Thursday, does not contain one-month spending levels based on the projected FY16 revenue estimate of $32 billion.

The Democrat majority continues to insist on spending levels that are unsustainable.  The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget believes this plan will ultimately require the expenditure of over $36 billion of GRF taxpayer resources for FY16.  The Democrats’ bill marches the taxpayers of Illinois toward a $4 billion unbalanced budget one month at a time.

House Republicans stand united in our support for a truly balanced budget that protects the interests of taxpayers, working families and seniors.
FY16 Budget Crisis
·         Governor Rauner, Republicans fight to prevent Illinois government shutdown.  Without a budget in place for the new Fiscal Year 2016 (which began on July 1), there is a possibility that paychecks could be delayed for approximately 65,000 state employees starting July 15.

Governor Rauner and his staff are examining their legal options.  The governor stated on Monday, June 29 that “Our lawyers are working hard to ensure that all employees will be paid on their scheduled pay dates.”  Speaker Michael Madigan and Attorney General Lisa Madigan continued to assert that paychecks may well be delayed and parts of Illinois’ government shut down. 
·         Poker run bill gets approval by both houses of General Assembly.  HB 3538, introduced and sponsored by Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) will help to smooth the licensing approval process for this popular fundraising tool throughout suburban and downstate Illinois.  Current law creates local snags in the ordinances that groups use to win licenses to carry out these popular fundraising activities, and HB 3538 pushes to streamline out these snags by placing poker run licenses in the hands of Illinois county boards other than Cook County.  The bill also clarifies that all bona fide nonprofit groups are eligible to seek to operate a poker run.

Poker runs are activities, usually one day long, in which a group of people make an event of traveling from place to place and playing a game at each location.  At the end of the poker run, the players concentrate at a finish line and play out the game, and prizes are awarded.  Under the provisions of HB 3538, the poker run must be set up so as to raise money for a needy person, a good cause, or the financial survival and stability of the group sponsoring the run. 

Many motorcyclists and biker groups carry out poker runs.  After passage by the House in April, HB 3538 was amended in the Senate to authorize Cook County’s county board to retain the existing poker run law at their discretion.  The House vote on Tuesday, June 23 to concur with the Senate amendment completed the legislative work on this bill, and it joined other bills ready to be sent to Governor Rauner’s desk for final action.
Budget – FY16
·         As budget picture continues to show lack of progress, Comptroller Munger intensifies her warnings House Republicans continue to demand that Speaker Madigan start negotiations for a real budget for Fiscal Year 2016, which begins on July 1.  Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger has sharpened her warnings of the consequence to the State of not having an operating spending plan.

As Illinois’ chief financial officer, Munger will be in charge of maintaining the State’s remaining cash flow should Illinois not pass a budget.  After meeting with her top staff and legal team, she published a warning on Sunday that the State of Illinois will be legally unable to make many of its payments on and after July 1 without specific legal authority to do so.  Payments that must stop include many Medicaid reimbursements, paychecks for State employees starting July 15, general State aid (GSA) payments to school districts starting August 10, and payments to other State vendors and suppliers.

In her published warning, Munger expressed dismay at the widespread belief throughout Illinois that the State would simply be able to continue on its cash-flow path on automatic pilot.  She pointed out that the spending plans currently demanded by Democrats include an assumption that $3.5 billion in imaginary money will somehow appear.  Postponed paychecks and school aid payments, she stated, will have devastating impacts on many Illinois men, women, and children.  Furthermore, these impacts are a tangible outcome of spending assumptions that have long been headed for a crisis because they are based upon hopes of hypothetical future revenue.       
Budget – FY16
·         Comptroller Munger warns of consequences if budget not enacted.  The State’s chief cash flow manager, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger, reported on Wednesday, June 10 on the actions the State will be forced to take if no budget is enacted prior to the end of the State’s fiscal year on June 30, 2015.  

Successive actions the State will be forced to take include delayed paychecks for State workers, unanswered billings from and no payments to new Medicaid and other State-financed health care providers, no new payments to other State vendors, and no general state aid (GSA) payments from the State Board of Education to school districts.  These actions are expected to hit in different ways at different times.  For example, the Comptroller reports that the first scheduled payless payday will be July 15.  The first GSA payment is due no later than August 10.

Munger pointed out that some monies remain in place to pay essential bills under the “lapse period” law.  This law allows leftover money appropriated for use in fiscal year 2015 (FY15) to be spent down during the first 60 days of FY16.  However, funds available under this pathway fall far short of the monies required to keep all of the State’s legal commitments, such as paychecks for State workers and GSA payments to schools.

House Republicans have repeatedly called for the startup of real budget negotiations and the creation of a balanced budget, as demanded by the state Constitution. 
State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) toured Chicago Jet Group based at the Aurora Municipal Airport on Friday. Chicago Jet provides a wide spectrum of aircraft and avionics services out of its Sugar Grove location.  The firm not only has aircraft management and consultation capabilities, but also provides avionics repair, aircraft maintenance, and charter services to its customer base. 

Mike Mitera, Director of Operations, outlined how the company drives innovation by using electronic and IT- based tools. That has given them not only global recognition, but a competitive edge in the marketplace. This, in turn, has helped the company grow right here in Kane County.  Chicago Jet Group would like to expand its presence at the Aurora Municipal Airport as its reputation in the industry continues to climb.

Representative Wheeler was able to see firsthand the safety, service and reliability in innovation this business has provided for over ten years.

NORTH AURORA – State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) announced the official launch of his Fox Valley Summer Reading Club for students in first through fifth grades. The program is offered to encourage reading among local youth and promote the lifelong benefits of literacy. Free brochures are available for download on Rep. Wheeler’s website by clicking HERE or by calling Rep. Wheeler’s District Office at (630) 345-3464.

Students are challenged to read eight books over their summer break. Books from local library programs are accepted; and books of 150 pages or more count as two. After a student completes his/her reading list, they must have a parent or guardian certify the reading was accomplished and return the signed form on the brochure to Rep. Wheeler’s office by the deadline of Monday, August 3.
SPRINGFIELD – Taking aim at costly and burdensome overregulation of small business, the State Senate has given unanimous approval to a bipartisan bill introduced and sponsored in the Illinois House by State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) requiring a full-scale review across every state agency of rules, regulations and permitting processes.

The measure, HB 3887, aims to identify all state regulations that are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, or onerous to small business so they can be streamlined or eliminated. The first review would have to be completed within one year of the bill becoming law, with subsequent reviews to take place every 5 years thereafter.
Budget – FY16
·         House, Senate Democrats introduce fake State budget.  House and Senate Democrats introduced a series of spending bills for FY16 (starting July 1, 2015) that spends more than $4 billion what nonpartisan revenue estimates expect the state to bring in.  Ignoring their constitutional responsibility to enact a balanced budget, the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate rammed through spending bills they readily admit they cannot pay for, while at the same time walking away from the reform negotiations Governor Rauner has called for.
SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) reacted today following a series of votes in the Illinois House of Representatives to approve a partisan budget advanced by House Democrats that spends $4 Billion more than the state’s revenue projections:

“We heard a lot of rhetoric in Springfield today, but we didn’t hear anything about how to create Illinois jobs for Illinois families. Our colleagues on the other side of the aisle crafted this budget in the back halls of the Capitol without an ounce of input from anyone but themselves. The end result is, by their own admission, an unbalanced budget to the tune of $4 Billion. This ‘spend now, tax later’ approach to budget-making threatens to further drive jobs and opportunity out of state. The people of Illinois deserve and expect better.”
SPRINGFIELD - Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and members of the House Republican Caucus stand outside the State Armory to observe a moment of silence in honor of Illinois' fallen soldiers this Memorial Day.