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.