SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego), a 25-year small business owner of an information technology consulting firm, applauded Governor Bruce Rauner’s action today to create the new Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT). The agency will transform the state’s information technology functions into one agency to provide better service to Illinois residents and businesses.

The Governor signed Executive Order 16-01 on Monday creating a strategic, statewide technology plan to accelerate Illinois’ modernization. All information technology decisions and spending will be centralized and consolidated under this new agency. DoIT will develop statewide IT solutions that take a 360-degree view of a resident or business. This will allow the state to use data to provide more tailored services while reducing inefficiencies and costs to taxpayers.

"Saving taxpayer dollars and making state government more efficient and accountable in the use of technology is a significant step forward,” Rep. Wheeler said. “For the past 25 years, my private-sector career has been providing IT solutions to Chicagoland’s best small businesses, not-for-profits, local governments, and public safety agencies. I am very excited to see the State of Illinois moving in the direction of modernizing our IT infrastructure to better serve Illinois families and taxpayers.”
FY16 Budget

·         University of Illinois: declining State credit levying a cost on taxpayers.  Illinois is ranked 50th of 50 in terms of its financial probity and ability to repay its debts, according to the collective judgment of the three New York-based credit rating firms (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings).  Despite this poor rating, Illinois infrastructure needs continue to demand an urgent response and, on January 14, Illinois sold $480 million in new bonded debt backed by tax revenue.  The interest rates demanded by bond buyers reflected the State’s sub-optimal credit rating.  As some of the bonds are denominated with maturity dates as far out as 25 years from now, these interest rates will be paid by Illinois taxpayers for many years. 

It is possible, by comparing Illinois’ credit rating and interest rates with the credit ratings and interest rates enjoyed by higher-rated states, such as Indiana, to estimate the costs of Illinois’ current fiscal situation upon future taxpayers.  The nonpartisan University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) estimated that Illinois taxpayers will pay an additional $53 million on the January 14 bond sale over and above what would have had been pledged to be paid had the State kept its fiscal house in order.
Budget – Illinois Bond Sale

·         $480 million in new State debt sold on Wall Street.   Proceeds from the package of borrowings, or “tranche,” will be dedicated to the physical needs of State infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.  Although this is new Illinois debt, it was not newly authorized by the General Assembly; it replaces millions of dollars in old debts that were paid off on or before the end of calendar year 2015, legally clearing the way for new bonds to be sold.  The underwriting activity and sale  took place on Thursday, January 14.

The sale included bonds set to mature on a variety of dates and bearing a range of interest rates, with higher rates of interest payable on the longer-maturity bonds.  The bonds will mature from 2017 through 2041.  The average interest rate demanded by investors was 3.9989%, but 25-year Illinois bonds set to mature in 2041 will pay 4.27%.  Bond watchers stated this 25-year rate will force Illinois taxpayers to pay a premium of 1.61% (161 basis points) above the interest rate that an AAA-rated issuer would be required to pay for similar top-rated long term bonded debt.
This coming Monday, January 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Serve Illinois, the state's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, is encouraging Illinoisans to get involved and make a difference by volunteering for an MLK Day project in your local area.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each year, thousands of Illinoisans make the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday "a day on, not a day off." This year Serve Illinois asks you to join your neighbors in giving back. Below, please find details on service projects that are planned by Serve Illinois partners. You can also search for more projects by visiting www.serve.illinois.gov.

For more information on the day of service, please visit MLKDay.gov.
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) recently toured an industrial machine facility in Itasca, whose new distributor is Machine Tool Diagnostics in Montgomery, Illinois; right here in the 50th District. Rep. Wheeler spoke about the outlook for Illinois manufacturers heading into 2016 and their importance to our state and local economy. Wheeler's visit was highlighted in this month's edition of Manufacturing News.
Get to know State Rep. Keith Wheeler in this legislator profile from the Illinois News Network.

237 new state laws took effect on Friday, January 1 in Illinois. Unfortunately, a balanced budget is not among them.

Several of the new laws affect children, veterans and the elderly. Others affect drivers and consumers.