State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) spoke to students at Aurora University this morning about the legislative process and answered questions about the challenges facing the Illinois General Assembly as well as his work serving the residents of Kane and Kendall Counties.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY
·         First week of veto session.  The Illinois House met on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.  On the agenda were vetoes issued by the Governor to the General Assembly earlier this year.  Chief sponsors of the vetoed bills could ask their colleagues to consider voting to override the veto messages.  Overriding a governor’s veto requires a three-fifth majority in both houses of the General Assembly. 

In addition to veto motions, the House also voted on housekeeping and sunset-law measures to be passed before the end of the calendar year.  An example of this pre-end-of-year housekeeping was SB 1381, a bipartisan bill to maintain the State’s unemployment insurance (UI) system and UI laws for calendar years 2018 and 2019.

Under the Illinois Constitution, the General Assembly is scheduled to meet for a second and final week of veto session in the first full week of November.  Bill actions taken by each house of the General Assembly this week can be taken up by the other chamber during the session’s second week.  Persons interested in individual bills can look up the up-to-the-minute status of each bill in Veto Session on the General Assembly website.    


State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) speaks during debate against HB 4117 on Thursday, gun control legislation that was defeated by a vote of 48-54 moments later.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
·         Plans unveiled for Illinois Innovation Network.  Governor Bruce Rauner and the University of Illinois System unveiled plans Thursday for an Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to help ignite the state’s economy through a $1.2 billion network of research universities, businesses, and public sector partners focused on the development of solutions in computing and big data, advanced materials, food and agriculture, and biosciences and health.

The network will help ensure a knowledge-based, 21st century economy in Illinois where discovery and innovation are the focal points. The plan is to nurture the inventors and entrepreneurs of tomorrow by allowing them to hone their talents in Illinois. The network will be led by the University of Illinois System, with universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield and satellite campuses in Peoria and Rockford. The University of Chicago and Northwestern University will be inaugural partners. 
BUDGET
·         State report: Budget out of balance by $1.7 billion.  The state’s fiscal year 2018 budget is out of balance by $1.7 billion, according to a fiscal policy report released Thursday by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The imbalance might have been avoided if the General Assembly had enacted $2 billion in reforms proposed by the Rauner Administration and Republican leaders earlier this year.

The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Policy Report provides a five-year economic outlook based on the budget along with state and national growth forecasts. The GOMB compiles the report, which is available for public view at https://www.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Pages/PolicyReports.aspx.

In the report, GOMB Director Scott Harry asserts that with stronger economic growth accompanied by spending controls, Illinois could achieve budget surpluses and reduce its bill backlog to an estimated $500 million by the end of fiscal year 2023.
NORTH AURORA –Small business owner and State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) released the following statement today in response to the Cook County Board Finance Committee’s vote to repeal the controversial tax on sweetened beverages effective December 1. Representative Wheeler is Chief Co-Sponsor of House Bill 4082, legislation that would repeal the tax at the state level had the Cook County Board failed to take action:

“I applaud the Cook County commissioners who listened to their constituents and voted to repeal the pop tax today,” Representative Wheeler said. “In just a short time, the pop tax was crushing small and family-owned retailers in Cook County, the very men and women who are the backbone of our economy from Lake-Cook Road to the Indiana state line. Today is a victory for taxpayers and for job creators.”

The full Cook County Board is expected to vote Wednesday to formally accept today's move to repeal by the Finance Committee.

Representative Wheeler serves the 50th District, which includes portions of west suburban Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills, Elburn, Montgomery, Oswego, Plano, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.

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BUDGET 
·         COGFA: September Income Tax Gains Reflect Rate Changes, Federal Sources Unable to Maintain Momentum.  A monthly State of Illinois revenue report for September was published this week by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). The commission, a nonpartisan arm of the General Assembly, tracks State revenues coming in through the Department of Revenue and other departments, and compares these revenue flows to national and worldwide economic trends.  Their goal is to help lawmakers develop an objective picture of future tax-based cash flows during the remainder of FY18 and in future Illinois fiscal years.