·        The Tax Foundation issues mixed rating for Illinois’ tax structure.  The Washington-based nonpartisan study institute monitors the tax laws of all 50 states, and issues comparative rankings based on what they find.  States are ranked not only on the financial burdens imposed by their tax laws but also by the administrative burden of filling out income-reporting forms and complying with each tax.  

The Tax Foundation’s overall 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index asserts that Illinois’ tax structure has major strengths and weaknesses.  Illinois’ Income Tax Act scored highly, with the Tax Foundation applying a formula that granted credits to the tax law’s flat tax rate and to our relatively simple income-reporting laws and rules.  Illinois’ income tax scored 13th among the 50 states, parallel to other major Midwestern states such as Michigan (12th) and Indiana (15th).

However, the Tax Foundation did not see Illinois’ high property tax rates and complex Property Tax Code as healthy policy traits.  Illinois’ property tax rates and structure were scored only 45th among the 50 states, far lower than the scores posted by states with constitutional caps on their property taxes such as Indiana (2nd) and Colorado (12th).     

·        Illinois unemployment rate matches lowest on record.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in August and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -5,200 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The July job gain was revised down slightly from its initial report to show no growth. (+0 jobs versus +3,700 jobs). 

Job growth moderated in the June to August period posting average monthly gains of +4,000 jobs over this three-month period, less than the prior 3-month average monthly gain of +8,300 jobs between May and July 2018.
· Illinois prepared to assist states impacted by Hurricane Florence.  Governor Bruce Rauner announced Thursday that Illinois is prepared to provide personnel and other support to states that may be impacted by Hurricane Florence. 

Ten Illinois Army National Guard soldiers and two helicopters have deployed to support relief efforts in North Carolina. The crews left from Peoria's 238th Aviation Battalion and Kankakee's 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment. They will provide support for up to 10 days. All costs associated with the deployment will be paid for by the Tar Heel state.  

·        Mike Marron sworn in as 104th District State Representative.  Vermilion County Board Chairman Mike Marron was sworn-in Friday to serve as the new 104th District State Representative. Marron is succeeding retiring State Representative Chad Hays, who had served in office since 2010. Marron, who succeeds both Hays and legendary State Representative Bill Black, thanked both men for their leadership. 
NORTH AURORA – The Illinois Chamber of Commerce today named State Representative Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, a “Champion of Free Enterprise” for his voting record during the 2017-2018 legislative session. The Illinois Chamber’s Legislative Ratings tracks votes important to the state’s business community and grades legislators based on their support of pro-business issues during the two-year legislative session.

Among bills included in the report are the 32% tax increase, proposed red tape for call center operators, an electricity rate increase, expensive regulations to internet website operators, a $15 an hour minimum wage, a gross receipts tax on investment management services, and fake workers’ compensation reform.  However, not all was bad.  The Chamber included votes on legislation that will bring Illinois to the forefront of 5G internet, state preemption of autonomous vehicles, comprehensive procurement reform, and renewing the state’s vital EDGE tax credit.

“I am proud to stand with the men and women of our state and local business community,” Representative Wheeler said. “They are the catalysts of growth and innovation here in the Fox Valley. Together we can create Illinois jobs for Illinois families in the midst of a strengthening economy.”