State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has released the results of his 2017 Winter Survey.

In February, Reick mailed the survey to approximately 35,000 District 63 households. An online version of the survey was also posted on his web site. Approximately 500 households participated. “The results of the survey fell right in line with the types of comments I hear every day from the people I represent,” said Reick. “They are fed up with the Democrat leaders’ tax-and-spend policies and want lawmakers to cut the wasteful spending and approve a balanced budget.”

The survey included 11 multiple choice questions and also provided participants with an opportunity to add additional feedback and suggestions through an open-ended question. When asked what they felt the most important issue currently affecting the State of Illinois was, 54% of the respondents pointed to budgets and deficits as the state’s largest problem, and an additional 21% said the need for pension reform was the state’s greatest challenge.

Respondents were split nearly 50-50 with regard to whether or not they had personally been affected by the budget impasse, and when asked how lawmakers should go about balancing the budget, the most popular response was to use a combination of budget cuts and new revenue (increased taxes). For that question a large number of respondents wrote in their own preferred method for budget management, with several asking legislators to take steps to eliminate all wasteful spending.

In recognition of the burden that unfunded mandates place on schools, 71% of those who participated in the survey said they would support a ban on unfunded mandates. In a question regarding the possible expansion of gambling in Illinois, again 71% said they were opposed to any further expansion of the gaming industry. On a question about a possible tax on services in Illinois, respondents were split almost down the middle, with a slight majority of respondents weighing in against a service industry tax.

“I appreciate everyone who took the time to respond to the survey and feel I have solid marching orders as the Springfield voice for northern McHenry County,” said Reick.

Click here to view the full survey results.
I want to thank everyone who participated in my recent legislative survey, which was mailed to District 63 residents in February. The survey was also available on my web site. In all, I collected about 500 responses. For the most part, the survey results were not surprising; the citizens of the 63rd District feel overtaxed and want Illinois to control spending and pass a budget. I consider all three of these issues to be top priorities.

In addition to the 11 primary questions, the survey also offered participants an opportunity to provide additional input and suggestions. I am reading every individual comment and the input will be valuable as I continue to serve as the legislative voice for northern McHenry County.

The results are as follows:

*Top "other" answers: High taxes, the need for term limits

*Top "other" answers: Cut waste, reduce the size of government,
don't raise taxes, oust Speaker Madigan

*Top "other" answers: Cut spending, reduce taxes, enact pension reform, oust Speaker Madigan

Recently the House of Representatives honored District 63 resident Hans Rokus for a stellar career as a basketball player, coach and athletic director, and also for an amazing job as a commentator of local basketball games and selfless community volunteer. On Monday, April 10 State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) was able to talk with Hans and his wife and present them with a copy of the resolution. You can read the entire text of the House Resolution here.

Seeking to provide additional protections for military personnel who are called to relocate in the course of their active duty, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) approved legislation today that would allow servicemen and women to terminate or suspend certain contractual services without penalty. HB 2449, which passed unanimously on the House floor, was Representative Rick’s first approved bill as an Illinois lawmaker.

Specifically, HB 2449 provides that any service member, at any time after receiving military orders to relocate for a period of service of at least 90 days, may terminate or suspend contracts for Internet services, television and cable services, athletic club or gym memberships or satellite radio services. Notice of the intent to terminate or suspend a contract may be delivered in writing or by email, and is effective on the day notice is given.

“The existing Illinois Service Member Civil Relief Act provides protections for deployed military personnel in areas such as insurance policies, cell phone contracts, car leases and rent, but over time gaps in the coverage were discovered,” said Reick. “This bill simply ensures our military personnel will not be penalized financially for payment lapses associated with contracts not included in the original Act.”

The bill also provides that a returning member of the military may reinstate the original provisions of contracts upon the completion of their service in the armed forces.

The bill was amended prior to passage to add language which provided the Attorney General with tools for enforcement of the bill’s provisions. The amendatory language states that a violation of the Act constitutes an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

“When our brave citizens answer the call to serve their country, they do so with an understanding that they may be called to relocate for extended periods of time,” Reick said. “I’m pleased to advance legislation that strengthens the protective measures that relate to their service contracts.”

HB 2449 received unanimous committee approval in March before the House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and I.T. Committee, and it will now be forwarded to the Senate for consideration.
Rep. Steve Reick Co-Sponsors Comprehensive Pension Reform Bill
Our state desperately needs pension reform, and this year I’m serving as a co-sponsor of a comprehensive, compromise pension reform bill that would provide significant savings for taxpayers.

The legislation, filed in Springfield as HB 4027, is a monumental showing of compromise on the part of the House Republican Caucus. It is modeled after legislation introduced in a bipartisan manner in the Senate. Specifically, HB 4027:
  • Includes Senate President John Cullerton’s “consideration model” that would require members of TRS, SURS, SERS, GARS, and CTPF to exchange their Tier 1 COLA for the right to have future raises to be counted as pensionable, or keep their COLA and sacrifice future raises as pensionable. 
  • Closes new member participation in GARS. 
  • Offers Tier 1 TRS, SURS, SERS and GARS employees the option to participate in a defined contribution (DC) plan. 
  • Creates a voluntary Tier 3 Hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plan for new Tier 2 employees under TRS, SURS, and certain SERS members who do not participate in Social Security.
  • Provides a one-time-only $215 million pension parity payment to the Chicago Public Schools. 
This compromise bill is drawn from prior language agreed to by Democrats and Republicans. It is estimated the State of Illinois will realize short-term savings of $2.25 billion dollars from the general funds, which represents a substantial step towards closing the deficit. The bill also ends pensions for legislators, which is long overdue (I rejected a pension for my legislative service). Most importantly, it is believed to be Constitutionally-sound. With more than half of the House Republican Caucus signed on as co-sponsors, I hope many Democrats will join us in our attempt to fix our failing pension systems once and for all.

McHenry County Rallies to Assist Families Displaced in Devastating Woodstock Fire
At about 3:00 in the morning on Saturday, March 25, fire and other emergency personnel responded to a massive fire at the Willow Brooke Apartments in Woodstock. Tragically, 32 families were displaced and some escaped with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. The City of Woodstock has established an Emergency Assistance Fund and is accepting monetary donations to assist victims with their financial needs as they deal with the losses they sustained from the fire. Click here for more information about how you can help. Representatives from the American Red Cross were on the scene immediately during the night and provided displaced tenants with hotel vouchers and other short-term items.

Marengo FFA Students Visit Capitol on “Ag Day”
Thursday was Agriculture Day in Springfield, and the Capitol was buzzing with high school students from chapters of Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs from throughout the state. I had an opportunity to visit with a great group of students from the Marengo High School FFA chapter. We had a nice talk and they brought me a lunch that featured a variety of Illinois-grown foods. The lunch was delicious, and I hope the hundreds of students who made the trip to Springfield enjoyed their day at the Capitol.

Reick Presents First Bill before House Revenue and Finance Committee
In Illinois we have seniors on fixed incomes who are missing out on a tax credit that most other taxpayers are able to receive. As my first bill as a lawmaker, on Thursday I presented a bill before the House Revenue & Finance Committee that would address this issue. The committee held a subject matter hearing on HB 3013, which would provide property tax relief to seniors over the age of 65 whose federal adjusted gross income is under $50,000. Specifically, the bill would allow those meeting the proposed eligibility threshold to enjoy a tax refund equal to 5% of the taxes paid on their principal residence. These fixed income seniors are some our most vulnerable citizens, and while the tax refund that was proposed does not represent a large amount of money, it could make a real difference for those who find themselves choosing between buying groceries or filling a prescription. 

IDOT Announces Route 47 Project through Woodstock will Proceed
There was some great news out of Springfield last week! On Wednesday, State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) and I hosted a group of public officials from the City of Woodstock in Springfield to meet with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). During the meeting, Secretary of Transportation Randy Blankenhorn expressed the importance of the Route 47 project and said it is one of IDOT’s top priorities. Woodstock officials were also told they are ahead of the game and are doing exactly what is needed to be done to ensure the project’s movement.

Woodstock Mayor Dr. Brian Sager was part of the group that attended the meeting downstate, and he said, “First, IDOT informed us Woodstock Route 47 Phase two is funded and will move forward, even in a time when other IDOT projects are being halted. Secondly, Secretary Blankenhorn informed us it is his expectation that actual construction of Route 47 will move forward with the completion of a Federal or State capital bill. These are substantial new developments.”

As part of preparing for the Phase two work on Route 47, IDOT representatives and the City of Woodstock are working to make final design updates as part of continuing public input from residents and businesses. I am glad to know that IDOT recognizes the importance of moving forward with the Route 47 project. For safety purposes alone it is a project that cannot be delayed. The economic and traffic flow improvements that will also result are additional benefits that will be very welcomed in this community and region.

Veterans Resource Fair and Employment Event Set for April 27 in McHenry
Several agencies and groups are coming together to provide a free Veterans Resource Fair and Employment event on Thursday, April 27 in McHenry. The all-day event will be held at the McHenry VFW Post, 3002 W. Route 120 in McHenry. The Resource Fair will be available from 9:00 AM until 1:30 PM, and the employment event will be open to veterans only from 2:00-2:30 and available to veterans and the public from 2:30 until 4:30. Just some of the booths that will be available include:
  • VA Disability Claims Screenings
  • Employment Services
  • Legal Counseling
  • Information, Referrals, Advocacy
  • Employers Ready to Hire (so bring your resume!)
  • A free lunch for veterans
The event is sponsored by the Veterans Assistance Commission, TLS Veterans, the IL Department of Employment Security, the McHenry County Community Foundations and the Capt. J.A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. If you are a veteran or help care for one, you don’t want to miss this comprehensive event. For more information please call the Veterans Assistance Commission at (815) 334-4229.