More than 150 seniors and their care givers attended a free senior fair on Thursday that was sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock).

Dozens of state, county and local agencies and organizations filled the community room of Woodstock’s Lutheran Church for the two-hour event. “It was my pleasure to bring together under one roof so many agencies that assist seniors with quality of life issues,” said Reick. “I hope the District 63 Senior Fair becomes an annual event.
Legislators Back in Springfield to Tackle School Funding for FY 2018
Lawmakers are back in Springfield today to tackle the issue of K-12 Education funding for the 2017-2018 school year. Even though SB 01 passed the House and Senate in May, it is currently being held back from the Governor’s desk through a procedural maneuver. The purpose of this stall tactic is purely political, with the Chicago Democrat-led super majority in the Senate using the potential crisis of some schools not opening as leverage in their scheme. Using children as pawns in a political game of chess is completely unacceptable.

Just like the budget fiasco that was settled in early July, the people of Illinois are tired of these political cliffhangers. These games are no laughing matter and my House Republican colleagues and I will not tolerate their attempts to hold the start of school hostage until they get yet another bailout for Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

The recently passed budget contains $778 million in funding for K-12 public schools. The major complaint that we share with the current version of SB 1 is that Chicago would receive a disproportionate share of these education dollars. The way the bill currently reads, 64% of all new funds ($495 million of the $778 million) for education are directed to Chicago Public Schools, despite the fact that they only have 19% of the state's students.

Also, $215 million of the $495 million allocated to Chicago in the current version of SB 01 would be used to pay Chicago teacher pension system payments in perpetuity. That redirection of state funding would be unprecedented and is not something we can support. That pension payment, in combination with the block grant that CPS gets for special education and transportation services, along with regular general state aid payments to CPS would give Chicago schools three bites at the funding apple. That is fundamentally unfair.

I support a plan that eliminates that extra $215 million payment to CPS pensions and allows that money to be redistributed through the new evidence based model formula so that every school district in the state is treated the same.

In order to fix SB 1 to reflect our priorities for public schools in Illinois, we are supporting a plan offered by Governor Rauner that includes a “re-write” of SB 01 via the amendatory veto tool that the Governor has at his disposal. This re-write would mean that those extra pension payments for Chicago would be eliminated and a more fair and equitable distribution of funding to K-12 schools can occur.

The 63rd District is home to 42 public schools. Applying the Governor’s proposed fix to SB 01 would mean that all of the schools in the 63rd District will receive more funding than if the bill becomes law with the Chicago bailout language included. The chart to the right illustrates how the school districts in this area would be affected by SB 01 as written, and with the fixes proposed by Governor Rauner.

I urge Senate President John Cullerton to release his hold on SB 01 and allow the Governor to amendatorily veto SB 01. This will ensure our schools will open on time and that Chicago does not get a bigger piece of the education budget than they should. We need a deal that is fair to all taxpayers, and we need to take action to fix SB 01 without delay.

Reick Senior Fair Set for Thursday, July 27
This week on Thursday, July 27, I invite all seniors from the 63rd District to attend a free Senior Fair that will be held in Woodstock. For this community outreach event, my staff and I are bringing several not-for-profit organizations, businesses and medical professionals together under one roof. The fair will take place from 10:00 AM until noon at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 401 St. John’s Road in Woodstock. Seniors and those who help care for them can visit booths staffed by agencies that assist seniors, and register for a chance to win a door prize. Helpful guides, literature and other resources from state, county and local government agencies will also be available. No pre-registration is necessary. For additional information, please contact my district office at (815) 880-5340.

Rep. Reick Sets Mobile Office Hours at McHenry Library
The 63rd District is geographically quite large, so this summer and fall I’m bringing my office to my constituents through a series of mobile office hours events. Two weeks ago I held a very successful event in Woodstock, and next week I am making myself available on Tuesday, August 1, from 10:00 AM until noon at the McHenry Public Library, located at 809 Front Street in McHenry. These outreach events provide me with an excellent opportunity to connect with the people I represent in Springfield. By talking with constituents and learning about the state issues that are important to them, I’m able to bring their priorities to Springfield by serving as their voice. No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on my web site at www.repstevenreick.com

Floodwaters Begin to Recede; Cleanup Projects Underway
The flooding in our region over the last two weeks has been unprecedented, with an estimated 7,000 buildings/homes suffering significant damage. On July 14, Governor Rauner visited affected communities and issued a disaster declaration for many counties, including McHenry, Lake and Kane. Upon making the declaration, he also directed Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director James Joseph to activate the State Emergency Operations Center as needed to coordinate any requests for assistance from flood-impacted communities.

Please visit the McHenry County web site for comprehensive information about available resources for those affected and about how homeowners can report their flood damage. A helpful “Frequently Asked Questions” document has also been made available by the Illinois Department of Emergency Management. You can access that document here.

Cooling Stations are Ready to Help Illinois Residents Battle the Summer Heat
As part of Illinois' Keep Cool Illinois campaign, over 120 state facilities are now available as cooling centers. The cooling centers will provide Illinoisans a place to stay cool and comfortable during hot summer days. The following locations offer free cooling centers for Illinoisans:
  • Tollway Oasis locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 
  • Department of Human Services cooling centers are open during normal business hours from 8:30AM - 5:00PM, Monday through Friday.
Click here to find a cooling station near you. For more information about DHS Cooling Centers, please call the Illinois Department of Human Services hotline at (800) 843-6154 during normal business hours.
State Representative Steve Reick is continuing with his mobile office hours tour next week with an event planned at the McHenry Public Library.

On Tuesday, August 1, residents from the 63rd Legislative House District are invited to meet with Reick between 10:00 AM and noon at the library, located at 809 Front Street in McHenry. “I enjoy these outreach events because they provide me with an excellent opportunity to connect with the people I represent in Springfield,” said Reick. “By talking with constituents and learning about the state issues that are important to them, I am able to bring their priorities to Springfield by serving as their voice.”

No appointment is needed, and in addition to Reick staffing the event, a member of his staff will be available to assist constituents with state issues. “I look forward to talking one-on-one with people as I bring my office to them in their own community,” said Reick.

Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Reick’s web site at www.repstevenreick.com.
Seniors from the 63rd Legislative House District in McHenry County are invited to attend a free Senior Fair sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) on Thursday, July 27. The fair will take place from 10:00 AM until noon at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 401 St. John’s Road in Woodstock.

Seniors and those who help care for them can visit booths staffed by agencies that assist seniors, and register for a chance to win a door prize. Helpful guides, literature and other resources from state, county and local government agencies will also be available. Refreshments will be served.

“My staff and I are bringing several not-for-profit organizations, businesses and medical professionals together under one roof,” said Reick. “These professionals focus on improving the lives of senior citizens, so I expect it will be a very well-attended event.”

No pre-registration is necessary. For additional information, please contact Rep. Reick’s district office at (815) 880-5340.
Reick Stands Up to Madigan Pressure; Votes Against $5 Billion Tax Hike
The two-year budget impasse ended last week on July 6 when members of the House of Representatives overrode a series of budget-related vetoes by Governor Rauner. Sadly, the already overtaxed citizens of this state will once again have to reach deeper into their pockets to fund the tax-and-spend status quo in our State.

On behalf of every struggling family in McHenry County, I stood up to the pressure of Mike Madigan and public sector unions and voted No on the massive income tax hike. I was not sent to Springfield to raise taxes on the people I represent. I was sent to Springfield to fight for substantive property tax relief. Nothing even remotely resembling property tax relief was brought to the floor for our consideration.

Despite the efforts of most of my Republican colleagues and me, the three quick votes taken last Thursday essentially made Illinois an even less desirable place to work and live. As a result of the overrides, taxes on Illinois families will increase by 32% retroactive to July 1. The $5 billion in new revenue will be collected by permanently increasing the individual income tax rate to 4.95% and the corporate rate to 7%. I was vocal with my opposition to the tax increase when it was debated on the floor of the House. Click here to watch those comments.

I am deeply disappointed that rather than seeking a broad, bipartisan consensus on a balanced budget with reforms, Speaker Madigan and the majority Democrats chose to walk away from productive negotiations with Republicans which were nearing agreement at the end of June. Instead of completing work on an agreement that would help struggling taxpayers, grow jobs and boost the Illinois economy, no legislation in these critical areas was brought forward for a vote. In the end, many lawmakers succumbed to what one of my Republican colleagues referred to as a “blackmail budget.” We will have a continuation of the same failed policies of the past; it will just be costlier for taxpayers.

In total, McHenry County taxpayers are now on the hook for an additional $173.7 million in taxes. Click here to access a calculator to determine how much the $5 billion tax increase will cost your family.

Reick Launches Mobile Office Hours Tour
The 63rd District is geographically very large, and starting next week I’ll be bringing my office to you. On Wednesday, July 12, I will hold the first of a series of mobile office hours events. This first event will take place at the Woodstock Public Library, located at 414 W Judd St, from 10:00 AM until noon. The public is invited to stop by and share their comments and concerns about the State of Illinois.

I plan to personally staff these events so I can talk one-on-one with the people I represent. My staff will also be available to help explain the services my office can provide. No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on my web site at www.repstevenreick.com.

Capitol Building on Lockdown Prior to Budget Override Votes
For two hours on Thursday afternoon, the Illinois Capitol was on lockdown after a woman threw a powdery substance into the office of Governor Bruce Rauner and at other locations on the second floor of the building. As a precaution, the ventilation system was turned off while the substance was analyzed. The Springfield Fire Department and a Hazardous Materials Unit were called to the scene, and the substance was removed and later determined to be non-threatening. I must tip my hat to the first responders, because they arrived immediately, and were thorough with their on-site investigation into the incident. The woman who threw the powdery substance was arrested and eventually released. The Sangamon County State’s Attorney is investigating the incident and will decide if charges will be filed. After the Capitol was deemed safe, I was interviewed by a local television news reporter. You can watch that interview here.

Prior to Override Votes, Reick Joins Lawmakers on Chicago Tonight
On Wednesday evening, the day before the override votes, I joined State Representatives David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), Margo McDermed (R-Frankfort) and Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) on Chicago Tonight to discuss the budget impasse and why we each voted the way we did on the tax increase and budget bills. Click here to watch the Chicago Tonight segment.
Gavers Community Cancer Foundation Barndance Set for This Saturday
On Saturday, July 15, the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation will hold its annual Barndance fundraiser at Emricson Park, 900 W South Street in Woodstock from 5:00 PM until midnight. In its 15th year, the Foundation has raised over $6 million for cancer programs. The Gavers Foundation is named after cancer survivor Steve Gavers, and 100% of the event proceeds go to cancer programs. This 21 & older event sells out every year and tickets are required. Click here for more information about this very worthwhile event in our community or to purchase tickets.

Reick: “It’s Time for Chicago to Start Paying It’s Fair Share”
During a Committee of the Whole meeting a few weeks ago, I spoke about how property tax bills are calculated in Chicago as compared to how they are calculated in all other parts of the state. As an example of the inequity that exists in taxation, I pointed to House Speaker Mike Madigan's Chicago home, which has a fair market value of $294,000 and a recent property tax bill of $4,600. I then ran Madigan’s exact tax information through the formula used for the rest of the state, and determined that the Speaker's house, if it was located in Woodstock, would have a property tax bill of over $11,000, which is more than 2 1/2 times what he paid in property taxes for his $294,000 home in Chicago. Click here to watch my floor comments during the property tax discussion leading up to the initial passage of the bill.

We're not going to get property tax reform until Chicago begins to pay taxes the same way the rest of us do. This chart shows how much Speaker Madigan would pay in property taxes if his home was in a city in each of his Democrat caucus' district outside of Chicago. If Chicago won't pay its fair share, it has no business coming to the rest of us for bailouts and other preferential treatment.

Illinois State Police Recruiting: Deadline for Applying is July 15th
The Illinois State Police Merit Board is currently processing applications for Cadet Class 127, tentatively scheduled for February 4, 2018. In order to be considered for Cadet Class 127, the Merit Board must receive your completed application and required documentation by July 15, 2017. Click here for additional information.

Education Requirement Update
Effective July 1, 2017, Any person who has been honorably discharged who served in a combat mission by proof of hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay during deployment on active duty, or has served 3 years of full active and continuous military duty and received an honorable discharge, meets the collegiate educational requirement of the Department of State Police.
In an effort to make himself available to as many of his constituents as possible, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is hosting the first in a series of mobile office hours events next week on Wednesday, July 12 at the Woodstock Public Library. Reick will have a table set up at the library, located at 414 W Judd St, from 10:00 AM until noon. The public is invited to stop by to meet their State Representative and share their comments and concerns about the State of Illinois.

“As long as I am not in Springfield, I will personally staff these events so I can talk one-on-one with the people I represent,” said Reick. “I can help explain the services my office can provide while talking with people about the issues that are important to them. I hope to see many residents of the 63rd Legislative House District at this or future mobile office hours events throughout the district.”

No appointment is needed. Future mobile office hours dates and locations will be posted on Reick’s web site at www.repstevenreick.com.

On Wednesday, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) appeared with three colleagues on Chicago Tonight to discuss the votes earlier this week on the tax increase and budget. Reick voted against both measures, pointing to his constituents’ desperate need for property tax relief in exchange for an increase in income tax rates. Click here to watch the Chicago Tonight segment.
After more than two years without a budget, on Sunday lawmakers narrowly approved a permanent large increase in the individual and corporate income tax rates in Illinois. Shortly after that vote, a spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018 was also approved. 

While both bills are expected to be approved in the Senate, Governor Bruce Rauner has vowed to veto the measures when they hit his desk.

During the debate on SB 09, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) spoke about the need for lawmakers to reform the State’s tax system. Click here to watch Rep. Reick’s full floor comments on SB 09.