State Representative Steve Reick has signed on as a leading Chief-Co-Sponsor of legislation that would take the General Assembly map-drawing process out of the hands of politicians and allow the people of Illinois to submit map proposals for consideration by an independent redistricting commission.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for fair maps,” said Reick. “A recent Paul Simon Institute poll indicates that 72% percent of Illinois’ citizens believe gerrymandered maps are wrong because they allow partisan politicians to draw maps that favor members of their own political party and all but guarantee continued control. HJRCA 46 takes politics out of the process and improves the integrity of our elections. Most importantly, this legislation takes into account previous fair maps proposals that have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts and addresses those points in a manner that should withstand a court challenge.”

The constitutional amendment seeks to amend the Legislature Article of the Illinois Constitution by replacing the current method for redrawing Senate and House districts with the creation of an independent redistricting commission. The commission, appointed equally by the four legislative leaders from the Republican and Democrat caucuses, would score maps submitted for consideration using a detailed rubric.

“HJRCA 46 would direct the redistricting commission members to provide the public with necessary data and tools with which to create map proposals,” Reick said. “The maps would be scored using a multi-faceted rubric and the three top-ranked map proposals would be brought to the House and Senate, where a three-fifths vote would be required for passage of one of the three maps. In the event an agreement is not reached, the Secretary of State would certify the best-ranked redistricting map proposal and it would become law. This legislation ensures a transparent, objective and fair process that allows the citizens of Illinois and an independent commission to drive the process; not politicians looking to protect their seats in the General Assembly.”

If approved, the Constitutional Amendment would apply to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the election that is held in 2022.

In addition to HJRCA 46, Reick joined all members of the House Republican Caucus on Wednesday in filing HR 995, which expresses support for independent redistricting reform and advocates for a non-partisan map-making process by the upcoming redistricting cycle.
On Wednesday, members of the House of Representatives approved HB 4237, which proposes to offer taxpayers an opportunity to receive a tax incentive in exchange for making a charitable contribution toward public education in Illinois. The sponsor called his bill an Illinois workaround for recent changes to federal tax law which limit tax deductions, but State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), a tax attorney for 35 years, spoke against the bill, claiming it would not withstand IRS muster. Click the image above to watch Reick's floor debate.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and other House Republicans on Tuesday to announce the filing of HR 975, a measure that states opposition to a proposed progressive income tax on Illinois residents.

“The General Assembly cannot continue spending money frivolously and expect Illinois taxpayers to pick up the tab with more tax increases like this progressive income tax proposal from the Democrat Party,” said Durkin. “It is our constitutional duty to protect our constituents, and we will remain firm as a caucus on blocking any progressive tax measures.”

According to Reick, there are currently two progressive income tax proposals pending in the Senate and one proposal pending in the House. “In the 63rd District we are in the unenviable position of sharing our northern border with the State of Wisconsin, said Reick. “We have a better view than most of people fleeing our state.”

Reick pointed to a recent WalletHub study that indicated that Illinois already has the highest effective state and local tax burden in the nation, and said a progressive income tax is not the solution to Illinois’ financial problems. “The one thing Illinois actually does right is its flat income tax system,” Reick said. “Making taxes become a tool rather than a bludgeon to the taxpayers of this state will bring people back, create jobs and make us all better off.”

Click here to watch the press conference.



Members of the Illinois House of Representatives recognized the 100th anniversary of the McHenry County Home and Community Education (HCE) organization on Monday with the passage of an honorary House Resolution sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock).

McHenry County formed its first homemakers group in April of 1918 with a purpose of providing ongoing research-based educational programs to the communities in the county. The official name of the organization changed many times over the last 100 years, but the group has always been fondly known simply as the “McHenry County Homemakers.”

Upon its establishment in McHenry County, 300 women came together and viewed the organization as an important source for knowledge in important areas such as how to be a better homemaker, raise the quality of their lives and the lives of their families, and contribute to the community. In 1924 the group assumed responsibility for organizing 4-H Clubs and was involved in the effort to have every farm and small town in McHenry County enjoy safe running water systems in their homes. The Homemakers were also active in the push to have each McHenry County farm have electricity in both the home and the barn.

Click here to read the resolution.
Today is National Agriculture Day in Illinois, and State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is joining Governor Bruce Rauner in encouraging Illinoisans to celebrate the rich agricultural heritage of the state. This is the 45th anniversary of National Ag Day and this year’s theme is “Agriculture: Food for Life.”

“As one of our largest industries, a thriving agricultural sector is crucial for the future viability and prosperity of Illinois,” Gov. Rauner said. “The billions of dollars generated from agricultural production, processing, and manufacturing in Illinois strengthen our rural and urban economies, providing quality jobs across the state. I hope that young Illinoisans recognize the variety of significant roles in agriculture and take advantage of those opportunities.”

Career paths in agriculture have greatly expanded from traditional farm roles to also include agribusiness management, sales and accounting, agronomy, pest control, and a wealth of technical roles. USDA projections show that job opportunities in the agricultural and environmental industries are expected to grow through the year 2020. However, colleges and universities currently train only enough students to fill 61% of the expected 57,900 average annual job openings in those industries. These figures highlight the importance of encouraging young Illinoisans to join and advance the state’s agriculture sector.

In 2017, Illinois had a record high corn yield and a three percent increase in soybean production from the previous year. Home to more than 72,000 farms, Illinois ranks first in soybean and pumpkin production, second in corn production, and fourth in pork production. Additionally, the state leads the nation in food processing sales.

According to the Agriculture Council of America, the amount of people each American farmer feeds has increased from 25 in the 1960s, to more than 165 people today.
Lawmakers Move Bills Through Committees
Legislators finished a busy week in Springfield on Thursday, as dozens of House Bills moved through the committee process and several pieces of legislation made their way to the floor of the House for full debates and votes. As is typical this time of the year, we spent a great deal of time in committees so members’ bills could be heard prior to the April 13 committee action deadline. Lawmakers are now back in their home districts for four weeks to tend to local constituent needs. We return to Springfield on Monday, April 9.

Reick Chosen to Serve on House Higher Education Committee
I’m pleased to announce that effective immediately, I’ll be serving on the Illinois House of Representatives’ Higher Education Committee. I’ll join eight other Republicans and 12 Democrats on the committee, which is charged with considering policy initiatives that would affect the quality and cost of higher education at Illinois’ 12 public institutions of higher learning. This committee meets regularly in Springfield during the regular session months between January and the end of May each year. Since education is one of my key areas of interest, this is an excellent committee assignment. I already serve on two of the K-12 Education committees and I’m pleased to now extend my service to the higher education committee discussions. 

Reick Joins Bipartisan Lawmakers in Urging Governor Rauner to Release County Fair Funding
In McHenry County, students who participate in FFA and 4-H programs look forward to the county fair and the livestock auction at the fair every summer. These auctions offer our youth the opportunity to sell their agriculture products, and many use the money they make from their animals to help pay for college. On Thursday, I joined several Illinois legislators and county fair officials at the Illinois Capitol to showcase the positive economic benefit county fairs bring to the state and urge the Governor to release $1.4 million in funding that was appropriated as part of the current fiscal year budget. 

During the press conference, the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs (IAAF) highlighted the results of a University of Illinois Extension Department of Community and Economic Development study, which revealed that county fairs bring $170 million annually to the state’s economy and support 1,000 non-fair related jobs. In addition to the economic benefit of county fairs, the agricultural component of county fairs is part and parcel of a comprehensive agriculture education in Illinois. With agriculture being our state’s largest industry, it is necessary for us to continue bringing people into the industry, and its incumbent upon us to provide these students with a proper agriculture education.

Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) Releases Reveneue Estimate for Fiscal Year 2019
COGFA, the nonpartisan accounting and State budget-forecasting arm of the Illinois General Assembly, has published its initial estimate of Illinois general revenues for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. For the fiscal year that will start on July 1, 2018, the current forecast is for receipts to continue to increase over FY 2018 levels, albeit at a slower pace than the increase enjoyed in FY 2017. General funds revenues are expected to increase by approximately 3.0% in FY19 over FY18, exclusive of transfer lines. This equates to an increase of $1,029 million in FY19 general funds revenues, from an expected $34,804 million in FY18 to $35,833 million in FY19. While this is a healthy increase, it is once again not sufficient for the State of Illinois to pay its mandated share of the ever-rising cost of medical care for Medicaid line items, cover actuarially required pension cost increases, and pay back old bills in FY19.

My hope is that the legislators in the House of Representatives utilize this data and approve an agreed revenue estimate that will guide budget discussions. The Constitutions requires a balanced budget, and we must agree on projected revenues before we begin allocating monies to be spent.

House Takes Action in Wake of Mass Shooting at Florida School
The Second Amendment is a core element of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. The application of the Second Amendment to protect people’s ability to own and keep a firearm has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court and our Illinois Supreme Court, and I support every American’s Second Amendment rights, as well as all of the other freedoms that we enjoy. Any measure to limit our Constitutional freedoms inflicts a collective punishment upon law-abiding citizens without providing the due process protections that are the foundation of living in a free society. 

Six different gun control bills were brought to the floor of the House for a vote recently. Of these bills, one dealt with an issue that would be better dealt with at the Federal level, one was a clear attempt to burden small businesses, and the others went beyond the issue of ensuring public safety and stepped into the realm of infringing upon core Constitutional rights. Thus, I could not support any of the bills. None of the bills examined the mental health issues that appear to be so big a part of these recent killings, but I’m currently working with one of my House colleagues on legislation that would allow for lethal violence orders of protections against gun owners who have displayed clear signs of mental illness and intent to harm others. As future gun legislation reaches the floor of the House, I will examine each bill through the lens of preserving our due process protections as well as our Second Amendment rights.

Illinois House Passes Bills Intended to Assess Hospitals for Federal Healthcare Funding
Under current federal law, part of Illinois’ federal funding for health care is raised through an assessment process. Funds are collected from Illinois hospitals and used as seed money to request matching funds from Washington, D.C. SB 1573 and SB 1773 allow this assessment program to continue with cash flows reflecting ongoing changes in health care and the health care professions. At the end of February, the House passed SB 1573 by a vote of 110-0-1 and passed SB 1773 by a vote of 107-0-0.

Passage of these two bills was necessary because the current 2008 hospital assessment program will sunset on June 30, 2018. Enactment of this legislation will bring $3.5 billion in federal money into our State to support its healthcare infrastructure. Through a six-month-long cycle of meetings chaired on a bipartisan basis by members of the Illinois General Assembly, Illinois hospitals agreed to the specifications of the new assessment system. One key element of the new assessment system is a program of enhanced funding for challenged Illinois hospitals, including rural and inner-city safety-net hospitals. Of the money generated by these measures, 58% is expected to go to safety-net hospitals.

Illinois Praised as Good Location for Future Job Creation
The rating was bestowed by “Site Selection” Magazine, a CEO-oriented periodical and database that compiles information on the relative activities of U.S. locations for business relocation and job growth. Illinois ranked third in the number of new and expanded facilities per capital tracked by the periodical database, in a ranking called the “Governor’s Cup” by the magazine.

Commentators said Illinois was honored for its transportation infrastructure and relatively affordable real estate. More than 400 new and expanded facilities were tracked moving to or expanding in greater Chicago, exclusive of Lake County, in the 2017 Governor’s Cup rankings. This benchmark, which made greater Chicago the #1 U.S. metropolitan area tracked by “Site Selection” with a population of 1 million or more, powered Illinois’ overall standings. However, Illinois’ strength was not limited to greater Chicago. Three Illinois areas defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as “micropolitan areas,” population centers in predominantly rural environments with a population between 10,000 and 50,000, also scored highly. Strong Illinois micropolitan areas were Ottawa-Peru, Effingham, and Rochelle. All three regions are places where transcontinental railroad service comes together with two or more U.S. Interstate highways.

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Summer & Fall Events in the 63rd District
My staff and I are busy planning a comprehensive list of free community events that will be held throughout the summer and fall months in the 63rd District. Mark your calendars now for the following free outreach events that will be sponsored by my office in the coming months: 
  • Wednesday, June 5: Understand Your Property Tax Bill: 6:30 PM until 8:30 PM, McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Upstairs Conference Rooms A & B, Woodstock 
  • Thursday, June 28: Senior Fair: 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, Johnsburg High School, 2002 W. Ringwood Road, Johnsburg 
  • Saturday, August 18: Joint Document Shredding/Canned Food Drive (for Woodstock Food Pantry): 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, 1072 Lake Avenue (Rear lot of the Reick Office), Woodstock 
  • TBA: Women’s Self Awareness/Self Defense Class 
Bicentennial Medallion Art Contest Underway in Illinois
The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office is offering Illinoisans an opportunity to submit artwork for consideration to be emblazoned on a special 2018 Illinois Bicentennial medallion. The contest timeline to submit a design is now through May 1, 2018. All designs must be submitted via the official online form located here. Submissions will be judged initially by the treasurer's office based on content uniqueness, creativity, quality, accuracy, and completion. Contestants must be Illinois residents and may only submit one design. The top five designs will be made available for the public to vote on between June 1, 2018 and June 15, 2018 on the treasurer's office website. A final winner will be announced on June 18, 2018. The contest winner will be announced via press release and on social media, and the contest winner will be notified prior to the official announcement. Please read all contest terms and conditions. Questions should be directed to Maria Oldani via e-mail (moldani@illinoistreasurer.gov) or phone (217-782-9598). 

Illinois Commemorative Stamp Released
The U.S. commemorative postage stamp had its “First Day of Issue” on Monday, March 5. Sold for 50 cents, the stamp shares the white, yellow, blue, and green colors of the Illinois state flag and the words “Illinois 1818.” It features an outline map of Illinois with the sun rising from the State’s southern tip. Twenty stars in the stamp’s corners reflect the U.S. states that entered the union before 1818, with the rising sun of Illinois being the twenty-first star of the National Union. 

Emergency Rooms Log 66% Increase in Illinois Opioid-Related ER Visits in Recent Period
The figures, compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), used July 2016 as a base and September 2017 as an endpoint. The numbers, based on surveys of emergency room (ER) personnel nationwide, were compiled nationwide and broken out by state. During this 14-month period, more than 142,000 patients came or were brought to ERs nationwide for emergency treatment of opiate overdoses.

Overdose drugs include heroin, fentanyl, OxyContin, and other dangerous medications that utilize the painkilling powers of opium. Patients who take opiates are in serious danger of overdosing because of the known tendency of the human neurological system to build up resistance, called “tolerance,” to opiate pain relievers. As time goes by the patient must take more and more opiates to achieve the same outcome. The Illinois General Assembly has taken many steps in recent years to make it more difficult to buy opiate painkillers through prescription pharmacies; however, some patients are responding to these policy changes by increasing their demands for opiates through the illegal drug market. The Controlled Substances Act is the State statute that tries to help law enforcement stamp out illegal opium-based drugs in Illinois.

Recent data shows that nearly 1,950 Illinois residents died from opioid overdoses in Illinois during the period studied by the CDC. Other U.S. states are also seeing sharp increases in opioid incidents and opioid-related deaths.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) joined several Illinois legislators and county fair officials at the Illinois Capitol on Thursday to showcase the positive economic benefit county fairs bring to the state and urge the Governor to release $1.4 million in funding that was appropriated as part of the current fiscal year budget.

The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs (IAAF) highlighted the results of a University of Illinois Extension Department of Community and Economic Development study, which revealed that county fairs bring $170 million annually to the state’s economy and support 1,000 non-fair related jobs.

County fairs are distinguished from other events in state statute because of their agricultural component, and Reick said the agricultural element of county fairs is an important part of agriculture education for the next generation of farmers. “In addition to the economic benefit of county fairs, I must emphasize the educational aspect,” said Reick. “The agricultural component of county fairs is part and parcel of a comprehensive agriculture education in Illinois. With agriculture being our state’s largest industry, it is necessary for us to continue bringing people into the industry. It is incumbent upon us to provide these students with a proper agriculture education.”

Reick went on to discuss the many benefits of the livestock auctions available at county fairs, saying, “I know in McHenry County, those who participate in FFA and 4-H look forward to the livestock auction every summer. These auctions offer our youth the opportunity to sell their agriculture products, and many use the money they make from their animals to help pay for college.”

The U of I economic study results show that of the $170 million spent in the state annually as a result of county fairs, $90 million is being spent within the actual fairgrounds and the other $80 million is spent in ancillary sales in local communities. “What is important about these numbers is that it shows that county fairs are economic engines in our state, especially in rural areas, many of which are economically disadvantaged and have limited employment opportunities,” said Marvin Perzee of the Iroquois County Fair.

“From a socioeconomic as well as agribusiness perspective, I think it is important to point out that county fairs are the backbone of our agricultural communities in the State of Illinois,” added State Senator Jil Tracey (R-Quincy). “The money the State has appropriated to them is an investment in our agricultural economy and needs to be released.”
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has been chosen to serve on the Illinois House of Representatives’ Higher Education Committee.

Reick will join eight other Republicans and 12 Democrats on the committee, which is charged with considering policy initiatives that would affect the quality and cost of higher education at Illinois’ 12 public institutions of higher learning. “I’m pleased to be joining several of my colleagues on the higher education committee and look forward to having a voice in public policy as it relates to our colleges and universities,” said Reick.

The committee meets regularly in Springfield during the regular session months between January and the end of May each year. “Education is one of my key areas of interest, so this is an excellent committee assignment,” added Reick. “I already serve on two of the K-12 Education committees and I’m pleased to now extend my service to the higher education committee discussions.”

Illinois’ 12 public universities include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, Western Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Northern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago State University and Governors State University.
The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office is offering Illinoisans an opportunity to submit artwork for consideration to be emblazoned on a special 2018 Illinois Bicentennial medallion. The contest timeline to submit a design is now through May 1, 2018. All designs must be submitted via the official online form located here. Submissions will be judged initially by the treasurer's office based on content uniqueness, creativity, quality, accuracy, and completion. Contestants must be Illinois residents and may only submit one design. The top five designs will be made available for the public to vote on between June 1, 2018 and June 15, 2018 on the treasurer's office website. A final winner will be announced on June 18, 2018.

The contest winner will be announced via press release and on social media, and the contest winner will be notified prior to the official announcement. Please read all contest terms and conditions. Questions should be directed to Maria Oldani via e-mail (moldani@illinoistreasurer.gov) or phone (217-782-9598).
Several family members of the late Jim Keefe of Woodstock were in Springfield on Tuesday as the House of Representatives paid its respects to their father and grandfather, who passed away on November 21, 2017.

With the family looking on from the gallery, members of the House approved HR 771, which mourns the death of the long-time Woodstock resident and active community volunteer. “Many communities are known for their festivals and events, and in most cases there is one individual or a few people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to makes these types of events a success and make a community what it is,” said Reick. “In Woodstock, that person was Jim Keefe.”

Keefe was born in Chicago on January 13, 1932 and moved to Woodstock at the age of six. He attended local Catholic schools and played basketball at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa until he was drafted during his sophomore year. He served his country with distinction in the U.S. Army as a military policeman during the Korean War, and then returned to St. Ambrose to finish his college degree.

After marrying Mary Ellen Burmeister just two weeks after finishing college, Jim and Mary Ellen became very active community volunteers in Woodstock while they raised their children Kelly, Erin, Patrick and Quinn. They ultimately had the privilege of spoiling several grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

In addition to being an active member of St. Mary Parish and serving as a Knight of the Roman Catholic Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Jim was also a charter member of the Woodstock Rotary Club, where he recorded over 49 years of perfect attendance. He also served in the Woodstock City Council, on several municipal boards and was a member of the local Jaycees, Lions Club and Elks Club. In 2002 he was awarded the Harold Buschkopf award for community service.

“The Rotary motto is ‘service above self’ and Jim Keefe lived that every day I knew him,” Reick said.

Jim Keefe was well known in McHenry County as a great storyteller and photographer, and for his “History of Woodstock” slide presentations that were shown to groups around the area. Click here to read the honorary resolution and click here to watch Rep. Reick’s floor comments as he introduced the legislation.
Residents from throughout McHenry County and beyond are invited to attend this year’s annual Festival of the Sugar Maples. The event will take place March 3-4 and March 10-11 from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM at the Coral Woods Conservation Area, 7400 Somerset in Marengo.

Attendees can hear how maple syrup was made hundreds of years ago and how learn how maple trees produce sap each spring that is collected and made into syrup. In cooperation with the festival, the local Lion’s Club will be holding a pancake breakfast on Sunday, March 4 and Sunday, March 11 from 7:00 AM until noon at the Union Fire Protection District, 6606 Main Street in Union ($3 for children, $6 for adults).
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has released the final results of a recent legislative survey which showed that taxpayers believe elected officials should have to prove taxpayer savings before placing a road district consolidation question before voters.

Between January 23 and February 19, a survey was available through Reick’s website asking:

“Before placing a referendum question on a ballot, should townships exploring the consolidation of its road district into general operations have to conduct a cost study to ensure services would be maintained and that taxpayers would realize a financial benefit?”

The survey was promoted through press releases, social media and constituent newsletters. A total of 114 people responded to the survey and 104, or 91%, answered that yes, consolidation should only be done when it will result in savings for taxpayers.

“I filed HB 4190 because not every consolidation proposal saves taxpayers money, and when people are asked to vote a consolidation proposal up or down, they deserve to be acting from a full set of facts,” said Reick. “For whatever reason, some elected officials don’t think people deserve this added layer of transparency. They don’t think it’s important to ensure there would be no unforeseen negative consequences to the consolidation. I’m reminded of the county township consolidation proposal a few years ago here in McHenry County that was voted down by the board at the last minute because it would have raised taxes on residents in half of the county’s townships. If that proposal would have gone before voters, as many of the board members were so anxious to do, there would have been some very unhappy taxpayers when the dust settled and their taxes went up.”

Reick’s bill proposed that before a township could submit a referendum to abolish a road district, the township must prepare, through an independent contractor, a cost study that demonstrates the abolishment is cost-effective and that the township which would assume the road district responsibilities is capable of carrying out the duties performed by the road district slated for elimination. Any consulting firm with an existing agreement for services in the township in question or in the county where the township is located would be prohibited from conducting the study.

“My bill was assigned to the House Government Consolidation & Modernization Committee for a February 13 hearing, but the ranking lawmakers on the committee blocked the bill and refused to allow it to be heard,” Reick said. “They promptly buried my HB 4190 in a subcommittee where it would never see the light of day.”

Reick added that on the day the bill was originally to be heard, several people had submitted witness slips either for or against the bill. According to the witness slips on file that morning through the ilga.gov web site, 55 individuals had filed a slip in favor of Reick’s bill and four people had filed slips against it. “At every turn there were a majority of people who were in favor of an independent cost study before a consolidation request went to the ballot,” said Reick. “Those voices were silenced and completely disregarded when the leadership of the committee decided to kill the bill.”

Reick said he has not given up on full transparency when it comes to consolidation. “I support consolidation when a case is made that taxes will be reduced,” added Reick. “I’m first in line to say ‘yes-consolidate’ when taxpayers savings can be achieved. But we’re missing an important layer of transparency. The consequences of the consolidation, financial and otherwise, need to be known ahead of time and not after the fact.”
Click here to watch the live stream of the Governor's annual budget address at noon today.
Lawmakers Return to Springfield for Start of 2018 Session
Lawmakers are back in Springfield for the 2018 legislative session. Members of the House and Senate gathered in joint session on January 31 to hear Governor Bruce Rauner’s annual State of the State address, and during the 45-minute speech the Governor struck a positive tone as he spoke about the continued need for bipartisan solutions that will grow the Illinois economy and restore public trust.

The Governor will present his annual budget address next week on Wednesday, February 14. The speech will be streamed live, and can be accessed at www.ilga.gov, by clicking on the House audio/video link.

Reick Champions Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter Legislation
This year I am serving as a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that would significantly reform Illinois’ budget process. The “Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter,” filed in Springfield as HB 4229, gives broad power to taxpayers, limits lawmakers’ ability to create new and unfunded entitlement programs, stops the flow of unfunded mandates toward schools and local government, and ensures the pension system’s stability.

Specifically, HB 4229 includes:
  • A two-year freeze in discretionary State spending; the freeze would continue after the deadline if at that point the State is unable to pay vendors within 30 days 
  • A prohibition against adding any new programs or expansions of existing programs unless a full pension payment - based on actuarial requirements - is made 
  • A requirement that any new legislation which creates new spending include an identified revenue source or identified cuts to an existing program to pay for the new spending
  • A mandatory 72-hour online posting of the General Assembly’s proposed new fiscal year budget prior to passage
Lawmakers must take serious action to address reckless spending, and the provisions included in HB 4229 represent a major first step in addressing Illinois’ financial problems. HB 4229 is awaiting assignment to a substantive committee.

Reick’s 2018 Legislative Agenda Focuses on Taxpayer Protection Issues
This is the time of year when lawmakers are filing the bills they hope to advance during the 2018 legislative session. I have filed eight House Bills that I hope to usher into law this year. They include:
  • HB 4190: Requires an independent cost study to prove taxpayer savings before a question about consolidation of a road district is placed on a ballot for township voters
  • HB 4304:Provides property tax relief to seniors who have a federal adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less
  • HB 4305: Adds a county designation to all individual income tax forms to aid with the study of movement of Illinoisans from county to county within the state
  • HB 4308: Adjusts the notification period required for written notice to be mailed to any teacher who is losing his or her job due to a school board decision to decrease the number of teachers employed by a district
  • HB 4350: Based on levy issues tied to our own Valley Hi Nursing Home, this bill would provide county board members with the authority to suspend a tax line levy amount for nursing home purposes, so that surplus funds can be spent down with no future levying penalty
  • HB 4580: Provides that a rescue squad district may, by ordinance, submit a referendum to voters for an annual tax for the purpose of providing funds to pay the costs of emergency and rescue crews and equipment, and limits the amount of the tax rate to no more than 0.10% of the value of all taxable property within the district
Still Time to Take Road District Consolidation Survey
If you have not yet weighed in on my short road consolidation survey, you still have time. My short survey, available here, seeks to gather input about whether road district consolidation requests should only be allowed after public officials prove their case that the consolidation would save taxpayers money. 

As you may recall, I recently filed HB 4190, a measure that would require a cost study be conducted before a township’s trustees could take action to put a consolidation proposal before voters. Any consulting firm with an existing agreement for services in the township in question or in the county where the township is located would be prohibited from conducting the study. While I fully support consolidation that results in actual taxpayer savings, consolidation just for the sake of consolidation- when taxes don’t go down or possibly would actually increase- is not in the best interest of taxpayers. What’s missing is an accountability layer. I believe we need an additional step of transparency so trustees and voters aren’t voting on a measure that could have unforeseen negative consequences.

There are some who do not think elected officials should have to make their case for taxpayer savings before bringing consolidation proposals before voters. I think taxpayers would take issue with that, and would prefer that elected officials are working from a full set of facts before they ask voters to weigh in on a consolidation proposal. I will accept survey responses through the end of the day on Friday, February 16.

Metra Seeks Public Input on Proposed Fare Structure
Metra is seeking input from customers regarding potential changes to fare structure and ticket options at several public forums this February. A forum in Crystal Lake was held on Monday of this week, but input on the proposed changes can also be shared online here. To learn more about the proposed changes and for a full list of the remaining hearings, click here.

Electronic Renewal Process Available for Renewal of Disabled Parking Placards
The Secretary of State’s (SOS) Office is now offering an electronic renewal process for all persons renewing their disabled parking placards. In addition to making the renewal process easier, it will also help to combat fraud. Any current placard holder may start the renewal process prior to their medical re-certification. Then, at the time of their medical visit, the medical professional may complete the process by providing the necessary medical information through documents that can be sent to the SOS office for processing. At this time the electronic renewal process is only available for renewals. It is not available to new placard applicants. The new system does not replace the existing paper system. Patients and medical professionals may still avail themselves of the paper process. Those who have questions about this new electronic renewal system are encouraged to call the SOS’s legislative affairs department at (217) 782-6640.

Thirteen Chicagoland Athletes Participate in 2018 Winter Olympic Games
The Winter Games get underway this evening in PyeongChang, South Korea, and 13 athletes who either live or grew up in Chicago and the suburbs will be representing Team USA in a variety of sports. They include:
  • Kevin Bicker, 21, of Wauconda: Ski Jumping
  • Michael Glasder, 28, of Cary: Ski Jumping
  • Casey Larson, 19, of Barrington: Ski Jumping
  • Bradie Tennell, 20, of Carpentersville: Figure Skating
  • Alexa Scimeca Knierim, 26, Addison, and her husband Christopher: Pairs Figure Skating
  • Brian Hansen, 27, of Glenview: Speedskating
  • Lana Gehring, 27, of Glenview: Speedskating
  • Emery Lehman, 21, of Oak Park: Speedskating
  • Shani Davis, 35, of Chicago: Speedskating
  • Aja Evans, 29, of Chicago: Bobsled
  • Kendall Coyne, 25, of Palos Heights: Hockey
  • Hilary Knight, 28, of Lake Forest: Hockey
Bicker, Glasder and Larson have already advanced to the medal round on Saturday for ski jumping.

Skating for Team U.S.A. on the Men’s Olympic Hockey team are the following players who have played either for the Chicago Blackhawks or the Chicago Wolves: James Wisniewski and John McCarrthy. Hawks or Wolves players who will represent Team Canada include Rene Bourque, Andre Ebbett and Rob Klinkhammer. One former Hawk will play for Team Sweden: Victor Shalberg. Tony Granato, 53, of Downers Grove and Chris Chelios, 56, of Chicago will be coaching the U.S.A. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team. Good luck to these Illinois athletes and coaches and to all who will represent Team U.S.A. at this year’s Olympic Games in South Korea!
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) is serving as a Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that would significantly reform Illinois’ budget process.

The “Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter,” filed in Springfield as HB 4229, gives broad power to taxpayers, limits lawmakers’ ability to create new and unfunded entitlement programs, stops the flow of unfunded mandates toward schools and local government, and ensures the pension system’s stability.

“The State of Illinois is bleeding red ink,” said Reick. “In spite of a serious overspending problem, the majority party lawmakers continue to spend money recklessly by refusing to live within their means. Lawmakers must stop adding new programs and spending initiatives that we simply cannot afford."

Specifically, HB 4229 includes:
  • A two-year freeze in discretionary State spending; the freeze would continue after the deadline if at that point the State is unable to pay vendors within 30 days 
  • A prohibition against adding any new programs or expansions of existing programs unless a full pension payment - based on actuarial requirements - is made 
  • A requirement that any new legislation which creates new spending include an identified revenue source or identified cuts to an existing program to pay for the new spending
  • A mandatory 72-hour online posting of the General Assembly’s proposed new fiscal year budget prior to passage
“Lawmakers must take serious action to address reckless spending, and the provisions included in HB 4229 represent a major first step in addressing Illinois’ financial problems,” said Reick.

HB 4229 is awaiting assignment to a substantive committee.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has published an online survey about whether road district consolidation requests should only be allowed after public officials prove their case that the consolidation would save taxpayers money. The survey is available at www.repstevenreick.com.

Reick filed HB 4190 in mid-January, and the bill would require a cost study be conducted before a township’s trustees could take action to put a consolidation proposal before voters. “Taxpayers and elected leaders seek consolidation because they want lower taxes and I fully support consolidation that achieves that result,” said Reick. “But consolidation just for the sake of consolidation- when taxes don’t go down or possibly would actually increase- that is not in the best interest of taxpayers. What’s missing is an accountability layer; we need an additional step of transparency so trustees and voters aren’t voting on a measure that could have unforeseen negative consequences.”

Specifically, Reick’s HB 4190 would amend the Illinois Highway Code by providing that before a township may submit a referendum to abolish a road district, the township must prepare through an independent contractor a cost study that demonstrates the abolishment is cost-effective and that the township which would assume the road district responsibilities is capable of carrying out the duties performed by the road district slated for elimination. Any consulting firm with an existing agreement for services in the township in question or in the county where the township is located would be prohibited from conducting the study.

“There are some who do not think elected officials should have to make their case for taxpayer savings before bringing consolidation proposals before voters,” Reick said. “I think taxpayers would take issue with that, and would prefer that elected officials are working from a full set of facts before they ask voters to weigh in on a consolidation proposal.”

Survey responses will be gathered through the end of the day on Friday, February 16.
First Week of 2018 Session Cancelled
Last Friday we learned that the first scheduled session days on the 2018 calendar (January 23 and 24) were cancelled. While I was looking forward to beginning our 2018 work in Springfield, I am spending this week working on local projects and meeting with constituents. The first day of the 2018 session year will now be Tuesday, January 30. On Wednesday the 31st, Governor Bruce Rauner will present his annual State of the State address before a joint session of the House and Senate. This speech is streamed live on the state’s web site. If you would like to tune in to the Governor’s noon address on January 31, visit www.ilga.gov, and click on the link for Audio/Video.

Rep. Steve Reick Files Legislation to Require Cost Study to Ensure Township Road District Consolidations Save Money
Taxpayers and elected leaders seek consolidation because they want lower taxes. I fully support consolidation that results in lower taxes. But consolidation just for the sake of consolidation- when taxes don’t go down or possibly would actually increase- that is not in the best interest of taxpayers. What’s missing is an accountability layer; we need an additional step of transparency so trustees and voters aren’t voting on a measure that could have unforeseen negative consequences.

On January 16 I filed legislation that would require a cost analysis to determine if consolidation proposals will actually save taxpayers money. HB 4190 serves as a trailer bill to clarify two pieces of legislation approved earlier this year (SB 03 and HB 607). The bill would require a cost study be conducted before a township’s trustees could take action to put a consolidation proposal before voters. Specifically, the bill would amend the Illinois Highway Code by providing that before a township may submit a referendum to abolish a road district, the township must prepare through an independent contractor a cost study that demonstrates the abolishment is cost-effective and that the township which would assume the road district responsibilities is capable of carrying out the duties performed by the road district slated for elimination. Any consulting firm with an existing agreement for services in the township in question or in the county where the township is located would be prohibited from conducting the study.

Governor Rauner Vetoes Bill to Increase Powers of McHenry County Board Chairman
 In a solid victory for the citizens of McHenry County, Governor Bruce Rauner recently issued a full veto of HB 171, which would codify in state statutes powers granted to specific county board chairmen with regard to appointing members to standing committees. The bill was written to specifically apply to McHenry County, in spite of the fact that in 2012 county voters voted 2:1 against a referendum that would expand the powers of the leader of the McHenry County Board.

In his veto message to the General Assembly, Rauner condemned the practice of codifying in state law carve-outs and special solutions that only apply to certain counties and that respond to specific local concerns. “Passing state law on such specific question of local authority undermines local control and the ability to create rules as elected Board’s may deem appropriate,” said Rauner. “Questions concerning the balance of power within local governments can be most appropriately reconsidered by local voters. Just as the citizens of a county can vote via referendum on whether their county adopts an executive form of government, so too should they be able to determine the appropriate power balance in question in this bill.” HB 171 can return to the House and Senate for an attempted veto override, but a 2/3 vote in each chamber is required. The November House vote on HB 171 was 63-48-1, and in an override, 71 votes will be needed.

State-Sponsored School Library Grants Approved for 11 Districts Located within the Reick House District
I was pleased to learn recently that $17,381 in state-sponsored school library grant money will soon be flowing to 11 school districts located in the 63rd Legislative District. The School District Library Grant Program is designed to help provide more library books and materials for students attending public schools in Illinois. The state legislature has authorized up to a $.75 per pupil expenditure for qualifying schools. The grant award is based on funds appropriated by the General Assembly and the official enrollment as of the previous September 30th of a school district. Specifically, the following grants are being processed by the Secretary of State’s Office and will then be forwarded to the Comptroller’s office for payment:
  • Harvard CUSD #50: $1,865.25
  • Alden-Hebron Community Consolidated Unit #19: $750.00
  • Johnsburg CUSD #12: $1,359.00
  • Riley Community Consolidated School District #18: $750.00
  • Marengo-Union Community School District #165: $750.00
  • Marengo Community High School District #154: $750.00
  • McHenry CCSD #15: $3,262.50
  • McHenry Community High School District #156: $1,669.50
  • Nippersink School District #2: $845.25
  • Richmond Burton CHSD #157: $750.00
  • Woodstock CUSD #200: $4,629.75
Reick and Wheeler Petition ICC for Local Hearing on Proposed Utilities, Inc. Rate Hike
This week Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and I sent a letter to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), asking officials to hold a local public hearing to gather testimony from Johnsburg and Antioch residents who would be affected by a massive sewer and water rate hike proposed by Utilities, Inc. My office has been inundated with calls and emails from constituents that would be affected by this increase, which I’m told would be the third rate increase for water and sewer since 2009. These residents, many of whom are living on fixed incomes, have asked us to help facilitate a local platform where they can come and provide testimony on how this latest rate increase would affect their family budgets, and for some, their ability to remain in their homes.

In 2009, Utilities Inc. serviced the affected area at a monthly rate of $5.14 and consumption rates of $3.14 per 1,000 gallons. If the latest request is approved by the ICC, those customers would soon have to pay a rate of $35.03 per month with consumption rates of $11.08 per 1,000 gallons; a 353% increase in water/sewer service costs in just eight years. Considering the Consumer Price Index has only risen 13 percent since 2009, increasing rates by more than 350 percent for a necessity like water is extreme. We have offered to help coordinate the meeting. To read our joint letter to the ICC, click here.

IL Department of Veterans Affairs to Honor 200 Veterans During “Honor 200” Event
Do you know a veteran who has served honorably and whose contributions have gone above and beyond the call of duty? The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and the Illinois Bicentennial Committee are partnering on an “Honor 200” event which will publicly recognize the work of 200 courageous veterans who live in Illinois. The veterans will be honored at a major celebration of statehood that will be held at the United Center in Chicago on December 3, 2018.

Nominations are now being accepted. If you would like to submit a nomination, please use this link to access the documents. All nominations must be submitted by July 31, 2018. Completed nomination packets should be mailed to:

Illinois Depart of Veterans’ Affairs
George Dunne County Building
69 West Washington, Suite 1620
Chicago, IL 60602-3013

Illinois Loses 88,000 People During Economic Recovery
The U.S. Census’s ongoing study of American population growth and movement patterns indicates that Illinois’ population is shrinking in size. The Land of Lincoln has about 88,000 fewer people than in 2013. Should these trends continue, Illinois will be on track to relinquish at least one and possibly two congressional districts after the 2020 census. Illinois currently has 18 U.S. representatives, down from 26 as recently as 1953. Illinois’ shrinking population is attributed to high taxes, disproportionate non-tax burdens on employment such as workers’ compensation and the cost of medical care, and an increasingly aggressive eagerness by other states to develop a pro-business climate. A study in 2016 by the nonpartisan Paul Simon Institute found that nearly half of the Illinoisans surveyed expressed a desire to leave Illinois. For many other states, including neighboring states such as Iowa and Wisconsin, this percentage is below 10%. 

Chicago Makes the Cut to Top 20 in Amazon’s HQ2 Search
On Thursday, January 18, Amazon released a list of 20 cities and metro areas, including Chicago, that meet the criteria set forth by the company for the location of a second national headquarters. In late 2017, Amazon asked cities in North America to submit plans and proposals to initiate a major expansion. The stated criteria for selecting a location for potential expansion included a city within an urban area with more than one million people and within 45 minutes of an international airport. The presence of mass-transit infrastructure was described as strongly desirable but not essential. The firm stated that it was their intent to create a research, development, and logistics management complex that could support as many as 50,000 jobs. Other major cities on the list included Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City and northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. and the Capital Beltway.

Trustees Approve Fourth Consecutive Tuition Freeze at University of Illinois
The tuition freeze, now in its fourth year, reflects efforts made by the University of Illinois trustees and system to limit cost increases and make it possible for in-state residents to afford to attend the state’s flagship university. As a result of the freeze, Illinois residents accepted for admission at the three universities that form the University of Illinois system will pay $12,036 a year at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), $10,584 at Chicago (UIC), and $9,405 at Springfield (UIS). The tuition freeze continues to provide relief for many in-state students attending the three campuses of the University of Illinois. However, the freeze does not affect other costs of enrollment at UIUC, UIC, and UIS. Costs relating to housing, meals, student fees, and education-related expenses such as textbooks continue to increase.

New Law Increases Penalties for Repeat Gun Offenders
The Safe Neighborhoods Reform Act went into effect January 1. Enacted with support from law enforcement and prosecution professionals, the new law doubles the sentencing guidelines for offenders found guilty, for a second time, of illegal possession of a firearm. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), the lead House sponsor of SB 1722, hailed the new law upon its effective date. I was proud to support this legislation that increases penalties for repeat offenders.

In addition to the unlawful use of a weapon language, SB 1722 also expands the use by first-time firearm offenders of the First Time Weapon Offender Program. Leader Durkin and the General Assembly are fighting to increase penalties for serious gun offenders, many of them gang members, while at the same time providing a second chance to first-time gun offenders who undergo a serious program of rehabilitation and behavioral change. Under SB 1722, the Director of the Illinois State Police is authorized to create a multi-jurisdictional Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force to further study violent and gang-related crime and make additional recommendations for legislative action.
State Representatives Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) and Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) have asked the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to hold a local public hearing to gather testimony from Johnsburg and Antioch residents who would be affected by a massive sewer and water rate hike proposed by Utilities, Inc.

“My office has been inundated with calls and emails from constituents that would be affected by this increase, which I’m told would be the third rate increase for water and sewer since 2009,” said Reick. “These people, many of whom are living on fixed incomes, have asked us to help facilitate a local platform where they can come and provide testimony on how this latest rate increase would affect their family budgets, and for some, their ability to remain in their homes.”

In 2009, Utilities Inc. serviced the affected area at a monthly rate of $5.14 and consumption rates of $3.14 per 1,000 gallons. If the latest request is approved by the ICC, those customers would then have to pay a rate of $35.03 per month with consumption rates of $11.08 per 1,000 gallons; a 353% increase in water/sewer service costs in just eight years.

“Considering the Consumer Price Index has only risen 13 percent since 2009, increasing the cost to residents again, whether on a fixed income or not, by more than 350 percent for a necessity like water is extreme,” said Wheeler. “Residents have the right to public hearing, at the least, before another increase is put into effect, particularly given the dramatic increase in rates already over the past decade.”

Both legislators offered to help coordinate the meeting. To read the joint letter to the ICC, click here.
In a solid victory for the citizens of McHenry County, Governor Bruce Rauner issued a full veto today to HB 171, which would codify in state statutes powers granted to specific county board chairmen with regard to appointing members to standing committees.

“I spoke out against this bill when it was discussed on the floor of the House of Representatives, and urged the Governor to veto it after it was approved by the General Assembly,” said Reick. “The bill was written to specifically apply to McHenry County, in spite of the fact that in 2012 county voters voted 2:1 against a referendum that would expand the powers of the leader of the McHenry County Board. Today the Governor sided with the 75,010 McHenry County voters who resoundingly defeated the idea of an all-powerful County Board Chairman. Voter intent was heard and respected by Governor Rauner today.”

In his veto message to the General Assembly, Rauner condemned the practice of codifying in state law carve-outs and special solutions that only apply to certain counties and that respond to specific local concerns. “Passing state law on such specific question of local authority undermines local control and the ability to create rules as elected Board’s may deem appropriate,” said Rauner.

The Governor went on to say, “Questions concerning the balance of power within local governments can be most appropriately reconsidered by local voters. Just as the citizens of a county can vote via referendum on whether their county adopts an executive form of government, so too should they be able to determine the appropriate power balance in question in this bill.”

When HB 171 was delivered to Rauner for final action, Reick launched a petition drive that was signed by more than 100 citizens who asked the Governor to veto the bill. “All the credit goes to the citizens who saw HB 171 for what it was: a pure power grab; and who responded by urging a full gubernatorial veto,” said Reick, who delivered the petition signatures to the Governor’s office. “This was a good example of how a few voices can make a big difference in government. The message that McHenry County wants a county board chairman with limited powers was heard, and Governor Rauner responded appropriately. I appreciate his full veto.”

HB 171 can return to the House and Senate for an attempted veto override, but a 2/3 vote in each chamber is required. The November House vote on HB 171 was 63-48-1, and in an override, 71 votes will be needed.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) announced today that $17,381 in school library grant money will soon be flowing to schools located in the 63rd Legislative House District.

The School District Library Grant Program is designed to help provide more library books and materials for students attending public schools in Illinois. The state legislature has authorized up to a $.75 per pupil expenditure for qualifying schools. The grant award is based on funds appropriated by the General Assembly and the official enrollment as of the previous September 30th of a school district.

“These grants will help put books into the hands and students and will go far in assisting with teaching and learning in northern McHenry County,” said Reick. “The schools up here are hurting, and any assistance the State can provide with the delivery of educational tools is appreciated.”

Specifically, the following grants will be processed by the Secretary of State’s Office next week and then forwarded to the Comptroller’s office for payment:
  • Harvard CUSD #50: $1,865.25
  • Alden-Hebron Community Consolidated Unit #19: $750.00
  • Johnsburg CUSD #12: $1,359.00
  • Riley Community Consolidated School District #18: $750.00
  • Marengo-Union Community School District #165: $750.00
  • Marengo Community High School District #154: $750.00
  • McHenry CCSD #15: $3,262.50
  • McHenry Community High School District #156: $1,669.50
  • Nippersink School District #2: $845.25
  • Richmond Burton CHSD #157: $750.00
  • Woodstock CUSD #200: $4,629.75
“As a former public school teacher and administrator, I know our school libraries are very important in helping students learn and prepare themselves for the future,” said Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White. “Illinois was the first state to implement a school district grant program for libraries, and I am pleased that we can continue to provide them with some of the financial resources they need to produce well-educated students.”
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) will be holding mobile office hours next week on Monday, January 22, from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Woodstock Public Library, 414 W. Judd Street in Woodstock.

“I enjoy these outreach events because they provide me with an excellent opportunity to connect with the people I represent in Springfield,” said Reick. “I look forward to talking one-on-one with constituents so I can learn about the issues that are important to them. I can also help constituents with issues they may be having with state agencies.”

Reick will personally be staffing the event. No appointment is needed, and the event is open to all residents who live in the 63rd Legislative House District.
January is National Blood Donation Month, and the recent cold weather has added an additional strain to an already-low blood supply. Each unit of blood that is donated can save up to three lives, and while approximately 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, fewer than five percent of the eligible public actually donates. Click here to find the location of an upcoming blood drive year you.

To be eligible to donate blood in Illinois, donors must:
  • Be 17 years of age or older (16 year-olds may donate with parental consent)
  • Be in good health on the day of the donation
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Be free of cold and flu symptoms
  • Present a photo ID with a birth date
  • Not have a history of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C at any age
As 2017 came to an end, the U.S. Census announced its end-of-year U.S. state population estimates. These numbers indicate that Pennsylvania has once again passed Illinois to regain its position as the U.S. state with the fifth largest population. Both states have more than 12.8 million residents.

Census end-of-year estimates are based upon statistical analyses of population trends and are not based on actual physical counting. The U.S. Constitution requires the Census to physically count all Americans once every ten years, with the next true census set to be taken in 2020. Households will receive paper forms in the mail to fill out and send in, with census takers physically fanning out to visit households that do not return the forms.

The end-of-2017 Census announcement marked a reversal from the late 1990s, when Illinois (the 6th largest state in 1990) passed Pennsylvania (the 5th largest state in 1990, as it is again in 2018). Illinois was #5 in the 2000 and 2010 censuses. Both states have had almost stable populations for the past thirty years.
Illinois’ new Invest in Kids scholarship program — which gives low- to middle-income students opportunities to attend non-public schools that best meet their educational goals — attracted more than $36 million in pledged contributions on Tuesday, Jan. 2, the first day the state began accepting applications, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced today.

Taxpayers can contribute up to $1.3 million to eligible organizations and receive an income tax credit equal to 75 percent of their approved contributions. The state caps total yearly contributions at $100 million.

“When we unleash the power of private-sector investment incentives like Invest in Kids, great things are possible,” Rauner said. “Within its first hour of going live, more than one-third of all Invest in Kids contributions have been allocated for the 2018 tax year. This outpouring of generosity is truly a testament to the many Illinoisans who believe in offering students and their families a choice in their education.”

Taxpayers wishing to contribute to Invest in Kids may apply online through MyTax Illinois<https://mytax.illinois.gov/_/>, the Illinois Department of Revenue’s free online account management program.

Individuals and businesses must apply to the Illinois Department of Revenue to obtain Contribution Authorization Certificates that permit them to make authorized contributions to one of the approved scholarship granting organizations. Those organizations, in turn, provide scholarships for eligible Illinois students to attend qualified non-public schools in Illinois. The application process ensures equal access to the $75 million in tax credits available each year.

For more information on the Invest in Kids income tax credits, including bulletins, FAQs and a list of approved scholarship granting organizations, visit Investinkids.illinois.gov.
Warming centers are available throughout the state to help Illinois residents fight cold temperatures during this record-setting cold weather. Click here to search for a warming center near you.