Legislative Update: June 19, 2017

Lawmakers Called Back to Springfield for Summer Session
After leaving Springfield on May 31 without sending a budget to the Governor for his review, legislators will return to Springfield this week on Wednesday, June 21 to continue working toward a compromise budget. The decision to call lawmakers back to the Capitol was announced last week by Governor Bruce Rauner, who utilized powers granted to him through the Illinois Constitution regarding special sessions of the General Assembly. I am pleased that we will finally be getting back to work on this crucial issue for our State.

Our schools, colleges and universities, social service providers, businesses and all our residents need the certainty that only a comprehensive balanced budget can provide. We cannot repeat the same mistakes of the past and rely only upon tax increases on working families to solve the budget mess. Our State must change the way we do business.

I know that many rank-and-file legislators on both the Republican and Democratic sides remain willing to put aside partisan differences and work toward a balanced budget with reforms. I am pleased that House and Senate Republican leaders and rank-and-file members continue to introduce legislation to achieve a balanced budget with reforms. Yet Speaker Madigan has not allowed us one opportunity to vote on a comprehensive budget since I began my tenure in the House last year.

I remain ready to do the difficult work necessary to make a balanced budget a reality prior to the start of the new state fiscal year on July 1. Let’s get back to the table and get this done.

Rep. Olsen Interviewed by Comcast Newsmakers
During the final days of the spring legislative session in Springfield, I sat down with Paul Lisnek of Comcast Newsmakers to discuss my first legislative session, and the bills I was able to pass as a freshman lawmaker.

Click here to watch the interview.


Olsen Presents Downers Grove South Educator with Surprise Proclamation
Before she directed her final concert at Downers Grove South High School a few weeks ago, I had the honor of presenting Laura Coster with a proclamation celebrating her 33 years of service to District 99 as a fine arts teacher. Earlier this year Mrs. Coster was awarded the 2017 Mary Hoffman Award of Excellence from the Illinois Music Education Association. She was one of only three educators statewide to receive the award for 2017. Congratulations and best wishes on your retirement!

Rep. Olsen to Participate in 2017 Edgar Fellows Program for Emerging Leaders
I recently learned that I am one of 40 emerging Illinois leaders who have been chosen to participate in the 2017 class of Edgar Fellows. The group includes elected and appointed public officials from across the state, and each of us was nominated by a peer or mentor. Together, we will participate in an intense, five-day executive leadership training program in August hosted by former Governor Jim Edgar and the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA). In addition to Edgar, an impressive list of practitioners, researchers and scholars from the public arena will serve as instructors at the training academy.

The program focuses on developing leadership and governing capacity in Illinois while emphasizing the need to address major policy issues without permitting partisan, ethnic and regional rivalries to trump statesmanship. At the Institute, we will learn about leadership skills, strategies and expectations in a state facing major challenges. Participants will also have opportunities to continue their education through social networking and other forms of high-tech communication and participate in sessions designed to brief them on crucial policy issues.

Olsen Speaks at Swearing-In Ceremony for Woodridge Officials
Last month I had the opportunity to speak at the swearing-in ceremony for the newly-elected and reelected officials of the Village of Woodridge, Woodridge Park District, and Woodridge Library. These are dedicated public servants who work hard to make the Woodridge area a great place to live, work and raise a family. I look forward to working with them on issues that affect our shared constituencies.

COGFA Report Shows Slight Uptick in Total Illinois Tax Revenue
The monthly report by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) showed State general funds tax receipts up $143 million in May 2017. The increase in May 2017 tax revenues was entirely attributed to increased revenues from the personal income tax paid by almost all Illinois employees, with personal income tax receipts up $179 million over comparable figures reported in May 2016. Corporate income tax receipts continued to plunge during the 31-day reporting period, with this revenue stream down $72 million. The decline largely reflected the fact that many businesses are being reorganized as pass-through entities which are taxed at personal income tax rates.

The relatively good numbers posted for State coffers in May do not wipe up the effects of the revenue shortfall posted for most of the months that were notched earlier in FY17 (ends June 30, 2017). For the first 11 months of FY17 as a whole, Illinois general funds tax receipts fell $604 million from the first 11 months of FY16. As in the single month of May 2017, this eleven-month decline was entirely attributable to the decline in corporate income tax receipts. Corporate income tax collections were down $909 million during the almost year-long period. The FY17 revenue shortfall is only a part of the budget crisis surrounding Illinois’ backlog of more than $14 billion in unpaid bills.

Downers Grove Public Works Department Holds Successful Open House
The Public Works Department at the Village of Downers Grove held their annual open house June 8, and as always, it was an informative event. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss traffic management, snow removal, stormwater and runoff, and the many other important functions performed by the department. Special thanks to director Nan Newlon and the entire Public Works team for making themselves available for this excellent community event.

Federal Judge Rules Illinois Not in Compliance with Full Funding of Medicaid Payments
The argument, presented in federal court to District Judge Joan Lefkow, is that health care providers are suffering irreparable harm for being forced to wait for payment of Medicaid health care treatments that are billed to the State of Illinois. Illinois currently owes more than $14 billion in unpaid bills. More than $1 billion of these bills are moneys owed to Medicaid care providers. Since July 1, 2015, Illinois has not operated under a budgetary plan to control State spending. During this period, tax monies coming in have been allocated to various beneficiaries under a maze of court orders, consent decrees, and continuing appropriations. Billions of dollars are being spent on “autopilot.” The Comptroller of Illinois has stated that if Judge Lefkow were to order immediate payment of all of the moneys due and owed to Medicaid care providers, Illinois’ general-funds cash flow will no longer to be sufficient to cover all of the court-mandated payments that Illinois must make, let alone payments to secondary stakeholders such as State universities and providers of community social services.

In a preliminary response to the arguments, Judge Lefkow has ruled that Illinois is “not in compliance” with previous court mandates that these moneys be paid. As a pathway toward compliance, she has asked the State to negotiate the subject of priority payments with representatives of health care providers who possess standing under this lawsuit. Should these negotiations not prove fruitful, further court orders may be issued.

Full Summer/Fall Calendar of Events Coming Together in 81st District
We had a great turnout earlier this month for my 2017 Children’s Health & Safety Fair. Hundreds attended the annual event. Mark your calendars for these summer and fall outreach events that will be held in and around the 81st District. All events are free:
  • Senior Fair: Thursday, June 29, 10:00 AM until noon, Lincoln Center, 935 Maple Ave, Downers Grove 
  • Document Shredding Event: Saturday, July 15, 9:00 AM until noon. Sharing Connections, 5111 Chase Ave, Downers Grove
  • Jobs Fair: Wednesday, August 9, 9:00 AM until 12:30 PM, CORE Fitness Center, 6028 W 127th St, Lemont
  • Veterans Resource Fair: Saturday, November 4, 9:00 AM until noon, American Legion Post 80, 4000 Saratoga Ave, Downers Grove
  • Understanding & Appealing your Property Tax Bill: Date and time TBD

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