Legislative Update: August 7, 2017

Governor Rauner Issues Amendatory Veto of School Funding Bill
Last week Governor Rauner issued an amendatory veto to SB 01, the bill that would overhaul the state’s school funding formula. The matter now heads to the Illinois General Assembly, where the changes proposed by the Governor through the amendatory veto will be considered by lawmakers.

A bipartisan group of legislators from both the House and Senate is continuing to negotiate to find a solution that fairly and equitably funds schools across the State. Both sides agree the complex school funding formula needs to be revised, but several issues are still unresolved, including a Democratic-proposed payment to the Chicago teachers pension fund. As we near the beginning of a new school year, our schools need the certainty that their state funding will be three to support the education of all kids. I am hopeful that a negotiated, bipartisan solution to provide fair funding to all schools will be found as soon as possible.

Olsen Summer Survey Now Available
Your input and opinions are very important to me and help me represent you in Springfield. Residents of the 81st District are invited to participate in a survey that is now available on my legislative web site. A paper version of the survey should also be arriving in mailboxes soon as part of my End of Session report. I will collect survey responses through the end of October. Click here to get started on this quick survey!

Free Jobs Fair Scheduled for This Week
Are you looking for a job or a new career? This week on August 9 I will be partnering with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and new State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) for a free jobs fair in nearby Lemont.

The Jobs Fair will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at CORE Fitness Center, 16028 W 127th St in Lemont. If you are looking for employment with the State, at 9:00 a.m. you might want to attend the “How to Navigate through the State Employment Process” workshop. At 9:30 a.m. a workshop will be held that will help you have a “stand out” resume. At 10:30 a.m. there will be a workshop focused on networking your way to a new job. The final workshop of the day will be held at 11:30 a.m. and will discuss successful interviewing. All of the workshops are free of charge.

The jobs fair brings more than 100 area employers together in one room so that those seeking good jobs can maximize the efficiency of their job search. I hope to see a large turnout from people from the 81st District! Visit my web site at www.repolsen.com for a full list of participating employers. For more information about this and other upcoming events, please call my office at 630-737-0504.

Mark Your Calendar for These Additional Outreach Events
In addition to this week’s jobs fair, I have other outreach events scheduled in the 81st District. Mark your calendars for these additional upcoming events that are free and open to the public:
  • Understanding & Appealing Your Property Tax Bill: Saturday, September 9, 10:00 AM until 12:00 noon, Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St, Downers Grove
  • Veterans Resource Fair: Saturday, November 4, 9:00 AM until 12:00 noon, American Legion Post 80, 4000 Saratoga Ave, Downers Grove 
DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau Unveils New Branding Campaign
Earlier this month I had an opportunity to attend an exciting reception to celebrate the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau's unveiling of their new brand for promoting visitors and tourism in DuPage County. The new marketing campaign will help bring more tourism dollars to our local hotels, shops, and restaurants. I’m shown in this photo with Willowbrook Mayor Frank Trilla, Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully and DuPage County Board Member Tonia Khouri. 

New Sugar Tax Takes Effect in Cook County
The new tax of one cent per ounce applies to sweetened beverages sold in Cook County only, and applies to both incorporated areas (such as Chicago) and unincorporated areas within the county. The tax will be imposed upon a wide variety of sweetened beverages: canned drinks, bottled drinks, and drinks that are poured from a spout. You can avoid paying the tax by dining or shopping right here in the 81st District as the tax does not apply to DuPage or Will Counties.

Criticism of the new tax includes the argument that the definitions of beverages that are subject, or not subject, to the new tax are unconstitutionally arbitrary. Soda pop, diet soda, ready-to-drink sweetened coffees, ready-to-drink sweetened teas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened fruit juice mixtures will be subjected to the one-cent-per-ounce tax. However, 100% fruit juices, even though naturally sweetened with fructose, will not be taxed. Sweetened beverages in which the primary ingredient is milk will not be taxed. In contrast to fruit juice and chocolate milk, diet soda (which has no sugar in it) will be taxed.

Based on this and other factors, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), whose members are responsible for collecting the new tax, has initiated legal action in an attempt to pre-empt its enforcement in Cook County. Retailers say they are unconstitutionally prevented from knowing when to charge or not charge the tax. A judicial decision placed the sweetened-beverage tax in effect starting on Wednesday, August 2. The decision is currently being appealed.

Governor Signs Bill to Prohibit Pay Raises for General Assembly Members
HB 643 (now Public Act 100-0025) amends the Compensation Review Act to prohibit what would otherwise have been automatic pay hikes for State government legislative and executive elected officers and appointees, including members of the General Assembly. The new law also freezes the reimbursements that lawmakers can ask to cover the costs of their lodging, meals, and mileage while on State business. I’m proud to have been a co-sponsor of this legislation.

The freeze on taxpayer-funded pay and benefits covers all of Fiscal Year 2018, and will be effective through June 30, 2018. The pay/benefits freeze bill was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on Wednesday, July 26.

Olsen Tours Local Manufacturing Facility with Congressman Roskam
On August 2nd, I joined Congressman Peter Roskam for a tour of a manufacturing facility here in the heart of the 81st District. Moldtronics is a molding, machining, design and manufacturing company located in Downers Grove. We also had an excellent opportunity to discuss current state issues with some of their staff.

Illinois-Based Firms Post Second-Quarter Gains
Illinois’ economic recovery from the 2008-09 “Great Recession” has been held back for almost a decade by slow demand for revenue-generating goods and services from the private sector. In a roundup of second-quarter financial reports, however, Crain’s Chicago Business reports many of these firms are now reporting healthy sales gains that outstrip inflation. Examples of second-quarter revenue hikes at Illinois’ publicly-traded firms include Caterpillar (+10%), McDonald’s (+7%), Deere (+5%), and Illinois Tool Works (+5%).

Revenue hikes are used by many firms to finance expansion opportunities and capital investment. Not all Illinois firms are showing increases in revenues, with makers of consumer-oriented packaged goods (such as shelf-stable groceries) continuing to be challenged in the current economic environment. For firms following a standard calendar reporting year, the second quarter ended on June 30, 2017.

Olsen Joins Lisle Mayor at National Night Out Event
Last week I joined Lisle Mayor Chris Pecak, police officers, other public safety personnel and community members for a "National Night Out" event at Benedictine University. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August.

Illinois State Fair Will Run for 11 Days Starting August 10
Final preparations are taking place for the 2017 Illinois State Fair, which opens its doors for 11 days beginning this Thursday, August 10. The Illinois State Fair will be the home of musical entertainment, variety shows, rides and attractions, competitions, and festival food. Admission will be charged for all fairgoers above age 12. Separate tickets will be required for parking spots and for entertainment acts at the Grandstand. Central Illinois’ largest fair will be celebrated through Sunday, August 20.

Olsen Attends 2017 GreenBuilt Home Tour
At the end of July I had the opportunity to participate in the 2017 GreenBuilt Home Tour with area architects, contractors, landscapers, and other interested residents. We visited a house right here in the 81st district on Puffer Road in Downers Grove. The tour showcased homes built with the latest environmentally-friendly materials and construction methods, and was sponsored by the Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. I also had the opportunity to meet with Executive Director Brian Imus.

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