Demmer’s Dispatch: May 27, 2019

Final Week of Spring Session Underway in Springfield

Lawmakers are in Springfield for the final five days of the spring legislative session. Many important issues remain, including the adoption of a Fiscal Year 2020 budget. With revised and confirmed revenue numbers in hand, on May 16 I joined several members of the House Republican Caucus at a press conference where we reiterated our belief that the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget can be balanced without any tax increases or new taxes. Revised revenue numbers that have been confirmed by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), the Department of Revenue and the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) indicate we will have, at a minimum, an additional $1.2 billion in new revenue for FY20. Combined with revenue-generating initiatives like sports betting and other measures that would not tax Illinoisans, there is an additional $2.64 billion available to help balance next year’s budget. Members of budget working groups, who made difficult decisions earlier this year to create balanced budgets with no new revenue, should now be working from the point where they left off with a new goal of using this additional revenue wisely.

Unfortunately, despite the new revenue and opportunities to increase revenues without adding new taxes, Democrats are not backing away from a variety of new and increased taxes on Illinois families and businesses. The House Republicans’ message is clear: there are options other than tax increases to be able to support a reasonable and sound budget plan for FY20, but it requires engaging rank and file members from both parties who must represent their caucus and their individual home districts.

Click here to watch my comments at that press conference.

Demmer Stands with Small Business

Last week I stood with several of my House Republican colleagues and Arcola business owner Andrew Libman to discuss the real impact the increased minimum wage, the graduated income tax and the overall unfriendly business climate in Illinois is having on job creators. Libman Manufacturing of Arcola employees 620 people at a family-owned business that has been operational since 1896, and since the 1930’s in central Illinois. The business is a manufacturer and distributor of cleaning tools. Mr. Libman explained how revenue initiatives this year are forcing him to consider a move out of Illinois. He said the minimum wage hike will cost his business millions in additional wages because most of his employees earn a wage of between $11 and $14 per hour.

Because Libman Manufacturing is registered with the State of Illinois as an S-Corporation, company profits filter down through individual tax returns. With no exceptions for S-Corps written into the rate structure for the proposed graduated income tax, that change would also cost him millions. Those are profits that would not go into his pocket. They are profits that would be reinvested into the company.

Mr. Libman also spoke about the overall unfriendly business climate in Illinois, and said businesses like his are being courted by other states that are offering attractive incentives in exchange for relocation. He said many other states are welcoming new businesses while Illinois is driving them away through over-regulation and over-taxation.

I appreciate Mr. Libman putting a face to the issues House Republicans have been talking about with regard to the Democrat agenda of raising taxes on families and businesses. If Libman Manufacturing leaves Illinois, those 620 jobs go with it. The impact on the central Illinois economy would be devastating.

Click here to watch my comments from this May 21 press conference.

Mobile Office Hours Tour Continues with June event in Rochelle

Last week my office held mobile office hours in Oregon. Because the 90th District is geographically quite large, these traveling office hours will be held regularly throughout the rest of the year. All events will take place from 10:00 – 11:00 AM and no appointment is necessary. Each event is open to the public, and those who attend can learn about the services my office can provide and receive assistance with issues regarding state agencies. I will attend personally as my schedule permits. Upcoming dates include:

  • June 11: Hub City Senior Center, 401 Cherry Ave, Rochelle
  • July: Sandwich (date and location TBA)
  • August 20: Rock River Center, 810 S 10th St, Oregon
  • September 10: Hub City Senior Center, 401 Cherry Ave, Rochelle
  • October: Sandwich (date and location TBA)
  • November 12: Hub City Senior Center, 401 Cherry Ave, Rochelle
  • November 19: Rock River Center, 810 S 10th St, Oregon
  • December 17: Rock River Center, 810 S 10th St, Oregon

In addition to these scheduled mobile office hours, my legislative assistant is always available to meet with constituents in their communities on an appointment basis. For more information about mobile office hours or to schedule an individual appointment, please contact my office at (815) 561-3690.

A Day in the Life of an Illinois Lawmaker
Recently, a staff videographer shadowed me for an entire day in Springfield. I’m often asked what a typical day at the Capitol looks like, and this video shows what a normal day may entail. Days get progressively busier and longer as we approach adjournment, but this is a glimpse into our days under the dome.

Republicans Demand Senate Hearing and Vote on DCFS Bill

Last week it was a privilege to stand with the Chief House Sponsor of HB 1482, Republican lawmakers, and the family of slain DCFS worker Pam Knight to demand a Senate hearing and vote on legislation that would provide life-saving protections to DCFS workers. HB 1482 was filed in response to the brutal beating and subsequent death of DCFS worker Pam Knight, who was beaten and later died after visiting the home of a two-year-old child at risk. The bill would close a loophole in Illinois law that excludes DCFS caseworkers from a law that provides for enhanced penalties for those who would attack and harm responders who put themselves in harm’s way in their efforts to keep Illinoisans safe.

Protections afforded to police, fire and other workers who routinely walk into dangerous situations were not available to Pam Knight or her family. HB 1482 passed the House unanimously this year with 72 bipartisan House sponsors, but majority party leaders in the Senate haven’t scheduled the bill for a hearing. DCFS workers deserve the same protections as other responders, and the fact that this bill seems to have stalled for political purposes is unconscionable. The Senate must hear this bill and vote on this bill and Governor Pritzker must sign this bill.

DCFS workers deserve to know we value the work they do and recognize the risks they take in the name of public safety. We cannot wait until another DCFS worker is killed in the line of duty; we need to put these enhanced protections for DCFS workers in place without any further delay.

Click here to view the press conference.

Happy Memorial Day

Today, people across the nation and world will pause to observe Memorial Day. It is a day of remembrance for those who sacrificed and died in our nation’s service, and it is a day of celebration in memory of all who have fought to defend our freedom.

While Memorial Day officially honors those who gave their last full measure to defend our country, it is also appropriate that we honor all service men and women who continue to defend the liberties proclaimed by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and through the United States Constitution. It is important that we not only recognize their service; but also respect their devotion to duty.

For more than 200 years, America’s Armed Forces have been our surest guarantee that Freedom will continue to be abundant in the United States. From the soldiers who fought bravely during the American Revolution to the men and women of today’s Armed Forces, these heroes have responded bravely to this nation’s call to duty. On the battlefield and in their assurance or readiness, they allow all of us to rest peacefully, knowing with certainty that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are protected gifts for Americans.