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Residents and Businesses in Stephenson and Contiguous Counties Can Apply for Low-Interest, Long-Term Loans to Boost Recovery

Governor Bruce Rauner today announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the state’s request for assistance to help people and businesses in northwestern Illinois recover from severe storms and floods that occurred in July. 
Amazon urged to pick Illinois for its new headquarters. The Seattle-based retailing giant Amazon has announced that it is running out of headquarters space in its current city and would like to open a second headquarters in a centralized U.S. location. The second headquarters could contain as many as 50,000 workers, who would occupy a potential 8 million square feet of office space to be constructed for as much as $5 billion. Amazon has cited good transportation, strong schools, and a tech-oriented workforce as elements in their decision.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Documents Collection,
Illinois Digital Archives – A service of the Illinois State
Library and the Office of the Secretary of State
Illinois has been the home to four U.S. Presidents. That isn’t the most (Virginia claims that honor with eight) but it is still more than most states. But beyond the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, Illinois has been an important step on the path to the White House for a total of eleven presidents who were either nominated or re-nominated in Chicago on their way to victory in November. In fact, in the century-and-a-half since it hosted its first convention, Chicago has hosted more presidential conventions than any other U.S. city.
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As early as today, the Cook County Board could take action to repeal the controversial Sweetened Beverage Tax (Pop Tax) that was imposed earlier this year.

The penny-an-ounce tax applies to both sugar and artificially sweetened drinks sold in bottles, cans or from fountain machines in Cook County.

In a recent poll, 87% of Cook County residents opposed the tax. This new tax was levied on Cook County residents in August of this year and comes on the heels of a 32% income tax hike.

Small businesses in Cook County are also hit hard by the tax as they are seeing sales move across county lines.

Should the Board of Commissioners fail to repeal the Pop Tax, Rep. Michael McAuliffe has filed legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives that would immediately end the tax.

Tell us what you think about the Cook County Pop Tax
Educating children should be a bipartisan issue. Two weeks ago in the General Assembly, it finally was.

After years of working on this issue and months of intense negotiations, the General Assembly passed a landmark school funding reform law that fundamentally will transform the way Illinois funds its schools. This once-in-a-generation school funding legislation is the single most important bipartisan reform Illinois has seen in decades.

As downstate legislators of different political parties, we were proud to work together on behalf of the schools and children we represent in negotiating the final agreement. Illinois will go from having the worst school funding formula in the country to having one of the best. Students in school districts lacking local wealth will be prioritized regardless of ZIP code. That means underfunded downstate districts will get the help they need. Read more.

Governor Rauner announces borrowing plan to pay down bill backlog. After conducting a thorough review of the out-of-balance fiscal year 2018 budget passed by the General Assembly in July, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Thursday that he intends to exercise borrowing authority to issue $6 billion in bonds to pay down a portion of the state’s bill backlog.

“Illinois has been deficit spending for many years, resulting in a huge unpaid bill backlog. The state has been, in effect, borrowing from local service providers, including nonprofits and small businesses, because it takes months for them to get paid,” Gov. Rauner said. “My preferred solution has always been for state government to reform its spending, and for a strong, competitive economy to grow family incomes faster than the cost of government.
by Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin

For decades, Illinois state government has had a reputation for partisan gridlock and dysfunction. We’ve seen battles in which the only glaring difference keeping people from coming together was political affiliation.

Yet several weeks ago, it became crystal clear that partisan rancor finally had to be put aside for the sake of far more important priorities.

It’s widely known that leading up to last week, Illinois had one of the most inequitable school funding systems in the nation. For decades, we used a one-size-fits-all approach that led to great disparities in how much money, per pupil, schools received to educate our children. This created a statewide system of winning and losing school districts. But because the needs of students varied greatly from community to community, reforming the way we fund our schools eluded lawmakers.