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BUDGET
House Democrats play games with education funding. Following the Senate’s vote on Sunday to override Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1, the Illinois House met in session on Wednesday, ostensibly to act on education funding reform.

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s House session was nothing more than political theatre.

Rather than negotiate a compromise to achieve fair and equitable funding for schools throughout Illinois, Speaker Madigan once again chose to do nothing.

State Reps. Michael McAuliffe, Christine Winger, Peter Breen, Grant Wehrli, and Keith Wheeler today introduced legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.
The Illinois General Assembly’s 2017-18 state budget tore a page from the script of “Casablanca,” the 1942 Oscar-winning movie, but lawmakers likely didn’t realize it.

In the movie, nightclub owner Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, reproaches Signor Ferrari, played by Sidney Greenstreet, for always withholding a percentage of Rick’s liquor shipment.

Smiling, the sly, rotund Ferrari responds, “Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges.”

The new state budget, approved July 6, casts the Illinois Department of Revenue in the role of the cagey Ferrari.

In the role of Rick are local governmental officials who wonder why 2 percent of certain local sales tax dollars, collected by the Department of Revenue, are suddenly being withheld.

Why, it’s simple.

Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges.

In this case, those new “carrying charges” were authorized by Illinois lawmakers, mainly Democrats, who overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the state budget. Read the rest of the Sauk Valley Media Editorial.
As more and more Illinoisans are fleeing the state due to the crushing tax burden, today State Representative David S. Olsen  joined Governor Bruce Rauner, Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in DuPage County as he signed into law a bill that makes it easier for units of government to consolidate or dissolve.

“What we are doing today will allow us to more effectively serve the people we represent,” said Olsen. “It is a great first step, and I look forward to continuing this bipartisan effort to make government more responsive and cost-effective for the citizens we represent.” Read more.
EDUCATION FUNDING
General Assembly to convene next week on education funding reform. The Illinois Senate will convene on Sunday, August 13, to consider a possible override vote on Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1, the controversial education funding reform bill.

The Illinois House of Representatives will convene on Wednesday, August 16, for possible action on SB 1 and related legislation.
State Representative David S. Olsen joined Governor Bruce Rauner on the campus of the University of Illinois today for the signing of legislation that will streamline and reform regulations that govern how Illinois buys billions of dollars in goods and services each year.

SB 08, now known as P.A. 100-0043, addresses the state’s procurement system and includes multiple provisions that will quicken the process and reduce costs. “These reforms to the state’s purchasing system will ease burdensome regulations and save our public institutions money,” said Olsen, at the bill signing on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s engineering campus. “I am proud to have co-sponsored this pivotal piece of legislation and am pleased that I could join the Governor for the bill signing at my alma mater. The University of Illinois and our other colleges and universities will benefit greatly from the cost-saving measures included in this bill.” Read more here.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement today on the retirement announcement of State Representative Mike Fortner:

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Mike Fortner throughout his time in the Illinois General Assembly. He has been a leading voice on important issues such as energy policy, election reform, local government and technology. Mike used his background and expertise to serve the public good and he has been a tremendously effective legislator. We will all miss his professorial intellect, wit and ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the lives of Illinois families. I wish Mike all the best in his future endeavors.”

Leader Durkin appointed Representative Fortner to serve as the Minority Spokesperson for numerous House committees, including: Cities and Villages; Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT; Economic Opportunity; Elections & Campaign Finance; and Tollway Oversight. Fortner has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2007.