Spending Exceeds Revenue by $4 Billion

Springfield… Illinois House Democrats introduced and passed components of their $36 billion dollar FY16 budget proposal today. State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) released the following statement in response…

“Instead of working in a bipartisan manner to compose a negotiated budget, Springfield legislative leadership crafted a spending proposal without an ounce of input from anyone but themselves. Their budget is not balanced and spends $4 billion more than we'll bring in. This is not right, and the people of Illinois know it.”

Through the I-Cash program, the Illinois State Treasurer's Unclaimed Property Division connects state residents with their unclaimed property.

Formerly called Cash Dash, the unclaimed property program was re-named I-Cash in 2012. The law that created the unclaimed property program was established in the early 1960s as a consumer protection initiative.

Almost everybody knows somebody with unclaimed assets: One in eight Illinois residents has an asset to be claimed in I-Cash. Assets include everything from stocks and CDs, to safe deposit boxes and valuables.

The names of 780,000 additional residents were added to the public web database after the state recently double-checked claims from years 1976 to 1992 – a time period before a computer-system upgrade streamlined the database's maintenance.

Click HERE to check today
This coming week denotes that the end of spring session is coming to a close. Beginning May 18th, the House is scheduled to be in session every day (including weekends) until midnight on May 31st. We have a lot issues to address despite what you may have heard in the last two weeks.

Rep. Demmer speaks out against the sham votes brought to the
 floor by House Speaker Mike Madigan.
There has been working group meetings for an array of issues, most importantly, the FY16 budget. These groups have been tasked to work collectively in hopes of finding a bipartisan solution. However, as many have noticed in the media, republicans have been voting “present” on all of the big ticket items that have come to the House floor for a vote.

Why did the republicans vote “present” on these pieces of legislation? The Speaker of the House decided that instead of going through the legislative process and working together in these meeting groups, it was best to file the bills hours before the vote; thus giving no one enough time to thoroughly read the legislation. To bypass the legislative process that our constitution created is disingenuous and outright disrespectful to everyone in Illinois.

We have a $6 billion dollar deficit to fill in the FY16 budget. People’s jobs and livelihoods are at stake while the Democrats continue to play political gotcha games, it’s embarrassing.  We were elected to represent the people and to come together to find a solution that is going to help fix the financial crisis we live in today. That is what I am focused on and will continue to focus on.  It’s not going to be easy, but everyone must understand that we have to do this together.

Here are some highlights from the last two weeks in Springfield:

FY16 Budget Sham: In a divisive spirit, House Democrats short-circuited the budget process by bringing the Human Services budget directly to the House floor with little notice and no committee deliberations, then defeated the bill with unanimous Democrat opposition. This action was not genuine; it was intended to send a message. Recognizing that, the House Republicans voted “Present.”

Immediately thereafter, House Democrats filed 15 additional amendments, cherry-picking various programs vulnerable in the budget and began running them one at a time, again in the hopes of deliberately sabotaging the budget working groups that have been meeting for months, and continue to meet.  Again, House Republicans voted “Present.”

Workers Compensation: A lengthy Committee of the Whole hearing on workers’ compensation issues was held before the full House on Tuesday, May 5.  Injured workers, members of their families, and other stakeholders testified to lawmakers on the strengths and problems of Illinois’ current system of workers’ compensation.    

Tort Reform: Trail-lawyer-friendly State laws and court procedures, which go far beyond the rights granted to trial lawyers in neighboring and comparable states, are blamed for a substantial share of the continued economic gap between Illinois and the rest of the U.S.  House Republicans are working with civil justice reform groups to enact needed reforms to these laws.

In southern Illinois, Madison County and St. Clair County, twin counties located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, have become a haven for venue-shopping. Civil actions are filed in Madison County at double the rate of Cook County, 6.5 times the rate of filings in Illinois outside these three counties, and many times the rate of filings of other U.S. states that do not encourage plaintiff law.  Advocates have long called Madison County a “judicial hellhole”.

Sham hearings continue - this time on Right to Work:  Continuing to put partisan game-playing before progress, House Speaker Michael Madigan again moved to divide the legislature this week by prematurely pushing a right-to-work proposal onto the House floor, dropping the language a few short hours before the vote. This is the latest in a series of un-negotiated proposals that forced Republicans to unite in protest against Madigan and the Democrats’ game-playing.

Property Taxes: It is not without reason that House Republicans question the majority leadership’s commitment to property tax relief, when out of the clear blue sky they embrace so-called property tax freeze legislation that neither includes reforms nor guarantees that property taxes won’t increase (so no freeze).  It’s not hard to draw the accurate conclusion that it is just political theatre.

Pensions – Illinois Supreme Court SB 1 Ruling: On Friday, May 8, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed a lower circuit court ruling on State pension system reforms contained in SB 1 (P.A. 98-599).  In response to enactment of P.A. 98-599, five separate actions were filed in Cook County and Sangamon County courts to enjoin implementation of the pension reforms, claiming the reforms were unconstitutional due to a violation of the provision in the Illinois Constitution (Article XIII, Section 5) that asserts pensions are a contractual right and cannot be diminished or impaired. The five suits were subsequently consolidated into one action in Sangamon County Circuit Court.

As always, please feel free to contact my office on any issue.

State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) introduced and passed House Resolution 486. The legislation commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Emil Bach House as an important landmark for Chicago and American artistic history.

The Emil Bach House is a Prairie style house in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois that was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was built in 1915 for an admirer of Wright's work, Emil Bach. Bach was co-owner of the Bach Brick Company. The house is representative of Wright's late Prairie style and is an expression of his creativity from a period just before his work shifted stylistic focus. The Bach House was declared a Chicago Landmark on September 28, 1977, and was added to the U.S. National Register o.f Historic Places on January 23, 1979.

Below is information for the 100th anniversary open-house.

IT’S THE PARTY OF THE CENTURY

You are invited to celebrate 100 years of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Emil Bach House.

Join us for an afternoon of tours, refreshments, music (Bach, of course) and the unveiling of a silver commemorative Emil Bach House coin.

Date: Saturday, June 6, 2015
Time: 1 - 4 pm
Location: 7415 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources if offering a grant to Illinois school teachers who would like to give their students an opportunity to learn more about Illinois' conservation and environment by taking a field trip.

Teachers in Illinois schools, including home-schooling teachers, may apply to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) through the ENTICE (Environment and Natural Training Institute for Conservation Education) program to receive funding for natural resources related field trips.

Applications must be postmarked by January 31, 2016.

Click HERE for the Application




State Representative Tom Demmer will be hosting a coffee talk on Saturday, May 16th at Mendota Area Senior Services (inside civic center), 1901 Tom Merwin Drive Mendota, Illinois. Coffee will be provided as the Representative will discuss legislative issues and field questions constituents may have. Discussions will begin at 8:00 am and end at 9:00 am. No registration is needed. Guests may contact Rep. Demmer's office with questions or may click on the link below for the flyer and more information.

Click for Flyer (PDF)
Springfield… Today Illinois House Democrats forced a partisan vote on a spending bill aimed at undermining the budget process and thwarting the ability of minority legislators to participate. Democrats introduced a multi-billion dollar spending bill, HB 4141, mere hours before the vote, denying Republicans an opportunity to fully read or offer input on the bill before it was rammed through. Republicans voted Present to highlight this irregular and purely partisan disruption of the budget process.

In response, State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) released the following statement…

“The budget process is in place to find bi-partisan solutions by having thorough discussions and input by everyone it affects,” said Rep. Demmer. “This piecemeal approach with only hours to review billions of dollars of spending is a disingenuous move that undermines the process, and undermines any attempt to work towards a bipartisan solution. The people of this great state are tired of the bickering and they want our state fixed, they want us to work together. I will continue to put my faith in the process as budget working groups meet and carefully discuss the most pressing issues facing Illinois.”