Archive for the ‘advocacy’ Category

Illinois ranks 5th in export-related jobs

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

From the Chicago Tribune:

Illinois ranks fifth in the number of jobs supported by exports but the growth in number of those jobs has slowed, according to a report published Thursday.

The number of Illinois jobs supported by exports rose only slightly — by 1.3 percent — to 345,050, according to the report from the United States Trade Administration and the Commerce Department. That compares with a post-recession high of 374,162 export-related jobs in 2012.

In 2013, Illinois saw export-related jobs dip nearly 9 percent to 340,609. The decline most likely was because the state saw a drop in exports of machinery, particularly heavy equipment to Australia, said Mary Trupo, a senior adviser at the United States Trade Administration. This was partially offset by increases in other areas, mainly petroleum and coal products, agricultural products, and computer and electronic products, she said.

Texas and California topped the list of states with jobs supported by exports with 1.1 million and 775,320 jobs, respectively.

The report also found that the export of goods from Illinois grew 3 percent in 2014 to a record $68.2 billion, according to the report.

Overall, the state’s export growth has mirrored that of the nation as a whole: double-digit growth from 2004 to 2008, reflecting the strong national and global economy; a drop in 2009 related to the global recession; double-digit growth again in 2010 and 2011 as the world economy recovered; and then slow growth since 2012 as the world economy slowed.

“State exports are always going to be more volatile than national exports,” Trupo said. “But in the case of Illinois they are tracking fairly well and are likely influenced by the same factors.”

Trade-supported jobs are important because they tend to pay more, said Trevor Kincaid, deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative. “In fact, studies have shown that export-dependent jobs pay up to 18 percent more on average than nonexport jobs.”

The United States is negotiating free trade deals with Asia and the European Union.

The report also listed Illinois’ key agricultural exports, which include soybeans and feeds. The state’s manufacturing exports included machinery, transportation equipment, chemicals, computer and electronic products and petroleum and coal products.

 

Local Government Consolidation Task Force

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

The Illinois House Republicans report the task force meets in Wheaton, looked at Illinois local government.

Underneath the State of Illinois are almost 7,000 school districts, municipalities, townships, and other units of local government. All of these educational bodies and units of government have the right to charge fees by law, and most of them can levy property and other taxes from their residents. In many cases, Illinois residents are not fully aware of all of the different units of local government they help to support. Illinois law allows public-sector advocates to set up specialty units of local government, such as mosquito-abatement districts and drainage districts, whose taxes and assessment fees appear on residents’ tax bills.

Governor Bruce Rauner and Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti have made Illinois local government consolidation and the reduction of redundant public-sector work one of the focuses of their administration. Sanguinetti is the chairperson of the Local Government Consolidation Task Force, a panel asked to look at this issue. The DuPage-based Lieutenant Governor is familiar with the work of DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin at fighting back against proliferating local governments in his county, and at their initial meeting the members of the newly-appointed Task Force expressed eagerness to look at local areas within Illinois, and at efficiency practices in other states, for guidance on how to craft recommendations to accomplish this task. Cronin offered testimony and guidance to the Task Force’s hearing in Wheaton, held on Wednesday, April 8.

Task force members agreed that Illinois, with 6,963 units of local government (#1 nationwide) has much to learn from other states. One of the commission’s top-priority tasks will be to examine numerous mandates imposed by Springfield upon Illinois educational units and units of local government.

In addition: University of Illinois index shows significant improvement trend.

The Illinois Flash Index, a tabular reduction of Illinois economic numbers and trends published by the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, rose to 107 in March. The Institute’s Fred Giertz credited Illinois employers with reducing the State’s jobless rate to 6.0% in February. As a momentum indicator, the Flash Index often uses the most-recent figures from previous months to show the momentum of key sectors within Illinois’ economy.

Readings above 100 indicate an expanding Illinois economy. The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois year-over-year growth rates in corporate earnings, consumer spending, and personal income. The Index had stagnated in a range bounded by 106.0 and 106.8 throughout calendar years 2014, indicating continued slow growth, high unemployment, and low profit margins discouraging private-sector hiring decisions.

Local Election News Highlights

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

New College of DuPage trustees promise reform, independent thought

The College of DuPage board of trustees is set for an overhaul this spring when three new members take their seats.

The “clean slate” candidates, as they called themselves, promised a fiscal overhaul of the troubled college, bolstered by the board majority they pledged to create with Vice Chairman Kathy Hamilton.

Deanne Mazzochi, Frank Napolitano and Charles Bernstein claimed victory in Tuesday’s election. They won out over nine other candidates for the board at the Glen Ellyn-based community college. Mazzochi and Napolitano secured 20 and 16 percent of the votes, respectively, while Bernstein edged out former state Rep. Sandra Pihos by less than 1 percentage point for the last open spot, according to unofficial results. The three ran as a joint effort, backed by Hamilton.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/glen-ellyn/news/ct-gle-college-of-dupage-election-folo-tl-0416-20150410-story.html

Opinion: Voters go for a little spring cleaning

You could almost smell the Pine Sol in the air on Tuesday.

Turns out Election Day provided an opportunity for a little spring cleaning in at least a couple local school districts.

Over in Oswego, three newbies got the highest number of votes for Community Unit School District 308, dusting off a trio of board incumbents, including President Bill Walsh, who didn’t have a whiff of a chance after he was forced to run as a write-in following a petition challenge that led to his name being removed from the ballot.

Likewise, over on Aurora’s East Side, voters swept away the only two incumbents on the District 131 ballot, including the board president who, with 10.1 percent of the votes, came in sixth out of nine.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/opinion/ct-abn-crosby-school-board-ct-0410-20150410-story.html

New Oswego village president, trustees ready to begin work

Oswego Village President-Elect Gail Johnson intends to bring her style of leadership to the office, one she described as open and collaborative.

“I am a straight-shooter and tell it like it is,” Johnson said.”I will continue to do that in office. It might not always be what someone wants to hear, but I can promise it will always be the truth.”

Johnson defeated opponent Tony Giles in a close race for village president in the April 7 election, a race between two sitting village trustees completing their first and second terms, respectively.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-oswego-leaders-st-0412-20150410-story.html

Naperville elections, West Aurora tax hike boost voter turnout

This week’s local elections did not draw throngs of voters to the polls, unofficial election results indicate. However, Naperville’s participation exceeded neighboring communities in the consolidated contests that were decided Tuesday.

Visit the The Naperville Sun for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-voter-turnout-st-0410-20150409-story.html

Three new board members for District 308 hope to improve communication

Three new members will be seated to the Community Unit School District 308 School Board in the coming weeks.

Brad Banks, Lauri Doyle and Jared Ploger didn’t run together, but they supported one another in Tuesday’s race and had similar platforms that called for better communication between district officials and parents, staff and residents.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-oswego-board-winners-st-0409-20150409-story.html

Four new faces for East Aurora School Board

When the four new members of the East Aurora School Board are seated in early May, they’ll have a lot to tackle.

There’s summer construction projects to consider, a facility study in the works and a teachers contract that expires in June.

A new budget has to be adopted for the coming school year, state funding is still questionable and there’s the possibility of refinancing the district’s long-term debt.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-east-aurora-school-board-winners-st-0409-20150408-story.html

Aurora’s 5th Ward City Council race not over yet

Not only is the 5th Ward aldermanic race in Aurora not over yet, it likely will not be over for at least two weeks.

The race between Carl Franco and Steve Solarz right now is a difference of 23 votes, with Franco on the winning end. As of Wednesday afternoon, Franco had 1,121 votes and Solarz, 1,098.

But there are still some outstanding votes – absentee, provisional and grace period ballots – to be counted.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-aurora-elect-0409-20150408-story.html

Heinz gets eighth term on Montgomery Village Board

The incumbents were re-elected Tuesday to the Montgomery Village Board, and nobody in a way is more of an incumbent than Pete Heinz.

Heinz was elected to his eighth term on the board, village officials said.

Along with Heinz, voters also gave incumbents Stan Bond and Doug Marecek the nod to keep serving on the board. Newcomer Will Nanzer was also on the ballot, but fell short of election. Bond earned 31 percent of the vote, Marecek 29 percent, Heinz almost 28 percent and Nanzer 12 percent.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-monty-elect-st-0409-20150408-story.html

Slim lead divides Franco, Solarz in Aurora 5th Ward City Council race

It appears the face of the Aurora City Council will not change much due to Tuesday’s election.

With six City Council seats up, three incumbents faced no opposition, one incumbent held a prohibitive lead and another was leading, according to unofficial results Tuesday evening.

The only change for sure will be in the 5th Ward, where no incumbent was running. According to unofficial results from the Aurora Election Commission, with all 14 precincts reporting, Carl Franco, a retired air traffic controller, held a slim 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent lead over businessman Steve Solarz.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-aurora-election-st-0408-20150407-story.html

West Aurora declares victory in referendum vote

West Aurora School District will be making significant improvements to schools in the coming years after voters on Tuesday backed an $84.2 million borrowing plan to finance building projects.

With 50 of 51 precincts reporting, 61 percent of voters approved the borrowing plan, according to unofficial vote totals late Tuesday.

Visit the The Beacon-News for full article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-west-aurora-referendum-st-0408-20150407-story.html

Mervine, Franco capture Aurora council seats

In the city’s 5th Ward, retired air traffic controller Carl Franco successfully claimed the council seat held by Alderman John “Whitey” Peters, who did not seek re-election for the first time since 2003. Before that, Peters served 26 years as the Aurora Township clerk.

With all 14 precincts reporting, unofficial results show Franco defeating human relations consultant Steve Solarz 964 votes to 928.

Visit the The Daily Herald for full article: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150407/news/150408853/

Incumbents sweep all three seats in North Aurora

Incumbents have won the three seats up for grabs on the North Aurora village board.

With all 10 precincts in town reporting, unofficial results show Mark Guethle and Laura Curtis were handily re-elected, while Mark Carroll retains the seat he was appointed to nearly a year ago to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Ryan Lambert. Guethle served from 2003 to 2005, ran for village president and lost, but was re-elected to the board in 2009. Curtis has been on the board since 2011.

Visit the The Daily Herald for full article: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150407/news/150408922/

Residents approve District 129’s $84.2M referendum

Residents on Tuesday night approved West Aurora School District 129’s $84.2 million building bond referendum.

According to unofficial results, 3,138 residents voted yes, while 2,072 residents voted no.

The proposed list of projects includes constructing a four-classroom addition at Fearn Elementary School in North Aurora in order to eliminate two mobile classrooms at the school. The estimated cost of the addition is $1.4 million.

Visit the The Kane County Chronicle for full article: http://www.kcchronicle.com/2015/04/08/residents-approve-district-129s-84-2m-referendum/ag213qt/

Guethle, Curtis re-elected to North Aurora Village Board

Incumbent Trustees Mark Guethle and Laura Curtis were re-elected Tuesday night to the North Aurora Village Board.

In addition, Trustee Mark Carroll won election to the board, after being appointed to the board in May. According to unofficial results, Guethle received 1,203 votes, followed by Curtis with 957 votes and Carroll with 910 votes. Challenger Allen Cavender received 568 votes, and challenger Anise Hesson received 527 votes.

Visit the The Kane County Chronicle for full article: http://www.kcchronicle.com/2015/04/08/guethle-curtis-re-elected-to-north-aurora-village-board/a8yu65m/

Oliver, Kelsey secure terms on WCC board

Incumbent Rebecca Oliver held a strong lead over the others running for the Waubonsee Community College Board, according to unofficial election results Tuesday.

Oliver received 12,848 votes across five counties – Kane, Kendall, DeKalb, LaSalle and Will – and the Aurora Election Commission, securing her one of the two six-year terms.

Patrick Kelsey garnered 9,513 votes, more than enough to secure the second seat, results showed. Of the total, he earned about 4,100 votes with Kane County voters.

Visit the The Kane County Chronicle for full article: http://www.kcchronicle.com/2015/04/07/oliver-kelsey-secure-terms-on-wcc-board/anqmfrd/

 

Gov. Rauner Details Legislative Agenda

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner has begun putting a finer point on his legislative agenda, telling voters, elected officials and newspaper editorial boards during a tour of Illinois last week that his business-friendly plan is vital to improving the state’s economy.

During appearances in which he made several provocative comments, the Republican tried to build support for his proposals before legislators return to Springfield this week. Among them are a reduction in the cost of workers’ compensation insurance, tighter restrictions on eligibility for unemployment benefits and changes to the judicial system. He said he would back a modest increase in the minimum wage if the Democratic-controlled Legislature supports his plans.

“If we make those kinds of changes, we’ll increase our competitiveness, we’ll grow more jobs,” Rauner said during a stop in the Chicago suburb of Bedford Park.

For the complete article, visit the Chicago Sun-Times.

VNA Health Care’s Healthy Families Program Brings Awareness to the Issue of Child Abuse

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since 1983 millions of Americans have participated in this exciting public awareness campaign. People across the country work to raise awareness of the terrible tragedy of child abuse and neglect and to promote specific ways to join the prevention effort. April is devoted to celebrating everything we can do to transform our communities into places that care about – and actively support – children and families. To increase local awareness, VNA Health Care will display 500 Blue Pinwheels at the entrance of its health center at 400 N. Highland Avenue in Aurora on Wednesday, April 8 and share Blue Ribbons and educational information within VNA Health Center. Both Blue Ribbons and Pinwheels are nationally recognized symbols of child abuse prevention. The Blue Ribbon serves as a reminder of the hidden bruises and scars of abused children. The Pinwheel symbolizes hope and the promise that every child deserves to be raised in a healthy, safe and nurturing environment.

VNA Health Care’s Healthy Families is a signature program of Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) and provides home visitation services to support expectant and new parents, many of whom are facing challenges like domestic violence, mental illness, and social isolation.

Healthy Families home visitors receive extensive training in a wide range of areas that can cause stress and worry to just about every new parent: caring for a crying baby, ensuring the baby is receiving the nutrition needed, promoting healthy child development and coping with the stresses of the personal relationship and financial changes that may come with an addition to the family. HFA is an accessible, voluntary and well received service – 90% of all the families who are invited to participate in HFA’s program accept.

The Healthy Families Program at VNA was one of the first programs in Illinois when it began in 1994 with funding from the INC Board and the City of Aurora. The program is now one of over 40 programs funded through the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Healthy Families Illinois initiative, with additional support from local groups including the INC board,  the Fox Valley United Way, the Exchange Club of Aurora, and the Batavia Mother’s Club. 

Raising awareness of child abuse and neglect and supporting programs that support families has long been a part of VNA’s larger mission to provide access to healthcare. Throughout the month of April, Healthy Families staff will distribute Blue Ribbons, brochures and provide information on shaken baby, discipline and alternatives to spanking. For more information about VNA Health Care and our efforts of child abuse prevention, please contact Jennifer Graham, Healthy Families Coordinator, at (630) 978-2532, ext. 8447. Visit www.preventchildabuseillinois.org for ways you can help prevent child abuse in your community.

Early Voting Continues, Veterans Council Seeks Input, More

Monday, March 30th, 2015
Here is this week’s newsletter to members of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. If you have Member News to include,
please send it to us by Wednesday the week prior to publication. For more information, contact the Chamber at (630) 256-3180.
Header
March 30, 2015
In This Issue

 

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Elite Members

For more information contact the chamber.

95.9 The River
Accurate Personnel
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora University
Bad Monkey Circus Agency: Websites-Video
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
Basils Greek Dining
BKD, LLP
BMO Harris
CARSTAR North Aurora Collision Center
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Premium Outlets
ComEd
Continental Acura of Naperville
Continental Audi of Naperville
Continental Mazda of Naperville
DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd.
Global Data Sciences
Green Buddha Life Books dba E3HRA, LLC
Ice Miller LLP
Idilus, LLC
ieple, LLC.
Junior Achievement of Chicago – Western Division
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Magnetrol International, Incorporated
Martin Whalen Office Solutions
McKesson
Mind and Body Chiropractic
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Northwestern Medicine
Cadence Fitness & Health Center
Cadence Health Convenient Care & Medical Offices
Central DuPage Hospital
Delnor Glen Senior Living
Delnor Hospital
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
Old Second National Bank
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
Ryland Homes – Ingham Park
S&S Metal Recyclers II
Safeguard Construction Company, Inc.
Sign*A*Rama – Aurora
Sleepy’s – Farnsworth
Sleepy’s – North Aurora
Sleepy’s – Rt. 59
SmithAmundsen, LLC
St. Charles Bank & Trust
State Farm Insurance Companies
Stumm Insurance, LLC
The UPS Store – Kirk & Butterfield
The Voice
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company
WIT-Enterprises, LLC
WSPY
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Welcome New Members

CARSTAR North Aurora Collision Center
Brian Gore
1 S. River Rd.
North Aurora, IL 60542
(630) 859-8008
Auto Repair

Grothman Clinic of Chiropractic, P.C.
Francis Lopez
845 N. Lake St.
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 844-1244
Chiropractic Office

Distinctive Dentistry and Oral Surgery
Dr. Conrad Magno
1220 W. Ogden Ave., Ste. A
Naperville, IL 60563
(630) 848-1212
Dentistry

 

Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189
www.aurorachamber.com

 

 

Your Vote Counts
Vote

Early voting runs through April 4. Vote now or April 7. Check out the Chamber blog for recent posts as well as information on the April election, including races, polling locations, and more.
Business Poll: Veterans Council Seeks Input
The City of Aurora Veterans Advisory Committee wants to know whether your business offers a discount on programs, services, or products for our Veterans. To participate in the survey, please take the following brief survey: Take Survey
State of the City Registration Sold Out
Mayor Thomas J. Weisner The Hon. Thomas J. Weisner
Mayor, City of Aurora

Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m.
Piper’s Banquets
1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora

Sold Out

Register

To be placed on the wait list, please email info@aurorachamber.com today.

Thank You to the Following Sponsors

Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Cadence Health
Centrue Bank
Chicago Premium Outlets
Cordogan, Clark & Associates
Dreyer, Foote, Streit, Furgason & Slocum
Engineering Enterprises, Inc.
FHP-O-Cedar
First Midwest Bank
Heartland Recycling
Hollywood Casino – Aurora
HRGreen
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Old Second National Bank
OnLight Aurora
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Republic Services
Restoration Techs
Rush-Copley Medical Center
SmithAmundsen
Walter E. Deuchler Associates, Inc.
Waubonsee Community College

 

Public Policy Update
In addition, many public policy highlights (courtesy of the Ill. House Republicans), may be found on the blog.
Mark Your Calendars; Save the Dates
Business Leads Group 2
Wednesday, April 8, at 8:00 a.m.
Chamber offices

Ambassador Committee Meeting
Thursday, April 9, at 11:30 a.m.
Chamber offices

Business Leads Group 1
Tuesday, April 14, at 7:45 a.m.
Chamber offices

Ribbon Cutting- WIT-Enterprises
Tuesday, April 14, at 4:00 9.m.
481 N. Commons Dr., Ste. F
Aurora, IL

Business Leads Group 2
Wednesday, April 22, at 8:00 a.m.
Chamber offices

Business Leads Group 1
Tuesday, April 28, at 7:45 a.m.
Chamber offices

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, April 30, at 8:00 a.m.
Pomegranate Restaurant
55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Register

State of the City 2015
Sold Out
Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m.
Piper’s Banquets
1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora
Register

Save these dates:
May 1: Innovate Breakfast at IMSA
May 19: Coffee & Connections
June 11: Business After Hours: Mooseheart
June 23: Aurora Chamber Golf Classic 2015
July 8: ACA Compliance Program
July 23: Business After Hours: Hesed House
August 11: Multi-Chamber Women In Business Luncheon

Premier Members
Premier Members
Member News
Check out this week’s news from your fellow Aurora Chamber members.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 | www.aurorachamber.com
This email was sent by Email Patron on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Illinois schools have biggest funding gap in nation

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Courtesy of Chicago Tribune and Phil Kadner

Illinois has the most unfair school funding system in the nation, according to a study released this week by The Education Trust.

The state’s school districts with the greatest number of students living in poverty receive substantially fewer state and local dollars than their more affluent counterparts — nearly 20 percent less, according to the study.

In addition, it contends that school districts with the largest enrollments of minority students receive 16 percent less than those districts serving the fewest.

This comes on the heels of another study by WalletHub that contends that Illinois’ tax structure places a greater burden on the poor and middle class than any other in the nation. It says Illinois has the second-worst tax system in the nation for low-income workers, who on average pay 12.1 percent of their income in taxes (that includes property, sales and income taxes) and the worst tax system for middle-income wage earners, taking 11.3 percent of their income.

While the statistics may be new, none of this comes as a surprise to anyone who has looked at either of these issues over the past 20 years.

And to a great extent, both of those ratings can be traced to this state’s overreliance on the property tax to fund the schools.

The property tax system doesn’t tax wealth. It has nothing to do with a person’s ability to pay. In fact, as a person gets older and finds himself living on a fixed income, loses his job or finds new employment at a lower wage, property tax bills remain the same or continue to increase, often forcing people to sell their homes.

Using the property tax to primarily finance public education allows a school district with the greatest property wealth (whose students typically start out with more advantages), to spend more on teacher salaries and extracurricular programs, while forcing districts with a comparatively small property tax base to cut corners.

All of this is created by legislative policies set in Springfield, and none of it happened by accident.

 

For the full article, visit the Chicago Tribune.

Aurora Veterans Council Seeks Input

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

The City of Aurora Veterans Advisory Committee wants to know whether your business offers a discount on programs, services, or products for our Veterans.

To participate in the survey, please take the following brief survey: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eas2bouvi7ulm1mz/start

Public Policy Updates

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Gov. Rauner, Ill. GA Take Steps to Resolve FY15 Budget Shortfall

Faced with a $1.6 billion FY15 budget deficit upon taking office, Gov. Bruce Rauner almost immediately asked for executive powers to reorganize spending and enable the State to get through the fiscal year, which covers spending needs through June 30.

Without immediate action, the State would have been unable to make payroll at Illinois prisons, low-income working families would lose their child care assistance, court reporters would be laid off and money for services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled would run out. In addition, inaction would have further delayed and perhaps jeopardized critical categorical school funding and State aid payments.

After negotiations in which House Republicans were full participants, the General Assembly agreed this week to language contained in HB 317 and HB 318. HB 317, an appropriations bill, made cuts and transfers in State spending. HB 318, a budget implementation bill, granted the Governor the legal authority to carry out and implement the cuts in spending and spending transfers made in HB 317. Together, these bills work to fill critical holes in the deliberately unbalanced FY15 budget passed by majority Democrats and signed by former Governor Quinn.

Approximately $1.3 billion of the moves occurred in the form of budget transfers from various funds, and approximately $400 million was in the form of an across-the-board budget cut. The HB 317-HB 318 package created $97 million in budgetary flexibility that can be used to respond to specific challenges, including the challenge of school districts that have run out of reserves.

The House vote on HB 317 was 72-45-0 and the House vote on HB 318 was 69-48-0, with all House Republicans voting in favor of the measures. The Senate followed up by approving both bills on Thursday, March 26, sending the measures to Gov. Rauner for final action. Rauner, who pushed for and signed both bills into law, expressed a readiness to follow up on this work in alliance with House Republicans. The two bills became law as Public Acts 99-0001 and 99-0002, the first bills signed into law by the new Governor.

House Panel Hears FY16 Revenue Estimates

The House Revenue and Finance Committee heard testimony on Friday, March 27, from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) on expected State revenues in FY16, the spending period that will begin on July 1.

Spending pressures in FY16 are being driven by the continuing phase-down of the “temporary” January 2011 income tax increase. CGFA estimates that the State’s cash intake from the income tax hike is dropping by nearly $5 billion over the two-year period starting in FY14 and leveling off in FY16. This matches the two-year period marked by a drop in the State’s personal income tax rate from 5.00% to 3.75%. GOMB’s numbers and IDOR’s numbers closely match these estimates.

House Committees Advance 512 Bills to Floor

Including action in “committee deadline week,” which ended on Friday, March 27, the Illinois House advanced 512 bills from committee to the House floor in the 2015 spring session. House committees began meeting in February to take testimony and hear advocacy from witnesses, proponents and opponents for and against the measures filed by House members. This work was finished up this week. After the conclusion of the two-week “Easter break,” the House and its committees will consider floor action and amendments to the House bills that advanced out of committee. The House will also start looking at bills coming over from the state Senate.

Most of the 4,198 House bills filed so far in the spring session will not be considered further this spring, at least under their own names. Less than 13% of the bills filed this spring were able to achieve approval by a House committee. Advocates sometimes try to “consolidate” a stalled bill into a moving bill by redrafting the stalled bill as an amendment to the moving one. In addition, bills that do not move in the 2015 spring session may be taken up by the Illinois General Assembly in fall 2015 or spring 2016.

Jobless Rate Falls to 6.0% in February

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced on Tuesday, March 24, that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2015 fell to 6.0% from 6.1% in January. While an estimated 391,100 workers remained jobless in February, the overall numbers indicated that Illinois could be coming out of recession-scale unemployment numbers for the first time since the 2000s. 13,800 net new jobs were created in February, all in the private sector.

Unadjusted numbers for January:

2015

United      States

Illinois

MSA

LWIA 5

Kane       County

Aurora

Joliet

Elgin

Rockford

Waukegan

January

6.1

6.9

6.9

6.7

6.9

6.6

9.5

9.5

8.8

10.1

 

The new Prairie State figures represented an improvement of almost two full percentage points from the deep-recession figure of 7.9% posted twelve months earlier in February 2014. Economists and commentators often use “year-over-year” unemployment figures, particularly for specific states and metropolitan areas, as a tactic to reduce false signals resulting from random fluctuations in the overall numbers.

Most areas of Illinois employment showed strength in February, with two key sectors – trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services – each adding more than 5,000 net new paid positions statewide. Three areas of weakness were statewide manufacturing, which lost 800 jobs statewide, educational and health services, which gave up 1,400 positions, and government, which yielded 1,600 positions.

IDES has rolled out a new, automated database for the use of Illinois residents seeking jobs and in possession of vital skill sets. Illinois Job Link offers a wide variety of positions and opportunities.

House Republicans Continue Push for Audit of Troubled Expense Accounts

After the story of mammoth expense-account spending by senior executives of the College of DuPage broke earlier this year, House Republican taxpayer advocates began calling for a deeper inquiry into the financial reality behind the troubled college management team’s books. The College’s board recently approved a severance package of benefits totaling $763,000 for the college’s president.

DuPage County lawmakers have made this a key focus area in 2015. HR 55, a resolution requesting that the Illinois Auditor General conduct a performance audit of the College of DuPage to cover fiscal years 2011 through 2014, was unanimously approved in House committee on Wednesday, March 25. HR 55’s lead co-sponsors are Representatives Jeanne Ives, Jim Durkin, Patti Bellock, Peter Breen, and Ron Sandack.

State Employees File Lawsuit, Seek Clarification

Three Illinois state employees filed a lawsuit on Monday, March 23, to seek legal clarification of their right to not make mandatory payments to labor unions in lieu of union dues. Called “fair share” payments, the funds raised by their mandatory payments are supposed to recompense public-sector labor unions for the administrative burden of representing all of the members of a unionized State office or workforce. Gov. Rauner has publicly called for granting freedom to Illinois State workers to decide whether or not to belong to a union and pay dues.

Illinois Helps U.S. Navy Prepare for Launch of New Submarine

The capital ship, which will be called the “USS Illinois” when it enters commissioned service, is in the final stages of being fitted out on the East Coast and is expected to be launched later in 2015. Chicago business leaders are helping train two key members of the crew – the culinary specialists who will man the submersible boat’s tiny galley.

Physically slightly smaller and with smaller crews than the armored battleships that were once the backbone of the U.S. Navy, an attack submarine like the “U.S.S. Illinois” is in some ways even more heavily armed. A crew of 145 to 150 men will sail on a six-month tour of duty, much of which will be spent submerged. Modern technology even allows submarines to communicate with naval headquarters while deep under water. Although the “Illinois” is only 370 feet long, the “silent service” believes that American submarines serve as the ultimate deterrent to potential enemy action.

The “Illinois” will be the first U.S. Navy capital ship to bear this name since an obsolete battleship commissioned in 1897. Efforts to build a new American super-battleship in the 1940s to carry on the heritage of the Prairie State did not survive the end of World War II in 1945. The Aurora-based U.S.S. Illinois Commissioning Committee is leading fundraising efforts to properly celebrate two separate events: the new vessel’s approaching launch and its commission.

Aurora Candidate Forum Tomorrow Morning

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Here is this week’s newsletter to members of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. If you have Member News to include,
please send it to us by Wednesday the week prior to publication. For more information, contact the Chamber at (630) 256-3180.
Header
March 23, 2015
In This Issue

 

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For more information contact the chamber.

95.9 The River
Accurate Personnel
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora University
Bad Monkey Circus Agency: Websites-Video
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
Basils Greek Dining
BKD, LLP
BMO Harris
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Premium Outlets
ComEd
Continental Acura of Naperville
Continental Audi of Naperville
Continental Mazda of Naperville
DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd.
Global Data Sciences
Green Buddha Life Books dba E3HRA, LLC
Ice Miller LLP
Idilus, LLC
ieple, LLC.
Junior Achievement of Chicago – Western Division
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Magnetrol International, Incorporated
Martin Whalen Office Solutions
McKesson
Mind and Body Chiropractic
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Northwestern Medicine
Cadence Fitness & Health Center
Cadence Health Convenient Care & Medical Offices
Central DuPage Hospital
Delnor Glen Senior Living
Delnor Hospital
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
Old Second National Bank
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
Ryland Homes – Ingham Park
S&S Metal Recyclers II
Safeguard Construction Company, Inc.
Sign*A*Rama – Aurora
Sleepy’s – Farnsworth
Sleepy’s – North Aurora
Sleepy’s – Rt. 59
SmithAmundsen, LLC
St. Charles Bank & Trust
State Farm Insurance Companies
Stumm Insurance, LLC
The UPS Store – Kirk & Butterfield
The Voice
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company
WIT-Enterprises, LLC
WSPY
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Welcome New Members

Goodwill Store & Donation Center
Beth Nowaczynski
1543 Mesa Lane
Aurora, IL 60502
Retail

Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Kelly Heldman
2567 W. Sullivan Rd.
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 907-1313
Church

 

Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189
www.aurorachamber.com

 

 

State of the City Registration Sold Out
Mayor Thomas J. Weisner The Hon. Thomas J. Weisner
Mayor, City of Aurora

Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m.
Piper’s Banquets
1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora

Sold Out

Register

To be placed on the wait list, please email info@aurorachamber.com today.

Thank You to the Following Sponsors

Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Cadence Health
Centrue Bank
Chicago Premium Outlets
Cordogan, Clark & Associates
Dreyer, Foote, Streit, Furgason & Slocum
Engineering Enterprises, Inc.
FHP-O-Cedar
First Midwest Bank
Heartland Recycling
Hollywood Casino – Aurora
HRGreen
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Old Second National Bank
OnLight Aurora
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Republic Services
Restoration Techs
Rush-Copley Medical Center
SmithAmundsen
Walter E. Deuchler Associates, Inc.
Waubonsee Community College

 

Aurora City Council Candidate Forum Set;
Join Us Tomorrow Morning
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is collaborating with the Fox Valley Political Action Committee and the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce to host a Candidates’ Forum for City Council candidates on Tuesday, March 24, at the Copley Theatre in North Island Center. The event begins with coffee and informal introductions at 8:00 a.m. followed by questions from the business community at 8:30 a.m. The event will conclude by approximately 10:00 a.m.

The format at 8:30 that morning is a two-minute introduction from those participating followed by questions posed by a moderator to the candidates. While all candidates on the ballot are being invited, the questions will be posed to those candidates in contested races. Candidates will have two minutes to respond to the question.

Public Policy Update
Early voting begins today, Monday, March 23, and runs through April 4. Vote now or April 7. Check out the Chamber blog for recent posts as well as information on the April election, including races, polling locations, and more.
Mark Your Calendars; Save the Dates
Business Leads Group 1
Tuesday, March 24, at 7:45 a.m.
Chamber offices

City Council Candidates Forum
Tuesday, March 24, at 8:00 a.m.
Copley Theatre in North Island Center

Business Leads Group 2
Wednesday, March 25, at 8:00 a.m.
Chamber offices

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, March 26, at 8:00 a.m.
Pomegranate Restaurant
55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by: Zippy Shell Fox Valley
Register

State of the City 2015
Sold Out
Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m.
Piper’s Banquets
1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora
Register

Save these dates:
May 1: Innovate Breakfast at IMSA
May 19: Coffee & Connections
June 11: Business After Hours: Mooseheart
June 23: Aurora Chamber Golf Classic 2015
July 8: ACA Compliance Program
July 23: Business After Hours: Hesed House
August 11: Multi-Chamber Women In Business Luncheon

Premier Members
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Member News
Check out this week’s news from your fellow Aurora Chamber members.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 | www.aurorachamber.com
This email was sent by Email Patron on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.