From the Illinois Senate Democrats:
House hears Manar school funding reform for first time
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) testified before an Illinois House committee this week, outlining details of his need-based school funding reform package, Senate Bill 1.
“It’s important to start this conversation early so representatives can educate themselves and their constituents about the need for better school funding. We had some marathon meetings in the Senate last year, but this was the first formal conversation we’ve had in the House,” Manar said. For more, visit the Illinois Senate Democrats blog.
Holmes supports consolidating local governments
Seeking to eliminate some redundancy from local government, State Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) voiced her support for legislation aimed at bringing separate forest preserve districts into county government.
“Illinois is cited time and again as having too many layers of government, more than any other state in the country,” Holmes said. “We need to find efficiency where we can. If most counties in the state can manage their forest preserves within county government, DuPage County can do the same.” For more, visit the Illinois Senate Democrats blog.
From the House Republican Leader:
Concerns continue as no agreement reached on growing spending crisis. With the FY15 budget more than $1.6 billion out of balance, more and more subsectors of the Illinois economy were affected this week. House Republicans reaffirmed their commitment to solving issues related to immediate funding issues faced by child care, corrections, and court reporter sectors of the economy.
“The unbalanced FY15 budget needs to be corrected immediately and brought into balance,” asserted House Republican Leader Jim Durkin on Tuesday, March 3. Pointing to the State’s failure under former Gov. Pat Quinn to meet its constitutional responsibility to enact a balanced budget, Durkin and his leadership team pledged to help “clean up the mess Governor Rauner inherited on January 12, 2015.”
Filing deadline sees 4,140 bills submitted for House consideration. The filing deadline was Friday, February 27, and by the close of business House members had turned in 4,140 substantive and appropriations bills for their colleagues to look at. Not all of these bills will get out of committee for full House consideration. Some filings, such as appropriations bills and resolutions, will continue after the deadline.
House committees have three more weeks, until March 27, to look at the bills filed before the deadline. Bills that fail to meet this deadline can be worked on by their sponsors and other interested parties for possible future action in the 2016 spring session. In many cases, a bill needs to be carefully looked at before it becomes a law. The status of bills filed in the Illinois House and Senate can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website.
Demmer bill could make equity crowdfunding a reality in Illinois. Current technology allows small businesses to solicit investments and raise capital from friends and acquaintances over the Internet, but Illinois law does not currently allow this activity. Cumbersome laws and regulations require the seller of equity in a firm to follow complex Wall Street-style safety requirements intended to prevent large-scale investment swindles. These regulations are not closely matched to the needs of a small community that hopes to raise money for a neighborhood-oriented commercial enterprise such as a coffee shop, craft store, or small movie theater.
Ironically, it is easier under current law in Illinois to get people to donate charity funds online through a social-media aggregator, such as Kickstarter, than it is to raise equity funds through crowdfunding. This is true even though a typical investor in an equity crowdfunding network is often not looking to “strike it rich” or earn a substantial return on his or her “investment.” Typical crowdfunded enterprises tend to be small-scale enterprises that thicken the social bonds of a community. They tend to be startups and small businesses.
Representative Tom Demmer has introduced HB 3091 to legalize some crowdfunding in Illinois. To be eligible to solicit an investment through HB 3091-style crowdfunding, a small enterprise will have to do substantially all of its business here in Illinois; firms that do transactions that cross state lines will continue to have to follow federal law. HB 3091 was filed on Wednesday, February 25, and was referred to the House Rules Committee.
From the Illinois Chamber of Commerce:
First State of the Budget Speech Outlines Massive Cuts, Plans for Growth
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech signals a much-needed return to fiscal sanity. Rauner dubbed this the “turnaround budget”, and it’s a plan that the state’s business community should support. Rauner included pension reform, cost cutting, streamlining rules and regulations, and tax reform as priorities, and the Chamber couldn’t be happier to hear that we have a champion for the state’s economy in the governor’s office.
“For far too long, we’ve been spending beyond our means,” Rauner said. “Saying nois not popular. But it is now or never for Illinois. It’s make or break time.” Rauner was harshly criticized for suggesting cuts, although in many cases, the funding will be higher next fiscal year with the example of an additional $300 million for education. He also touched on the current budget crisis, which sports a $1.6 billion dollar hole, and hopes the legislature will give him the authority to re-allocate current dollars to pay for prison guards, court reporters, and day care centers.
The Chamber’s statement that day explained that “Years of fiscal games have come to close with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s state of the budget speech today.” Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch continued, “The Illinois Chamber has asked for financial stability for years, and acknowledges that this spending outline is what fiscal reality looks like. The business community anticipated the considerable pain in the governor’s speech because taxing and spending was never going to fix the problem. This is the day the check is due.”