Archive for June, 2016
As the heads of the following chambers of commerce and business associations across the State of Illinois, our mission is to grow and sustain our regional economies. We know the health of our communities depends greatly on supporting businesses both small and large and by providing a welcoming and stable environment for workers.
Unfortunately, that mission is at risk due to our elected officials’ inability to pass a state budget. For an entire year, our nonprofit members in our communities have suffered through inconceivable and unnecessary hardships directly caused by the impasse – laying off staff, eliminating or greatly reducing benefits to their employees, closing programs, cutting clients or closing their doors altogether.
It is no surprise that over the last year we have seen the drastic effects of the state’s budget impasse in our own backyards. A rise in unemployment, more crime and violence in communities, and the inability of many nonprofit partners to continue their innovative work. We are actively destroying the stable communities we worked so hard to build.
Our nonprofits are not simply charities who operate out of the goodness of their hearts. They are employers, many with hundreds to thousands of employees in a given community. They provide services that save our taxpayers millions of dollars in the long run. Programs like job training and youth guidance lead to additional economic growth and increase public safety in their areas. The total of our nonprofit members’ work keeps our communities afloat.
We understand there are political differences that may not be resolved in the near future. But we implore our elected officials – in both branches of government, on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers – to give our nonprofits the adequate resources they need to continue to pay their employees and keep their doors open. Honor their contracts and ensure we do not waste the hard work we have accomplished together to build these communities in Illinois.
Joseph Henning, IOM, CAE, Aurora Regional Chamber
Charlie Moore, IOM, CCE, McLean County Chamber
David Hinderliter, IOM, Chicago Southland Chamber
Desiree Bennyhoff, IOM, Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber
Norma Lansing, IOM, Effingham County Chamber
Chris Hembrough, Greater Springfield Chamber
Lisa Musch, Jacksonville Area Chamber
Les O’Dell, Carbondale Chamber
John Quigley, Elmhurst Chamber
Laurrie Minor, Sullivan Chamber
Mindi Terrell, Pontiac Chamber
Mary Jaworski, IOM, Joliet Region Chamber
Suzanne Corr, Barrington Area Chamber
Cindy White, IOM, Charleston Area Chamber
Jane Bushong, Homer Glen Area Chamber
Kathy Waters, Macomb Area Chamber
Bill Fleming, IOM, ACE, Pekin Area Chamber
Kerry O’Brien, IOM, Wheaton Chamber
Angie Hibben, IOM, Oswego Chamber
Kevin O’Keefe, Bolingbrook Chamber
Representative John Anthony of the 75th District, an Interstate 80-oriented district centering on Morris, Illinois, announced his resignation from the Illinois House this week in order to take on a new opportunity with the Illinois Department of Corrections. The lawmaker’s last full day in the Illinois House was Thursday, June 16.
Anthony, a former sheriff’s deputy, specialized in questions of criminal law and law enforcement in the House. Republican Leader Jim Durkin praised Rep. Anthony’s work in the General Assembly. “A former law enforcement officer, John quickly became a go-to guy on issues related to criminal justice and corrections. His expertise and insight on these matters will be missed,” Leader Durkin said.
During his time in the Illinois House, Anthony was the lead Republican co-sponsor of HB 1, the bipartisan 2015 measure to reform Illinois laws relating to heroin addiction, other opiate addictions and opiate-related deaths. HB 1 includes provisions to place opiate agonist drugs, such as Naloxone, in the hands of police officers and other first responders.
Illinois House session cancelled; negotiations continue to end budget impasse. House Republicans have been full participants in the continuing negotiations that are taking place to develop answers to the current questions that are affecting the Illinois budget. Talks are taking place on a variety of related issues that include school funding, higher education funding, funding for social services, labor/management reforms, and public-sector personnel expense issues.
House Speaker Michael Madigan cancelled the second of four scheduled Wednesday session days this week. Lawmakers would have met on June 15 to enable public discussion and debate on these issues, but as a result of the cancellation no meeting took place. The cancellation was criticized by Republicans, headed by Governor Rauner, who want all sides to work together to end the current impasse. “We’ve got to keep the government running,” Rauner asserted.
School districts begin to plan for truncated 2016-17 school year. A shortened school year could become a reality in Illinois if no State budget is enacted to appropriate money to public school districts. While education was funded in 2015-16 even in the absence of a state budget, this happened because the General Assembly passed a one-year spending bill that packaged together most of the usual line-items of State school aid. Democratic legislators last spring suspended what has become their overall refusal to appropriate money in a form tolerable to Governor Rauner and appropriated money for schools. However, the same lawmakers have so far refused to do the same thing this year.
School district spokespersons are telling the press that they are making plans for emergency budgets that will not include State school aid. Most school districts are dependent on both property tax revenue and State school aid, and will suffer if deprived of either source of funding. For example, the Monmouth-Roseville school board in west central Illinois is making preliminary plans to shut down operations and lay off teachers/other educational personnel after one semester of the 2016-17 school year. The plans include a proposal to hold an early graduation ceremony for the high school seniors of the district.
Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announces 0.2% drop in Illinois jobless rate. In May 2016, the jobless rate declined from 6.6% to 6.4%. The widely-tracked figure of Illinois economic strength was released on Thursday, June 16.
IDES did not say that the decline was the result of any special strength in Illinois job creation. The unemployment rate remained significantly higher than one year earlier (from 5.9% to 6.4%) and only 46,400 net new jobs have been created in Illinois during this twelve-month period, an increase of less than 0.8%. Illinois continues to support fewer total jobs than were paid during the most recent period of peak employment, a benchmark reached in September 2000. The drop in the month-by-month unemployment rate was attributed, by IDES Director Jeff Mays, to an overall decline in the Illinois workforce as Illinoisans leave the state or drop out of the employment picture.
Illinois lost 2,500 jobs overall in May 2016. Areas of comparative Illinois strength continued to be financial activities and professional and business services, with 3,200 jobs created in these two sectors in May 2016. Educational and health services saw a net loss of 2,300 jobs, partly due to significant layoffs in Illinois higher education associated with the current budget situation. The budget situation also contributed to a net loss of 2,100 jobs in government. Illinois manufacturing lost 1,100 jobs, in line with long-term trends in the factory sector.