On July 11, our team had the opportunity of meeting with citizens from Geneseo at a Town Hall. Mayor Kathy Carroll-Duda was kind enough to introduce us to the crowd. Mayor Kathy Carroll-Duda was kind enough to introduce us to the crowd.
We had a great discussion on local and state issues, ranging from questions about concealed carry guidelines, minimum wage, funding for programs to help citizens with disabilities, FOIA laws, railroad tracks, back pay for Department of Corrections employees, workforce development and education, a disturbing trend of our young people and our businesses leaving our state, and general concerns about the economic and fiscal conditions in Illinois.
It was an amazing evening, and our team thanks the many people who came out to share their ideas and their concerns with us, and with their fellow citizens!
On July 12, I was honored to participate in a Legislative Breakfast Forum hosted by AARP at Bradley University.
It was a lively exchange and many topics were covered including the State of Illinois' budget and pensions, redistricting, and the taxing of retirement benefits. Although there was some variation in opinions, there was widespread agreement on many topics and what is in the best interest of Illinoisans.
Thanks to my fellow panelists: Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, and Representative Mike Unes, as well as organizers Lori Hendren from AARP and Brad McMillan from Bradley University.
Please let our team know what you think about these issues and others that are important to you. Send an e-mail to email@example.com or call 309-693-4921. Information about local and state events is available on my Web site at www.senatorweaver.com.
Illinois needs to improve business tax ranking
A recent report from the Anderson Economic Group shows that Illinois ranks well below our neighboring states in business tax burden, dropping three spots from a year before.
The report shows Illinois businesses have a total tax burden of 9.74 percent of their earnings after the cost of operating the business, but before taxes are withdrawn. The Anderson Economic Group says they “use taxes paid as share of profits, as this measure directly compares taxes paid to business income available to pay the tax.”
Of the states around Illinois, Missouri’s business tax burden ranks 8th, Iowa’s ranks 14th, Wisconsin’s ranks 13th, Michigan’s ranks 9th, Indiana’s ranks 7th, and Kentucky's ranks 31st.
It is important to note that Illinois' ranking is based on the latest fiscal year data available (Fiscal Year 2016), and does not reflect the increase in Illinois' corporate and personal income tax rates that took effect on July 1, 2017, as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget!
This report underscores the need for Illinois to pass measures that will grow the economy and make Illinois more attractive. We have pushed pro-growth, pro-job reforms at the Statehouse for years, only to have the majority legislative leaders stonewall most of our efforts.
Most opioid-related overdose deaths in state caused by heroin use
A researcher from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) says unlike other states, most overdoses and opioid-related deaths in Illinois are caused by heroin use. James Swartz says it is also often in combination of potent synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanyl.
The UIC researcher is working with the Illinois Department of Human Services to gain a better understanding of the opioid crisis in Illinois. The goal is to reduce deaths from overdoses.
“Illinois Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose Deaths” is one statewide project that is helping address the opioid crisis right now. This project has helped increase the availability of naloxone reversal kits and helped trained people to use them in several counties where opioid overdoses have been high. The counties include Cook, DuPage, Lake, Madison, St. Clair, and Will.
Swartz’s research also comes as Illinois undertakes its Opioid Action Plan, developed last year in an effort to comprehensively address Illinois’ opioid epidemic.
Strong growing season for Illinois corn and soybeans so far
Corn and soybeans across Illinois are enjoying a strong growing season so far this year. According to the latest Crop Progress and Conditions Report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 81 percent of corn is considered in good to excellent condition right now. For soybeans, it’s 72 percent.
Those overall healthy numbers are up from where the crops were last year at this time. In 2017, 63 percent of corn and 66 percent of soybeans were considered in good or excellent condition by early July.
The USDA also reports that the winter wheat harvest is 92 percent complete, compared to the five year average of 84 percent.
According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans and corn, ranking first in the nation with $180 billion in processed food sales. Marketing of Illinois' agricultural commodities generates more than $19 billion annually.