Illinois lawmakers spent the week leading up to the highly-anticipated Budget Address working in committees, beginning the process of moving legislation and gearing up for floor action, according to State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg).
During committees, Sen. Fowler advanced legislation that would create a tax increment financing (TIF) extension for the City of Marion. Senate Bill 2303 would extend the life of the existing TIF for Williamson County for an additional 12 years, pushing for continued improvement and economic development in the area.
“We should be doing all we can to spur economic development in Southern Illinois. This legislation is simply extending a path forward for Williamson County to bring in investment, implement improvements and encourage economic growth in the region,” said Sen. Fowler.
The TIF extension unanimously passed out of the Senate Revenue Committee on Feb. 7 and will now advance to the Senate for floor action.
In other news from the Capitol, a joint hearing of the Senate Appropriations I and II Committees received an update from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget on the state’s finances. Next week, lawmakers will return to the Capitol for a joint session of the General Assembly to hear the Governor deliver his annual Budget Address on his framework for Fiscal Year 2019 on Feb. 14.
Also heard in committee this week was legislation that would raise the legal smoking age to 21, a measure to expand the number of people eligible to use medical marijuana, and a joint Senate and House hearing on the state’s response to the Legionella outbreak at the Quincy Veterans’ Home.
News in the District
Before heading to Springfield for the week, Sen. Fowler made some stops around the District, beginning with a tour of the Laidlaw Building in Metropolis. Sen. Fowler visited the old factory facility, learning about the current steps being taken to demolish the abandoned property, sell the materials for scrap and use those funds for the expansion of Fort Massac State Park.
Sen. Fowler also stopped at the Shawnee National Forest to visit the new Outpost on Karbers Ridge Road by Garden of the Gods. Sen. Fowler is excited for the business development and is optimistic that the business is meeting a need within the area.
Finally, Sen. Fowler is sharing news from the Illinois Department of Transportation about an upcoming road closure in the area. Beginning Feb. 20, IL 34, approximately 1.75 miles east of Thompsonville, will be closed. Repairs are being made on a drainage structure and will require the road to be closed through March 2.