Lawmakers returned to Springfield this week, returning to the Capitol for a full schedule of committees.
As session continues, State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) is encouraging residents to mark their calendars for an upcoming Town Hall in District. On April 1, Sen. Fowler will be partnering with State Representatives Patrick Windhorst and Dave Severin to provide an update on the current issues facing the State of Illinois and communities throughout Southern Illinois. Topics to be discussed include firearm legislation, the Governor’s proposed budget and economic development in the region.
The event will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Hamilton County High School located at 1 Fox Lane, McLeansboro, IL.
Sen. Fowler will also be continuing his Mobile Office Hours tour across the district, visiting Anna City Hall on the 18 and Cairo City Hall on the 25. Constituents are encouraged to come out between 12 to 2 p.m. and speak with the Senator about issues in the community and across the state. Questions can be directed to Sen. Fowler’s District Office at 618-294-8951.
In other news, Sen. Fowler is encouraging interested constituents to consider attending an upcoming Recruitment Workshop for the Illinois State Police. The Illinois State Police (ISP) Recruitment Section and the Illinois Department of Employment Security are partnering together to host an upcoming Recruitment Workshop for those interested in becoming an ISP Trooper. The workshop will take place at Rend Lake College located at 468 Ken Gray Parkway, Ina, IL 62846 in the Science Building – Room 122 on Friday, March 29, 2019, at 11:15 a.m.
Interested applicants that cannot make the workshop may contact any of the ISP Recruitment Section officers below for additional information.
Master Sergeant Hector Alejandre at (708) 522-4946 or Hector_Alejandre@isp.state.il.us
Sergeant Jarran Riley at (217) 558-4902 or Jarran_Riley@isp.state.il.us
Trooper Aldo Schumann at (708) 710-1424 or Aldo_Schumann@isp.state.il.us
Currently, the Illinois State Police (ISP) are accepting applications for its next Cadet Class. Cadet Class 130 is tentatively scheduled to begin in October. ISP has 21 patrol districts across the state. The deadline for a completed application and required documentation is May 31. More details are available at the Illinois State Police Merit Board website at www.illinoistrooper.com.
Illinois’ state and local tax burdens
Illinoisans understand well, the amount of state and local taxes they pay each year. What you might not know is how we compare with other states.
The online consumer and financial website, WalletHub ranks Illinois with having the highest effective state and local taxes in the nation at 14.9 percent. The ranking was based on a Median U.S. Household income of $58,082, with an estimated annual tax burden of $8,653. WalletHub ranks Illinois’ current flat income tax rate of 4.95 percent at 39, our real-estate tax at 50 and our sales and excise taxes (taxes on products such as gasoline, tobacco and alcohol) in the middle of the pack at 25.
Some good news for Illinois’ Economy
The improving national economy may be impacting Illinois, although there’s still room for improvement.
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), preliminary figures show nonfarm payrolls increased by 24,000 jobs in January 2019 over December 2018. IDES also reported during the week that job growth during the three-month period of November to January averaged a monthly gain of 12,500 jobs.
However, the agency revised its previously reported December jobs gain downward from 13,600 to 7,400. IDES also notes the state’s unemployment rate remained at 4.3 percent in January, unchanged from December. Illinois’ unemployment rate is .5 percentage points higher than the 3.8 percent national unemployment rate reported for February.
New ballot requirements for presidential candidates heard in committee
Under Senate Bill 145, candidates for President and Vice-President would be required to publish or make their income tax returns public. Failing to do so would mean that candidate would be barred from appearing on an Illinois Presidential ballot. Under current federal law, presidential candidates are not required by law to publish or make their income tax returns public.
Courts have held, in two separate cases, that it’s unconstitutional for states to add requirements to a federal office. Those cases are U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton and Cook v. Gralike.
Senate Bill145 now moves to the full Senate for action.