SPRINGFIELD – Forging bipartisan support to address a major concern of suburban homeowners, State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) has taken a leading role on legislation to provide meaningful property tax relief in a plan that cleared a key hurdle in recent days securing approval by a House committee, paving the way for consideration by the full House as soon as March 19.
The measure, House Bill 3511, would place a one-year freeze on township property tax levies, giving homeowners a much needed break from ever-rising property taxes in spite of falling home values. If enacted, the measure would apply to the current 2014 levy year, meaning homeowners would see no increase in next year’s property tax bill.
“Property tax relief is a critical concern for local families who work hard to achieve and maintain the dream of homeownership,” Cross said. “For the first time in recent memory, we’ve been able to advance a plan to deliver real property tax relief by bringing Democrats and Republicans together behind a common-sense idea that’s both practical and results-oriented.”Read more...
Budget – Unpaid Bills
State lawmakers set goal for summer 2014: reduce backlog of unpaid bills to $5.6 billion. The figure would represent progress from the high of $9.9 billion marked in 2010, and the level of $6.4 billion posted in December 2013. Current law strongly orients surplus State revenues to the reduction of past deficit spending, although the law is not airtight. Unexpected new Medicaid billings, for example, can reduce or eliminate any surplus earmarked to pay back Medicaid bills from previous years.
On Monday, March 3, the State Journal-Register reported ongoing progress in the bill backlog challenge. “It’s getting slowly better. Slowly,” responded Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect), pointing out that more than half of the 2010 backlog of red ink is expected to remain in place after the conclusion of the 2014 fiscal year. By bipartisan consensus, the House unanimously adopted HR 842 last week to continue the State’s tight budgeting in to FY15. This would allow continued allocation of future State surpluses, if any, to back-bill reduction.Read more...
Scathing Audit Exposes “Pervasive Deficiencies” in Chicago Violence Prevention Program
House, Senate GOP urging NRI investigation; freezing of expenditures. Illinois House and Senate Republicans are urging the Illinois Auditor General to refer findings from the Feb. 2014 audit of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) to the Executive Inspector General (EIG) for further review and potentially the U.S. Attorney for further investigation of potential criminal activity.
The lawmakers further called for freezing of any unexpended dollars – which could be as much as $31 million.