Visiting businesses around the district; State Fair gets underway

Monster trucks in Ford County
I recently had the chance to visit with Tom Meents and his facilities in Paxton. It is an amazing operation. The visit helped me develop a whole new understanding of monster trucks. They have put together a great team with an impressive focus on safety and details to getting things done right. The facility features a training area where monster truck drivers can learn and excel at their craft. It is a wonderful example of a hard-working entrepreneur in east central Illinois!

Illinois State Fair is underway
The 2018 Illinois State Fair kicked off on Thursday with its annual twilight parade and is now open in Springfield through Sunday August 19.

This year’s fair features nightly concerts, rides, shows, educational exhibits and fun for visitors of all ages. Throughout the fair, there are special days set aside for certain members of the community. For example, Sunday August 12 is Veterans Day, which means there will be special programs for Illinois veterans and that veterans and their families get free admission to the fair. Tuesday August 14 is Agriculture Day, which will include special exhibits highlighting the importance of farming to our Illinois economy.

For a full list of activities and admission information, visit

New lottery game will benefit current police officers and families of fallen officers

Gov. Rauner has signed a bill to create a new Illinois Lottery scratch-off game the proceeds from which will go to fund protective vests for officers, as well as police memorials and support for the families of officers killed or severely injured in the line of duty. House Bill 5513 creates the police memorial instant ticket game in the Illinois Lottery. Funds raised will provide support to the families of police officers who have given their lives or been severely injured in the line of duty, and will go to programs which give scholarships to the children of fallen officers. In addition, the law also allows money raised to be used for financial assistance to officers to purchase or replace protective gear.

New law will extend historic preservation tax credit
The Governor has signed Senate Bill 3527, legislation which offers a tax credit for rehabilitating historic buildings throughout the state. The bill expands an existing program which previously only applied to structures in riverfront areas of five Illinois cities. The legislation has large potential benefits: in its current, limited form, it has led to more than $80 million in investments in rehabilitation of historic buildings since the tax credit was created in 2012. Now that it is available statewide, it could help lead to improvements and re-use of buildings all across Illinois. The legislation also creates an Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit with a total of $15 million in tax credits to be administered annually by the Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Natural Resources from 2019 to 2023.

Summary of FY 19 state budget published
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) has released its FY19 Budget Summary. The state budget and its accompanying budget implementation bill were enacted as HB 109 and HB 3342.  These two bills lay out the particulars of the state’s budget for the fiscal year which started on July 1.

For FY19, COGFA found that projected state revenues and spending closely match each other. COGFA is charged with being the General Assembly’s budget watchdog, and accordingly will continue to monitor state revenues to review whether the actual cash flow matches the projections made when the budget was adopted.

How much do we owe? 
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $8,083,523,578 in unpaid bills to state vendors. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be approximately $130 billion.

Did You Know?
The Illinois Governor’s Mansion, which re-opened in July after two years of privately-funded renovations, was originally built in 1855. It is the oldest inhabited Governor’s mansion in the Midwest and the third-oldest in the nation. The mansion had to be built because the home provided for the governor at the time, Joel Matteson, was too small for Matteson, his wife and their seven children. The house, located in Springfield two blocks east of the Capitol, is now open for public tours.