Baby formula scam warning; Legislation to lower gas prices

Attorney General warns about baby formula scams

With the recent nationwide shortage of baby formula, many scammers have risen up to take advantage of those searching far and wide to feed their infants. The Illinois Attorney General has issued a warning to help Illinois parents avoid falling victim to such a scam. These scams can involve swindling people out of money, or providing them with an unsafe product.

Customers are advised to research any source from which they might be considering purchasing formula. One indication of a possible scam is if the seller asks for payment in gift cards, money transfers or cryptocurrency. Other indicators include misspellings and grammatical errors, or physical addresses that appear to be parking lots or residences.

Read the Attorney General’s full advisory here.

Legislation would freeze sales tax on gas to fight rising prices

Everybody knows that gas prices have been on the rise – setting new records seemingly each day. In Illinois regular unleaded gas is creeping closer to $5 per gallon, with diesel prices even higher. This drives up the prices of everything we buy and nearly everything we do.

Bad energy policy decisions in Washington have played a big part in the soaring prices. The best solution would be for our leaders in Washington to reverse course and once again make our country energy independent as we were just a couple of years ago. But Springfield can also act to give Illinoisans relief from the rising gas prices. In a few weeks you will begin seeing stickers on gas pumps advertising the small amount of temporary gas tax relief (about two cents per gallon) which passed the legislature this spring. I am one of the sponsors of a much better bill to give Illinoisans more relief.

Illinois charges a 6.25% sales tax on every gallon of gas sold. So when the price of gas goes up, the amount of sales tax goes up too. This is a separate tax from the gasoline tax which raises revenue to maintain roads. Our legislation would freeze the state sales tax on motor fuel so that it cannot exceed 18 cents per gallon. At the time we introduced the bill in March the sales tax was already adding 25 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. With the price hikes that have hit during the month of May, that amount is even higher now.

Our bill would stop those increases and roll the tax back down to no more than 18 cents. When gas prices fall, the tax would fall with them, below 18 cents. Our bill ensures that it could not ever exceed that amount.

The best solution is a sensible federal policy that restores our energy independence and brings down prices. But in the meantime, we need to act in Illinois to give people a little bit of help.

Illinois nuclear plants helping reduce electric price increases

Illinoisans are hearing ominous warnings about electricity rate increases in the coming months, but at least one part of the electricity grid is able to hold those increases down somewhat thanks to legislation passed in Springfield. Last fall we passed a bill to keep Illinois’ nuclear power plants operating into the future. That bill also had language in it which created a “price-gap” law, requiring nuclear plant operators to calculate part of the gap between the price of electricity from the reactor and the overall U.S. market price of electricity, and then pass the discount on to consumers.

That law is now in effect, and it is helping reduce energy bills for Illinoisans who get their electricity from nuclear power. Commonwealth Edison has projected that it will post a credit of 3.087 cents per kilowatt hour starting on June 1, which will result in an overall reduction in customers’ electric bills by an average of $19.71 a month or $237 a year.

Visiting Rep. McLaughlin’s district

I enjoyed visiting recently with Rep. Martin McLaughlin in his 52nd district. It was fun to stop by the Norge Ski Club where they prepare athletes for Olympic level competition in ski jumping. We also visited Greg Leifel at one of the homes of the Sanfilippo family estate to see firsthand the beautiful woodwork and hear the musical sounds of their automatic instruments, a huge pipe organ and the Eden Palais Carousel. Thank you Rep. McLaughlin for our rich conversation, delicious food and the opportunity to learn more about the great people in your district.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $2,077,064,638 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $3.4 billion. 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 more than $141 billion.

Did You Know?

Springfield is known for its many Lincoln sites, but did you know that east-central Illinois has many historic sites tied to our greatest President as well? They include the Lincoln Trail Memorial near Lawrenceville where the Lincoln family first entered Illinois, the Lincoln Homestead State Park near Decatur where Lincoln lived in 1830, and the Lincoln Log Cabin near Charleston where the Lincoln family lived for many years. As you plan your summer vacation, you can find the many Lincoln sites in Illinois, including those in our local area, by visiting Looking for Lincoln.

Thank you to all those who have served

This Memorial Day weekend we pause to thank those who have served and sacrificed, and their families. We enjoy our liberties and freedoms because brave Americans have stepped up to protect and defend them for almost 250 years. Thank you to those who have served in the Armed Forces and to their families for all the sacrifices you have made for us.

More news from around the state

Illinois State Police offering flexibility, streamlined training for lateral recruits

Illinois Department of Agriculture continues emergency rule to protect poultry

Feds recorded Mike Madigan learning about secret payments to ex-political aide

IDNR reminds boaters to wear life jackets, boat sober

Illinois joins ‘border to border’ effort to enforce seatbelt laws, reduce injuries and fatalities