Pontiac TIF extension; Illinois-made electric buses

TIF district extension for Pontiac passes

Throughout Illinois many cities and towns have TIF districts, which stands for Tax Increment Financing. These districts have to be created by the General Assembly and the local government working together. They are valuable economic development tools which help these local communities to create and retain jobs. Some of these TIF districts are located in our area, including in Hoopeston and Gibson City, as well as in Pontiac.

Last week on the closing day of the fall veto session, the House passed legislation to extend the life of Pontiac’s Main Street TIF district and Interstate TIF district for another 12 years. The city council must now agree to the extension by passing an ordinance. The bill passed both houses of the legislature by wide, bipartisan majorities.

First electric school buses made in Illinois

Over the past several years we have seen more and more electric vehicles on the roads in Illinois and across the nation. One area of electric vehicle manufacturing that has not yet taken off is in medium-sized and heavy vehicles. That is surprising because so many large vehicles like repairs vans, delivery trucks and school buses have limited areas of operation and usually do not have to travel far from their charging stations.

Now that is beginning to change, right here in Illinois. Lion Electric rolled out their first American-made electric school buses from their plant in Joliet, Illinois, a few weeks ago. Lion expects to build as many as 20,000 electric buses and trucks each year, meeting a growing nationwide demand, and creating good-paying jobs in Illinois. Lion has previously manufactured buses in Canada.

Latest Economic and Fiscal Policy report

The latest state revenue projections from the Governor’s office for the current fiscal year showed an increase of more than $3 billion, which is more than $1 billion more than the General Assembly’s budget watchdog commission’s estimate. The Governor’s office went on to project an injection of $1.3 billion into the state’s rainy day fund and payments of additional debt in the coming months.

The report was issued prior to the vote in the General Assembly last week to pay off the remaining debt owed to Washington for unemployment insurance loans obtained during the COVID pandemic and lockdowns. The General Assembly still has to pass a separate appropriations bill to authorize the funds for that payment.

Thank you to General Assembly members

Last week was the final time that many of the members of the current General Assembly will be in Springfield. Several current members are retiring or otherwise moving on to other things. Thank you to everyone on both sides who stepped up and put their name out there to serve their communities and our state. And thank you to those who are on their way in with the new General Assembly in January.

I hope that we can work together to accomplish good things for the future of Illinois.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $2,793,836,623 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $4.8 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 $137 billion.

Did You Know?

The Illinois Supreme Court held its sessions in the State Capitol for 30 years. The Court chamber on the second floor is now a Senate committee room. Sleeping quarters were built in the Capitol for the Justices to use during their weeks-long stays in Springfield. Those rooms on the first floor are now House committee hearing rooms. The Court moved into its own building across the street in the early 20th century.

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Contempt citations against Illinois child-services director reversed

Chicago Public Schools could face $600 million deficit by 2050

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Exciting holiday season activities around the state of Illinois

Students invited to participate in Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum annual art contest