Business & Economy
Braley Statement on Iowa State House Bill to Curb Collective Bargaining Rights PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Thursday, 17 March 2011 07:41
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) issued the following statement in response to the Iowa State House vote to pass a Republican bill that curbs collective bargaining rights for working families in Iowa:

“Today’s action by the Iowa House of Representatives is a blatant attack on our state's middle class. At the very moment that our economy is showing signs of improvement, the Republicans in the Iowa House have thrown a punch to the gut of thousands of Iowa families. This bill is shameful.”

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Harkin: Iowa House Republicans Using Teachers, Public Employees as a Political Scapegoat PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Thursday, 17 March 2011 07:40
Passage of House File 525 a huge disappointment for Iowa’s working families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), issued the following statement after the Iowa House of Representatives voted 56 to 39 to pass a measure that restricts the collective bargaining rights of public workers.

"Following Wisconsin’s vote earlier this week, I was hopeful that Iowa’s House Republicans would choose a different path, and not resort to using our public sector workers – our friends and neighbors – as a political scapegoat.  Unfortunately, today they voted to strip Iowa’s public servants of meaningful collective bargaining rights.  It is a shameful thing to do to those who work so hard for the public good, and it will only undermine the economic recovery of our great state.  

“Let’s not forget who we are really talking about.  We are talking about the police officers and firefighters that put their lives on the line to keep our families safe.  We are talking about the elementary school teachers who make sure our kids know their ABCs.  Our public servants deserve respect – especially from our elected officials.  They did not cause the recession, and they do not deserve to be treated this way.

“Iowans have a very strong sense of community – they know that in tough times it’s important to support your friends and neighbors and do all you can to lift people up, not tear them down.  Working families are facing unprecedented challenges, and it’s time that we all come together to do whatever we can to help rebuild a strong middle class with good jobs, fair wages, and benefits.  My hope is that the Iowa Senate defeats this measure.”

Governor Quinn Signs Sales Tax Fairness Legislation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kara Beach   
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 10:19

Legislation Helps Level the Playing Field, Protects Jobs for Illinois Brick-and-Mortar Businesses

CHICAGO – March 10, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to require all companies doing business in Illinois to collect and remit the legally required sales taxes. House Bill 3659 – the Mainstreet Fairness Bill – was a bipartisan initiative that passed both houses of the General Assembly with overwhelming support.

“Illinois’ main street businesses are critical to ensuring our long-term economic stability, which is why they must be able to compete with every company doing business online in Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “This law will put Illinois-based businesses on a level playing field, protect and create jobs and help us continue to grow in the global marketplace.”

The law, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Verschoore (D-Rock Island) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), will require all online retailers who contract with an “affiliate” in Illinois to collect sales tax on customer purchases and remit it to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR). Illinois currently collects sales tax revenue from the more than 20,000 retailers with physical locations in the state, including online and catalog sales from these vendors.

“Illinois retailers are crucial components of our state economy and our local communities. We need to ensure that those businesses are not at a disadvantage in our modern marketplace. I believe this law is an important step in leveling the playing field for Illinois businesses,” said President Cullerton.

“As more consumers decide to do their shopping online, we must make sure that our local businesses are competing on a level playing field with online retailers,” said Rep. Verschoore. “I would like to thank Governor Quinn for signing this law, which will help Illinois businesses stay competitive.”

“The Illinois Retail Merchants Association proudly stands with Governor Pat Quinn today as he signs House Bill 3659 into law,” said David Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “This puts Illinois as a national leader in restoring fairness – fairness for retailers, fairness for the economy but most importantly, fairness for taxpayers. No taxpayer should be punished because out-of-state companies won't play by the rules. Thanks to the leadership of the legislature and the Governor's action today, we can all rest easier knowing that the right policy prevailed and everyone is now on an even playing field.”

Illinois law currently requires taxpayers and businesses to report and pay sales tax on items purchased from retailers that do not collect sales tax on their behalf. The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) estimates that between $153 million and $170 million in sales tax revenue per year goes uncollected, as individuals and businesses are unaware of or avoid their obligation to pay sales tax on such items.

“It’s a matter of fairness. Stores and businesses located in Illinois employ Illinois workers, support community programs, and, through the property, income and sales taxes they pay, allow us to provide vital public services,” said Brian Hamer, Director of Revenue. “Online merchants with affiliates in Illinois should be required to remit the same taxes.”

“I want to thank Governor Quinn for signing this bill. His action has helped independent bookstores like mine, and thousands of Main Street retailers all across the state,” said Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops. “Illinois businesses will no longer be penalized simply for complying with sales tax laws. This is going to help retailers expand and create jobs.”

At the request of Governor Quinn, the Alliance of Main Street Fairness (AMSF) has begun a website ( to help Illinois affiliates expand their customer bases. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will partner with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and AMSF to provide growth opportunities, foster an environment to create more Illinois jobs and provide online shopping consumers with greater opportunities to save money.

The law is effective immediately.


Grassley comments on government spending PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 10:11
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Senator Chuck Grassley issued the comment below about the Senate budget votes today.  Grassley voted for the House-passed proposal.  It was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 44 to 56.  He voted against the substitute offered by the Senate Democratic leadership.  It was defeated by a vote of 42 to 58.  Both measures needed 60 votes to pass.  Grassley is a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee.

Grassley comment:

“Today’s votes emphasize that there are no more excuses for the Senate Majority Leader.  His proposal for a mere $4.7 billion in spending reductions is clearly not credible.  It’s time for the majority party in the Senate to get real about the federal budget and lead an effort to pass meaningful spending reductions.  The $61 billion in cuts adopted by the House comes from government spending programs that saw a 24 percent increase from 2008 to 2010.  What’s more, $61 billion is just 1/25th of this year’s $1.5 trillion federal deficit.  Forty cents of every dollar spent in Washington today is borrowed.  The Senate needs to do its part in responding to the clear message from voters last November.  Washington can’t continue to spend money it doesn’t have, at the expense of future generations.”

Governor Quinn Signs Major Redistricting Reforms PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Laurel White   
Monday, 14 March 2011 13:26

New Law Protects Minority Community Voting Rights; Increases Openness and Transparency in Redistricting Process

CHICAGO – March 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that protects the voting rights of racial and language minority communities throughout Illinois and encourages public participation in the redistricting process.

“Ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard in government is crucial to our democracy,” said Governor Quinn. “This new law will help ensure that racial and language minority groups throughout our state are able to elect leaders accountable to their interests and concerns.”

Senate Bill 3976 protects the voting rights of racial and language minority groups in Illinois by helping prevent a community’s electoral identity from being weakened by being divided into multiple legislative districts. The new law creates the Illinois Voting Rights Act of 2011, which allows legislative districts to be drawn to create crossover districts, coalition districts or influence districts.

A crossover district is one in which a racial or language minority group makes up less than a majority of the voting age population, but is large enough to elect the candidate of its choice with some support from larger groups. A coalition district is one where several racial or language minority groups may join together to elect a candidate of their choice. An influence district is one where a racial or language minority can influence the outcome of an election, even if its preferred candidate cannot be elected.

The new law also ensures that the legislature will hold a minimum of four public hearings before passing future redistricting plans. The new law was sponsored by Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and takes effect immediately.

“As we move forward with the redistricting process, this important new law gives us the tools and public input needed to create a map that is fair and representative of the people of Illinois,” said Currie.

The ceremony was held at the Chinese American Service League, in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. The neighborhood is currently divided into four city wards, three state senate districts, four state representative districts and two county board districts. Community leaders say the neighborhood’s division into so many districts has significantly reduced its influence in government, and that as a result, the area’s interests are underrepresented.

This bill was supported by numerous community organizations, including: the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, the Chinese American Service League, the Asian American Institute, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, the United African Organization, the Resurrection Project, and the United Congress of Religious and Community Organizations.


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