Business & Economy
Grassley: Plenty of Room for Saving Taxpayer Money in Judiciary Committee Jurisdiction PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 17 October 2011 13:09

Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Submits Ideas to Deficit Reduction Committee

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley today submitted 18 pages of ideas to the Deficit Reduction Committee for possible savings of taxpayer money as the committee attempts to cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion.

Grassley focuses on administrative restructuring, reduction of duplicate and overlapping programs, and unnecessary and wasteful programs under the authority and jurisdiction of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

“I think it’s important that each committee of jurisdiction put forth ideas that can be used to reduce the deficit.  No one agency should take an unfair percentage of the cuts, so it’s up to those of us with the expertise in different subject matters to explain the best areas to save taxpayer money,” Grassley said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and various agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.  The committee also considers policy pertaining to subjects such as bankruptcy, mutiny, espionage, and counterfeiting, Constitutional amendments, Federal courts and judges, Immigration and naturalization, Judicial proceedings, civil and criminal, the U.S. Patent Office, Patents, copyrights, and trademarks, Protection of trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies.

Click here to read Grassley’s letter to the Deficit Reduction Committee.

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Working for a New Approach for Economic Recovery PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:31

Friday, October 14, 2011

 

During his weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley discusses taking a new approach to encourage economic recovery and job creation, given bipartisan opposition to the President’s proposal for a new $447 billion spending plan.

Click here for audio.

Here is the text of the address:

This week, there was a bipartisan opposition in the Senate to the President’s proposal for a new $447 billion spending plan.  The President’s first big stimulus bill, enacted in 2009, didn’t keep the unemployment rate down, and it’s unclear how this second massive one would create and sustain jobs.  It also would raise taxes, and whatever the details of the tax increase, there’s plenty of evidence that raising taxes in a struggling economy makes things worse.  Plus, since World War II, every dollar in new taxes has resulted in $1.17 in government spending.  That’s the opposite direction that we should be headed.  The emphasis has got to be on reducing spending, not increasing taxes and a license for more spending.  In fact, what the President wants to do is pay for temporary programs with permanent tax hikes, so it’s clear that this would lead to more government spending long past what he says would be an economic stimulus.  People at the grass roots know that growing deficits and debt are getting in the way of America’s economic recovery.  And pessimism about Washington’s ability to act in a fiscally responsible way by spending less is a damper on the economy.

So, instead of a proposal that emphasizes higher taxes and more government spending, it’s time for a new approach.  Private-sector employers need certainty.  They need to know higher taxes and more burdensome regulations aren’t just around the corner.  They need an international trade agenda that opens new doors sell U.S. products and services.  This week’s action on three trade agreements are a start, but these agreements have been delayed unnecessarily for years now, and the rest of the world is moving ahead without us.  The administration needs to move forward on other trade initiatives without delay.  Affordable energy is needed, too.  It’s time to ramp up production of traditional energy sources here at home and to expand alternative and renewable energy sources

Washington needs to give employers confidence and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of big and small businesses nationwide.

 

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Quad-City Advertising Agency Celebrates 10-Years in Business PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jake Glimco   
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:26

Q-C Chamber to Host Ribbon-Cutting and Reception

Rock Island, IL / October 14, 2011 – Few words describe Media Link, Inc.’s founder Natalie Linville-Mass than ‘courageous’ and ‘determined.’  When she established her own advertising agency in 2001, the world had just experienced a sea-change.  The rubble at Ground Zero was still smoldering following the attack on the World Trade Center the previous month.   After a diverse career that included working in television news, production, and in national media sales, Natalie was undeterred in her decision to launch her own advertising agency.  Starting with just a few clients, including Quad-City businesses Country Style Ice Cream, Doug’s Heating and Air Conditioning, who remain loyal clients, Natalie opened her own agency October 12, 2001 (then named Gendron Advertising) in Davenport’s Union Arcade building.  She has never looked back.

Ten years later, much has changed.  Gendron Advertising became Media Link in May 2006.  The office moved to Rock Island. While the economic uncertainty that began with 9/11 hasn’t completely lifted, Linville-Mass hasn’t lost her vision for seeing opportunities wrapped inside of challenges.  Linville-Mass is once again launching an ambitious endeavor, developing and now nationally marketing a proprietary media buying software, Media Link Software,™ (MLS).  MLS was created by Linville-Mass and a team of industry and technical experts.  MLS was built to address the shortcomings of the leading media buying platforms, which she had used since beginning her agency. According to Nielsen Media Research, MLS is the first user-designed media buying platform to incorporate Neilsen and Arbitron ratings.

“It has never been more crucial to prove return-on-investment.  MLS helps advertisers do just that, by offering a single, affordable, time-saving solution,” said Linville-Mass about her brainchild.  MLS provides a clear and fluid process for placing media as well as offering clear reporting on reach, frequency and cost-per-point/cost-per-thousand.  Unlike other options, MLS also offers a fee structure sustainable for small and medium-sized agencies.

In addition to personally serving a growing list of clients, Linville-Mass is an active member of the Quad-City Chamber of Commerce and serves on several local public-policy committees.   Mary Chappell, Land and Development Programs Coordinator for the City of Rock Island, serves with Natalie on the Advanced Technology and Sustainability Consortium and has been a key advisor to Natalie since helping her navigate zoning ordinances in establishing her Rock Island office.

“Natalie has such a great story.  She has the heart and soul of an entrepreneur.  Natalie’s fierce tenacity, vision and thoroughness allows her to make the necessary course-corrections when others would panic.  At the same time, she approaches everything she does with enthusiasm and purpose, always focusing on what is the best for the client or the task at hand.  Unlike many, she has a plan and is working it, and advises her clients to do the same. ”

Vicky Miller, Director of the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center, has been an advocate for Linville-Mass as she has grown her business.  “Natalie’s intense sense of business intellect, drive, integrity and grit is what makes her unique. She has the strength and drive vital for a successful entrepreneur, yet remains compassionate to the needs of others.  She has depth and breadth in her business skills and it shines through when you work with her.”

Media Link currently serves more than 30 clients from a broad range of industries, including retail, food service hospitality and healthcare. Media Link obtained its first government contract in September.  Media Link now has four full-time and one part-time employee and is the only current 8(a) certified advertising agency in the state of Iowa.

The Quad-City Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon-cutting and reception celebrating Media Link’s 10 years in business on Wednesday, October 26th at 4:00 p.m. at their office at 1902 17th Street, Rock Island, IL.

 

Media Link, Inc. is an 8(a) SDB Certified, woman-owned small business and full-service advertising agency dedicated to helping companies at local, regional and national levels make informed advertising decisions and develop strategic marketing plans.

 

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Governor Quinn Advances Workers Compensation Reform with Arbitrator Appointments PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:15

All Arbitrators Vetted in Overhaul of System Following This Year’s Reforms

CHICAGO – October 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the appointments of 29 arbitrators in Illinois’ workers’ compensation system. Arbitrators rule on claims filed under the state’s Workers Compensation Act. The appointments are part of a package of reforms to the workers’ compensation system that Governor Quinn pushed through the General Assembly and signed earlier this year.

The overhaul called for the Governor to make appointments or reappointments to fill all arbitrator positions, considering recommendations from the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board. Members of the board - six representing employers and six representing workers - were appointed by the Governor earlier this year. Each appointed arbitrator also underwent a rigorous vetting process by the Advisory Board and the Office of the Governor.

“These arbitrator appointments are a key step in ensuring that our workers’ compensation system is professional, transparent, and fair for both workers and employers,” Governor Quinn said. “These reforms are crucial to improving Illinois’ business climate, and this new group of arbitrators will be the most credentialed and experienced group of professionals Illinois has ever had in place to judge workers’ compensation cases.”

In 2010, Illinois had the third highest workers’ compensation premium costs in the nation. This year’s reforms are projected to result in a nearly 9 percent decrease in compensation costs for employers, based on a filing with the Illinois Department of Insurance by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. Illinois employers are expected to save up to $500 million annually in premiums as a result of the overhaul package.

While only 4 percent of the roughly 50,000 claims filed with the commission each year involve state employees, recent reports of a high level of claims, awards and settlements involving state employees in certain jurisdictions have resulted in an ongoing investigation by the Illinois Department of Insurance. To avoid the possibility that long-standing relationships among parties could compromise the integrity of the process, the reform package included the random assignment of cases amongst arbitrators. In addition, arbitrators will now rotate among the Illinois’ statewide hearing sites every 90 days.

Under the new law, all newly-appointed arbitrators must be attorneys. Five sitting arbitrators who are not attorneys were reappointed based on their years of experience and exemplary performance, as allowed under the reform law. In total, 24 of the 29 total arbitrator appointees are attorneys.

Nine sitting arbitrators were not reappointed by the Governor: John Dibble, Gilberto Galicia, James Giordano, Kathleen Hagan, Robert Lammie, Andrew Nalefski, Richard Peterson and Joseph Prieto. One arbitrator, Charles DeVriendt, will be appointed to the Commission. Former arbitrator Jennifer Teague resigned as of July 30, 2011.

Governor Quinn has appointed:

 

Peter Akemann of Kane County has more than 10 years of experience in State government and has been with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1994.  Previously Mr. Akemann worked as a regional claims manager for the Illinois Department of Transportation, is the President of the Children’s Theatre of Elgin / Fox Valley Theatre Co., and has been an active member of community organizations such as the YMCA and the Youth Leadership Academy.  He holds a master’s of education from Northern Illinois University, an M.A. from Northwestern University, and a B.S. from Brigham Young University.  Mr. Akemann has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

George Andros of Cook County has more than 30 years of experience practicing law and has been with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2005.  Mr. Andros holds a J.D. from DePaul University and a B.S. in Management from Northern Illinois University.  Previously he was an instructor in real estate law at South Suburban and Moraine Valley Colleges, a senior member of the City of Palos Hills Planning and Zoning Commission, a speaker at the University of Chicago Center for Continuing Education on Medical-legal issues and a speaker for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education.  Mr. Andros has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Milton Black of Lake County has more than 30 years of experience in civil litigation with an emphasis on workers’ compensation, negligence and wrongful death.  Mr. Black has been with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2004, while serving on the Board of Directors of the Workplace Injury Litigation Group, the American Bar Association Employer Liability Section and Trial and Insurance Practice Section.  He holds a J.D. from DePaul University. Mr. Black has been a lecturer at numerous workplace injury and workers’ compensation seminars and was appointed to the Select Committee of Judges and Lawyers by the Illinois Supreme Court.  Mr. Black has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Kurt Carlson of Cook County has more than 15 years of experience as a workers’ compensation attorney, and has been an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2004.  Previously he represented both employers and injured workers at the Macey, Chern and Diab, Teplitz & Bell, and Power & Cronin law firms.  Mr. Carlson also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp before obtaining his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Mr. Carlson has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Brian Cronin of Cook County has more than 20 years of experience in the finance and business, and has been an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1996.  Previously Mr. Cronin was an independent and head trader, broker, trading floor manager and an options specialist for several firms, including the Chicago Board of Trade, Barclays Bank, and O’Connell & Piper Associates.  He holds an MBA in Finance and Business Policy from the University of Chicago, and an MBA in Management and Finance from the University of Notre Dame.  Mr. Cronin has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Carolyn Doherty of DuPage County has more than 20 years of experience in workers’ compensation, insurance law, and has served as an attorney with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1998.  Ms. Doherty also serves as an Arbitrator in Cook and DuPage County Mandatory Arbitration systems on a rotational basis.  She holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.A. from Marquette University, and previously worked as an associate at the Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold, Hanson & Peters, and Schoen & Smith law firms.   Ms. Doherty has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Greg Dollison of Cook County has more than 20 years of experience with the Workers’ Compensation Commission as a review coordinator, and has moderated negotiations between employers and union representatives.  He has served as an arbitrator for the IWCC since 2004.  Mr. Dollison has B.S. in City and Regional Planning from the Illinois Institute of Technology and attended Roosevelt University.  Mr. Dollison has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Anthony Erbacci of Cook County has more than 25 years of extensive experience in State government and insurance and labor law.  He has served as a staff attorney at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1996 and has been an arbitrator since 1997.  Previously Mr. Erbacci served as the Deputy General Counsel of Office of the Special Deputy Receiver, Inc., as Deputy Director of Statewide Enforcement and Chief of Medical Prosecutions at the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, and as Counsel for the Illinois Department of Labor.  He received a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.A. from DePaul University.  Mr. Erbacci has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Robert Falcioni of Will County has served as a staff attorney and as Acting Commissioner at the Illinois Industrial Commission (Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission), and has been an arbitrator since 1997.   He has more than 20 years of law experience is an adjunct faculty member and instructor of the paralegal program at South Suburban College.  Previously Mr. Falcioni was managing partner at Falcioni and Britt, after serving as an attorney at the Charles R. Stone, Hyatt Legal Services and Zalutsky, Pinski and DiGiacamo law firms.  He holds a J.D. from Chicago-Kent School of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.S. from Illinois State University.  Mr. Falcioni has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Barbara Flores of Cook County brings more than five years of law experience as Corporate Counsel of Alden Management Services, previously in the Labor and Employment law department at the U.S. Postal Service, and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Labor and Employment Unit at the Office of the Attorney General.  Ms. Flores also previously worked at the firm Rock, Fusco and Garvey and at the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago.  She holds a J.D. from Chicago-Kent School of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a B.S. from the University of Illinois.  Ms. Flores has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Joann Fratianni-Atsaves of Lake County has more than 30 years of workers’ compensation law experience, having served as a Commissioner (Public Member) for three years and as an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1993. She previously has worked at the Anthony V. Fanone and Osterkamp, Jackson and Hollywood law firms, is a Fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation, current assembly member of the Illinois State Bar Association, and a member of the Lake County Bar Association Board of Directors.  She received J.D. from Northern Illinois University and a B.A. from the University of Illinois.  Ms. Fratianni-Atsaves has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Gerald Granada of Cook County has 17 years of experience of workers’ compensation law, and is currently an Associate Attorney at Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Rolek. Previously, he worked as a civil trial and workers’ compensation defense attorney at Meachum, Spahr, Cozzi, Postel, Zenz & Matyas, and as an associate attorney at Cullen, Haskins, Nicholson & Menchetti. Mr. Granada has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Douglas Holland of LaSalle County has more than 20 years of experience with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  Mr. Holland has served as an arbitrator with the Commission since 1989, and prior to that served for three years as a Commissioner.   He is a farmer and entrepreneur, and holds a B.A. from Sangamon State University, and attended Illinois Valley Community College.  Mr. Holland has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Gerald Jutila of Cook County brings more than 30 years of experience representing injured or deceased workers and their families.  He has served as Acting Chairman of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and has been an arbitrator since 2004.  Previously he was an attorney at May, Decker and Associates, managing partner at Collins, Jutila and Shovlain, and counsel at Gibson and Kopsick.  Mr. Jutila is a Life Fellow of the Illinois State Bar Association since 1996 and has been a member of numerous professional law associations.  He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force Security Service, where he served as Staff Sergeant and Intelligence Analyst.  Mr. Jutila has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

David Kane of Cook County has 30 years of overall workers’ compensation law experience as a staff attorney and a former Acting Commissioner of the Illinois Industrial Commission (Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission).  He has been an arbitrator since 1990.   He holds a J.D. from DePaul University and a B.A. from Northwestern University.  Mr. Kane has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Svetlana Kelmanson of Cook County brings eight years of law experience, having served as a staff attorney at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and as a law clerk at the Appellate Court of Illinois First District.  Ms. Kelmanson also worked at the Law Offices of Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and the Employment Discrimination / Civil Rights Clinic, and at the law firm Sachnoff  & Weaver.  She holds J.D. with high honors from Chicago-Kent College at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.S. from the University of Illinois. Ms. Kelmanson has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

Jacqueline Kinnaman of Cook County has served as a Commissioner of the Illinois Industrial Commission (Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission) for more than 10 years, and has been an arbitrator since 2004. Ms. Kinnaman previously represented public employees as an attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31, and as General Counsel of the West Virginia Education Association. She attended the University of Wisconsin Law School, during which she also worked in the legal counsel office of Governor Schreiber. Ms. Kinnaman has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Edward Lee of DuPage County has more than 30 years of overall workers’ compensation law experience.  He served as a U.S. Army Armor Officer, representing soldiers or the Army in court martial cases.  Mr. Lee worked in private practice specializing in workers’ compensation law, representing both respondents and petitioners.  He has been an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1997, and in 2004 served on the Review Board dealing with disciplinary issues concerning Arbitrators and Commissioners.  He holds a law degree from John Marshall Law School and attended Tulane University for his undergraduate studies.  Mr. Lee has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Joshua Luskin of Cook County has 15 years of law experience and is currently a partner at the law firm Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry, specializing in workers’ compensation. Previously, Mr. Luskin has served as an arbitrator with the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration program, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps as a prosecutor, as counsel of the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor and a Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney. He holds a J.D. from University of Michigan and a B.A. from Macalester College. Mr. Luskin has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

Molly Mason of Cook County has more than 25 years of workers’ compensation law experience, served as a Commissioner with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2007 and as a staff attorney since 2003. Ms. Mason previously worked at law firms Corti, Freeman & Aleksy, and Burke & Burke, and has published several articles in the Illinois Bar Journal.  She holds a J.D. from Loyola University, and a B.A. from Harvard University.  Ms. Mason has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Stephen Mathis of Sangamon County served for 10 years as Legal Counsel and Staff Analyst for the Illinois Senate Staff, and has been an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1996.  He holds a J.D. from John Marshall Law School and a B.S from the University of South Florida and has more than 20 years of workers’ compensation law experience.  Mr. Mathis has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Neva Neal Mundstock of Sangamon County has more than 25 years of experience in workers’ compensation and has been an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1981. She has studied Administrative Law and the National Judicial College and holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ms. Neal Mundstock has been appointed to a 1­­-year term as an arbitrator.

Peter O’Malley of DuPage County has more than 20 years of workers’ compensation experience as a staff attorney of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1995 and as an arbitrator since 2003.  Previously Mr. O’Malley represented petitioners and respondents in workers’ compensation cases at Kubiesa, Power &Cronin and Bullaro, Carton & Stone. He holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.S. from Marquette University.  Mr. O’Malley has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Maureen Pulia of Cook County brings extensive experience in business, government and workers’ compensation.  She has been a staff attorney for Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and has been an arbitrator since 2003.  Previously, Ms. Pulia was the Director of Access Health, Trustee of the Village of Westchester, and product manager of systems and management at Baxter Healthcare.   She holds a J.D. and a B.S. from DePaul University.  Ms. Pulia has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Deborah Simpson of Kane County has more than 25 years of government and law, having served since 2000 in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General’s Administrative Review / Civil Prosecutions Unit.  Previously Ms. Simpson was attorney at the State’s Attorney’s Offices for Kane, Vermilion and Cook Counties.  She has been a part-time instructor at the Danville Area Community College, and is a member of several community organizations.  She holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.A. from DePaul University.  Ms. Simpson has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Lynette Thompson-Smith of Cook County has been Special Assistant Attorney General of the Illinois Industrial Commission Bureau since 1989. Her previous experience includes working as an Associate at the City of Chicago’s Office of the Corporation Counsel prosecuting license violations, as a law clerk at the Circuit Court of Cook County and as a law clerk at the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. She received a Certificate of Completion from the International Workers’ Compensation College of the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions at Salve Regina University, Rhode Island and received her Doctorate at Rutgers School of Law in 1983. Ms. Thompson-Smith has been appointed to a 3-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Jeffrey E. Tobin of Morgan County has been an arbitrator with the with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 2004. Mr. Tobin holds a J.D. from T.M. Cooley Law School. Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Tobin worked at Pratt & Tobin, P.C. from 2000 through August 2002 resolving workers’ compensation claims. In 2002, Mr. Tobin was Partner at Thomson, McNeely & Tobin, P.C. handling workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Mr. Tobin has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

 

Ruth White of Sangamon County has been an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission for the last 30 years.  Ms. White graduated from the University of Illinois, College of Law in 1973 and started working at the Law Office of Richard Grummon.  Ms. White served as special Assistant to the Attorney General from 1976-1978 and joined the Workers’ Compensation Commission (formerly known as the Industrial Commission) in 1979.  Ms. White has been appointed to a 1-year term as an arbitrator.

Robert Williams of Cook County has more than 30 years of experience practicing law in government and in the private sector, and has been an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission since 1997. Previously, Mr. Williams has served as Chief of the Chicago Industrial Commission bureau of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, as legal counsel for the Illinois Office of the Comptroller and as corporate counsel in the City of Chicago’s law department. He also was an associate at Washington, Kennon, Bryant & Hunter, holds an MBA from the University of Illinois, a J.D. from Loyola University, and a B.S. from Le Moyne-Owen College. Mr. Williams has been appointed to a 2-year term as an arbitrator.

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Farm Bill Deficit Deal Must Include Real Reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by John Crabtree   
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:13
Lyons, Nebraska - For the Center for Rural Affairs, the most troubling concern about a  proposal rumored to be forthcoming in a letter from House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders to the twelve member deficit reduction “Super Committee” is whether it would follow the trend of recent farm bill proposals and continue to allow the single most wasteful and counterproductive feature of current farm policy - virtually unlimited federal crop and revenue insurance subsidies.


*Following is a list of questions and background on the subjects mentioned above...

Will the nation’s largest farms and wealthiest landowners get a pass on contributing to deficit reduction?

Will the Agriculture Committees’ recommendations to the Super Committee continue the single most wasteful and counterproductive feature of current farm policy - unlimited payments to subsidize the nation’s largest farms to drive small operations out of business?  

Any serious reform of federal farm programs must cap federal crop and revenue insurance subsidies to mega farms.  They are the most expensive element of farm programs, costing $7 billion annually. And if one big corporation farmed all of America, USDA would pay 60 percent of its insurance premiums on every acre for protection from low prices and crop failure.

Why should the federal government pay 60% of crop insurance premiums on every acre of the largest farms and richest landowners in America, especially in the midst of record high farm income and record federal deficits?

Any serious reform must also close loopholes in the cap on other farm payments. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) have again introduced legislation to close those loopholes, but it is not incorporated in either the President’s proposal or any of the budget proposals introduced in Congress. That means that whatever revised safety net is established will include no cap on benefits for anyone who takes the steps to form a general partnership with investor partners.

Finally, will the Agriculture Committees’ budget proposal include any room for funding for rural development and beginning farmer programs that invest in creating a future in rural America?   We probably know the answer.  But consider this.  The two last farm bills have invested an average of about $45 million annually in rural development programs from mandatory funds.  Overall federal rural development funding has fallen by more than one quarter since 2003. (See below.)

Why should continuing recent levels of farm bill funding for rural development be a lesser priority than paying the crop insurance premiums for the biggest farms and richest landowners in America, without limit, at a time of record deficits and record farm income?

Subsidies should be capped to powerful mega-farm interests and the savings reinvested in rural development programs that support small business and beginning farmers, create jobs for ordinary rural Americans and build a more vibrant future for small town America.

Rural Community Development Budget Authority Final Appropriation FY 03-11 and President’s Proposed FY 12 Budget (excluding ARRA and mandatory funds for water and sewer backlog )

 

 

FY03

 

FY04

FY05

FY06

FY07

FY08

FY9

FY10

FY11

FY12

Water/Sewer

723.2

 

605

552.1

530.1

554

539

566.8

568

529

489

Buss-ness

127.7

 

91.5

89.6

109.5

71.3

105.9

123.9

121.4

108.3

125

Comm Facility

96.8

 

75.9

89.1

82.6

77

69

50.1

55

41.62

38

Total

947.7

 

772.4

730.8

722.2

702.3

713.9

740.8

744.4

679.1

675

 
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