Business & Economy
Braley Calls on President, Speaker to Provide Plan for Lowering Debt. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Thursday, 10 February 2011 15:48
Asks President, Speaker for a plan to avoid raising debt ceiling

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner asking them to provide a plan to avoid raising the debt ceiling. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner has stated that the U.S. will reach its debt limit sometime in April or May – and Speaker Boehner has indicated that the House will take a vote on raising the debt limit soon.

“Our national debt is around 14 trillion dollars and growing. That’s unacceptable,” said Braley. “Voters across the country spoke loud and clear last November – they want us to get spending under control. The President and Speaker are giving Congress and the American people a false choice – vote to raise the debt ceiling or vote to shut down the government. I know there’s a better way. We must put forward a common sense, middle-of-the-road plan to bring down our debt and avoid having to make this false choice in April or May. That’s why I hope the President and Speaker Boehner will propose a plan to avoid this scenario.

“I know, and the American people know, that we will have to make tough choices and tough cuts. I look forward to this process and to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get our spending under control. But I cannot accept a situation where we kick the can further down the road. If we don’t stop borrowing and spending now, when will we?

“In December, I voted against the $850 billion package of Bush tax bonuses for the rich because I know those tax bonuses are such a significant part of our national deficit. Both the President and Speaker Boehner supported them. Now, I want to hear their plan for cutting government spending in a way that doesn’t force us to raise the debt ceiling once again.”.

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timeframe promised for U.S.-Korea trade agreement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Thursday, 10 February 2011 15:48

The United States trade representative today said the administration would submit the United States-Korea free trade agreement to Congress “in the next few weeks.” The submission would trigger a mandatory schedule for congressional action.  Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa made the following comment on this development.  Grassley is former chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Finance, with jurisdiction over international trade.  He is a senior member of the committee.

“The trade representative’s comment today about action on pending trade agreements is very good news, if it’s not more lip service.  The rest of the world has been moving forward with trade expansion, while this administration has put the United States on the sidelines, and it’s been at the expense of America’s workforce.  Employers and entrepreneurs in manufacturing, agriculture and the service sector need new market opportunities to grow businesses and create jobs.  The President's made a commitment to doubling U.S. exports.  That’s impossible to achieve on the margins, without trade agreements.  The trade representative said the President intends to submit the U.S.-Korea trade agreement to Congress ‘in the next few weeks.’  This is the most specific timeframe the White House has offered on the agreement since reworking it last year.  The White House should hold to this timeframe.  A big, new export market is exactly what U.S. producers need right now.  If and when the agreement comes to Congress, I’ll do everything I can to help get it approved.”

Tax Amnesty Program Exceeds State Budget Goal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kara Beach   
Monday, 07 February 2011 14:42

Generates More than $314 million in State Revenue

CHICAGO – February 7, 2011. More than 78,000 taxpayers sent payments to the Illinois Department of Revenue during the state’s tax amnesty program that concluded last November. The program exceeded its budgetary goal, adding $314 million to the general revenue fund for FY 2011.

“This program’s success is good news as we work to stabilize state finances and to maintain vital public services,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “This much-needed revenue will help our state to meet its obligations and is another important step towards making Illinois fiscally sound.”

The FY 2011 budget estimated that tax amnesty would infuse $250 million into state government coffers during this fiscal year. The state received a total of $717 million in tax payments; $314 million went to the general revenue fund, with the balance going to local governments and the state’s income tax refunds.

“We are pleased with this program’s end result – Illinois’ tax amnesty exceeded expectations,” said Brian Hamer, Director of Revenue. “The program was straightforward and simple, and it generated hundreds of millions of dollars to help the state meet its obligations to vendors, taxpayers, and providers of essential services.”

During the five-week tax amnesty program, which ended Nov. 8, those who paid taxes from previous years were able to avoid interest and penalties on their tax debts. On Nov. 9, penalties and interest on those debts doubled.

While individuals were the vast majority of participants in the program, corporations accounted for most of the program’s tax receipts. Companies scheduled for audits, as well as taxpayers in the collection program, also used the amnesty period, reassessing their own tax returns and making payments to fully eliminate their debt to the state.

In addition to the immediate cash infusion, tax amnesty broadened the tax base. Non-filers accounted for $12 million of state receipts, and will be easier for the state to track in future years. Additionally, improved tax tracking software and enhanced audit and collection capabilities will further assist the state in monitoring filers who came forward under amnesty for future compliance.

Tax Type                           Participants                 State Share of Amnesty Receipts

Individual Income Tax         59,777                         $ 20 million

Business Income Tax          5,264                          $ 252 million

Sales and Use Tax              9,347                          $ 111 million

Other taxes                         3,801                          $ 25 million

Total                                 78,189                          $ 408 million



Q & A: Dollars and Sense PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 07 February 2011 14:34

Q.  What is the difference between federal deficit and federal debt?

A.  The federal deficit is the annual amount the federal government spends over what it takes in.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the federal government is projected to take in $2.2 trillion in fiscal year 2011 and spend $3.7 trillion.  Because Congress now spends $1.68 for every dollar it collects through taxes, the result will be a deficit of $1.5 trillion.  Fiscal year 2011 will be the third straight year with an annual deficit of more than $1 trillion.  The federal debt is the cumulative amount of annual deficits.  The current federal debt is more than $14 trillion.

Q.  Why is the budget freeze in the news?

A.  Congress and the President are discussing ways to reduce spending.  In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama called for a five-year freeze on non-security related discretionary spending.  Congress determines discretionary spending levels annually, by passing 12 appropriations bills.  Entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security are not altered unless Congress passes a law to modify the programs.  The proposed freeze would affect about 11 percent of the federal government’s budget.  President Obama predicts that his freeze would save $400 billion over the next 10 years.  What does that mean in terms of overall debt?  Well, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that if the federal government continues to spend at its current rate, it will add between $7 trillion and $12 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.  The $400 billion in savings President Obama predicts is 5.7 percent of $7 trillion and 3.3 percent of $12 trillion.  So, it’s a drop in the bucket.

The reality is that you can’t raise taxes high enough to satisfy the appetite of Congress to spend money.  Consider this.  Using current Congressional Budget Office projections, over the next 10 years federal spending and interest payments will average 23.5 percent of the gross domestic product.  This is higher than the 40-year average of 20.8 percent.  Also over the next 10 years, revenues coming into the federal government are projected to average 19.9 percent of the gross domestic product, compared to the 40-year average of 18 percent.  So, even with revenues at historic highs, spending will far outpace revenues.

Q.  What should be done to get the national debt under control?

A budget freeze is a step in the right direction, but we need a leap in the right direction.  Washington has to get serious about getting the debt under control.  That means taking an all-of-the-above approach that includes spending freezes, spending reductions, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and increased efforts to stop fraud, waste and abuse of tax dollars.  Beyond freezing non-security related discretionary spending at fiscal year 2010 levels for five years, as the President proposes, I support freezing non-defense related discretionary spending at fiscal year 2008 levels for 10 years.  This change alone would save almost $1 trillion.  That’s more than twice as much savings as under President Obama’s proposal.

Q.  What else are you doing to get spending under control?

I’m a cosponsor of a resolution that proposes a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.  A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress as well as the approval of three-fourths of state legislatures.  Congress has voted on a balanced budget amendment several times over the years, but there have never been enough votes to approve the amendment and send it to the states for ratification.  I’ve supported a balanced budget amendment going back to my service in the House of Representatives.  In the Senate, I cosponsored the resolution proposing the amendment the last time it was brought up, in March 1997, when it failed by just one vote.  I’m also a cosponsor of the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act.  This bill, which I also cosponsored during the last Congress, would let the President single out specific spending items in bills that land on his desk.  Congress would have to hold an up-or-down vote on the spending items within 10 days of the President’s sending them back, as long as the President sends them within 45 days of signing the bill.  Any and all funds that are rescinded would go to reducing the deficit, under this proposal.

All this and more should be done to reduce the deficit and rein in the federal debt.  The debt will reduce opportunities for future generations, and the U.S. economy will continue to suffer the weight of a government that spends far more than it can afford.  It’s only common sense that you can’t sustain a situation like we have today, where for every dollar the federal government spends, 40 cents of it is borrowed

Mitsubishi, state of Illinois reach agreements PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kara Beach   
Monday, 07 February 2011 09:58

Governor Quinn, Mitsubishi Motors Announce Innovative Partnership to Promote Sustainability,  State to Test Mitsubishi “i” Electric Vehicles in Its State Fleet

 NORMAL, IL – February 4, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn and Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the advancement of electric vehicle and renewable energy technologies in Illinois. As part of the agreement, Illinois will receive a limited number of Mitsubishi Motors “i” battery electric vehicles (i MiEV) on a temporary basis to evaluate the new electric vehicle (EV) technology on the state’s fleet.

“We are continuing to make strong investments in our green economy, which are putting people to work across Illinois. This partnership reflects our mutual commitment to the EV industry here in Illinois, and our common interest in bringing the jobs and environmental benefits these innovative technologies will deliver to our state. In Illinois, we are doing everything necessary to stabilize our economy, and this partnership is an important step toward securing our long-term economic growth.” Governor Pat Quinn said.

Under the agreement, the state will explore opportunities for joint research and industrial development among the parties and other Illinois-based research institutions to assist in the development, adoption and promotion of EVs and green technologies. The state will also work with Illinois community colleges and technical schools to develop curriculum and training programs to meet the demands of this growing sector.

“Mitsubishi Motors has a partnership of more than 25 years with the State of Illinois, and we are pleased that this partnership will now extend into Electrical Vehicles for the future,” said MMNA President & CEO Shin Kurihara.  “We are impressed with the state’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, and we look forward to the initiatives outlined in this agreement.

In addition to providing an inventory of test vehicles for the state’s fleet, Mitsubishi will provide information and recommendations on strategies to support EV adoption in Illinois. Mitsubishi will work with the state to share information on smart grid enabling strategies, and will also help EV adoption as well as charging infrastructure strategy by making the EV available to Illinois Mitsubishi dealers helping advance the EV cause.

“As we look to further enhance our competitiveness in the global economy, we know that our investments in the green industry will play a critical role in creating jobs and building a more sustainable economic future in Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley. “This partnership with Mitsubishi will not only help make Illinois a leader in electric vehicle infrastructure deployment, but will also advance our efforts in smart grid technologies and other high-growth sectors that will help attract investment and create even more jobs.”

Today, Mitsubishi also announced a partnership with the Bloomington-Normal EV Task Force to supply 1,000 of its new, fully electric Mitsubishi “i”s to the Bloomington-Normal community by 2014. This agreement further supports the task force’s EV Town initiative, an effort by the communities to further the local EV market. As part of the initiative, the town of Normal plans to lease two European market versions of the Mitsubishi “i,” due to arrive in March of 2011.  The town is also working to implement charging infrastructure to support the increase in EVs throughout Normal in 2011.

Earlier today, Governor Quinn announced a business investment package for Mitsubishi that will save at least 1,200 jobs at the company’s Normal facility and bring production of the new Outlander Sport, which is currently produced in Japan, to Illinois. The Japanese Automaker began manufacturing vehicles in Normal, Illinois in 1988.

Illinois continues to see strong signs of economic growth and recovery. Illinois led the Midwest and ranked fourth in the nation for job growth in 2010, and December marked the ninth straight month of declining unemployment.

Governor Quinn Announces Mitsubishi to Produce New Vehicle in Illinois,  State Action Helps Save 1,200 Jobs; Leverages $45 Million Private Investment

 NORMAL, IL – February 4, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a business investment package that is helping save at least 1,200 jobs at Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s (MMC) only North American plant in Normal.  Governor Quinn proposed, helped to pass and signed legislation into law in December 2009 to expand the EDGE tax credit to benefit the auto industry. As a result of Illinois’ investment, Mitsubishi has decided to stay and expand in Illinois, and is investing $45 million to produce a new Outlander Sport Crossover Utility Vehicle beginning in 2012.

“Mitsubishi’s decision to produce a new generation of automobile here in Illinois is a strong testament to the strength of our workforce and the state’s appealing business climate,” said Governor Quinn. “By working to stabilize our economy and investing in companies that are investing in Illinois, we’re helping to keep thousands of jobs in Illinois, helping reinvigorate our automobile industry and continuing our economic recovery.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is administering the state’s more than $29 million business investment package. The package consists of EDGE tax credits and Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of the company’s workforce. Mitsubishi will also benefit from the Normal plant’s location in an Enterprise Zone.

“Mitsubishi Motors remains fully committed to producing vehicles in Normal, and I would like to thank Governor Quinn for his support of the automotive industry.  We will build vehicles here not just for the United States, but for many nations around the world,” said Mitsubishi Motors North America President Shinichi Kurihara.

The enhanced EDGE tax credit enables auto manufacturing companies, which are among Illinois' largest group of employers, to retain employee income tax withholdings and reinvest those funds into operations that create more jobs.

“Mitsubishi has a tremendous impact on the state and local economies, which is why Governor Quinn made it his top priority to help keep this company and these jobs right here in Illinois,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “This investment will help create a more sustainable future for the people of Central Illinois by keeping thousands of union workers on the job and continues our efforts to move the Illinois economy forward.”

Illinois continues to see strong signs of economic growth and recovery. Illinois ranked fourth in the nation for job growth in 2010, leading the Midwest. December marked the ninth straight month of declining unemployment. Illinois ranks first in the Midwest for exports and foreign direct investment.



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