Business & Economy
Grassley Urges U.S. Trade Review for Steel Pipe Makers Including Camanche Facility PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 22 May 2014 08:41

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is among the U.S. senators urging the Administration to give full consideration to the domestic steel industry’s concerns about unfairly priced imports in a case that the manufacturer says caused reduced operating hours at a facility in Camanche in Clinton County.

“We write to express our concerns with the Commerce Department’s preliminary determination in the antidumping investigation of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) imports from Korea,” Grassley and fellow senators wrote to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “This case has nationwide economic implications, and any final determination must be based on accurate data and objective methodologies.  As the Department continues the investigation, we ask that you fully consider the domestic industry’s allegations and take action against any unfair dumping to the fullest extent of the law.”

The trade case before the U.S. Department of Commerce involves Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG).  These products are used for domestic oil and gas exploration — especially shale — and are produced by companies including TMK IPSCO.  The company has reduced operating hours at several facilities, including its facility in Camanche, over “increasing pressure from unfairly traded imports.”

Grassley and his fellow senators urged the Department of Commerce to consider all of the data associated with this case and fully enforce U.S. trade laws to ensure American businesses and workers are not harmed by unfairly priced imports.

The letter Grassley signed is available here.

A press release from TMK IPSCO is available here.


Governor Quinn Statement on House Passage of Minimum Wage Referendum PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 14:06

Advisory Referendum Asks Voters if They Support Raising Illinois’ Minimum Wage

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today released the following statement regarding Illinois House passage of House Bill 3814 – an advisory referendum to ask voters if they support increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour. The bill is sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan and now goes to the Illinois Senate. Governor Quinn is committed to raising the minimum wage in 2014.

“Democracy is about having a voice. I’m glad that voters will have a chance to make their voices heard on this important issue that will benefit hundreds of thousands of working people across Illinois.

“We must build an economy that works for everyone. Raising the minimum wage will support hardworking men and women across our state and boost Illinois’ economy by increasing spending at local businesses.

“I applaud Speaker Madigan and the members of the Illinois House who voted today to move this referendum forward.

“As we work to build a majority to raise the minimum wage in Illinois, this referendum will help us get the job done.”


Loebsack Praises House Passage of Water Infrastructure Bill that Creates Jobs and Invests in our Economy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 08:46

Legislation contains Loebsack’s measure to protect Cedar Rapids from future floods

Washington D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today praised the overwhelming House passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). This bipartisan legislation authorizes Corps of Engineers funding for improvements to ports, waterways and projects tied to flood protection, drinking water, dams and levees and environmental restoration. The legislation contains flood protection measures for downtown Cedar Rapids that Loebsack fought to expand after the Floods of 2008. He also pushed to move WRRDA forward in order to address critical flood protection and transportation concerns on the Mississippi River. Loebsack is a cosponsor of legislation that was incorporated into WRRDA that will explore the creation of public-private partnerships between the Army Corps of Engineers and private entities as financing alternatives for lock and dam capital projects.

“I am pleased that there is light at the end of the tunnel and this important legislation is finally on track to be signed into law, though it is way past due. Our outdated, crumbling infrastructure is an area I believe continued investment is highly critical. These projects will create jobs, have a direct impact on our economy, and provide safety and protection for Iowans. Iowa farmers, manufacturers, businesses and local economies rely on the Mississippi River infrastructure. It is clear that the locks and dams along the Mississippi River are deteriorating and significantly harming the economic development in the region. This bill is very important to Iowa, not just for the locks and dams, but also for much of our flood protection and Army Corps projects that are needed to keep our communities safe.”

This conference report will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to pass and head to the President’s desk for his signature.


News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Aleshia Chiesa   
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 09:17

Construction crews start the demolition process on the Sears Building at SouthPark Mall

WHO: SouthPark formally announced redevelopment plans a few months ago and today the movement officially starts. The 40 year old shopping center is getting a little work done and the goal is an elevated shopping experience. Construction crews are set to tear down the former Sears building to start Phase I of the redevelopment of SouthPark Mall.

Guests to the property can expect to see construction crews, bulldozers and large machinery. All entrances will remain open and guests are encouraged to park in either the Dillard’s, Younkers, JCPenney or Von Maur lots for easy and convenient access. All stores will be open during the construction phase.

WHAT: Demolition starts today with the former Sears building and will continue through the next several weeks as the former food court gets demolished. This is Phase I of the over 250,000 sq ft to be removed from the property.

The end result will be a new, invigorating shopping experience complete with additional retailers as well as an enhanced experience and new amenities.

Retailers and shoppers are encouraged to get the behind the scenes info on the redevelopment by visiting or follow us on Twitter @SouthParkMallIL and like us on Facebook at

Illinois pays another $1.5 billion in old bills Total backlog of bills drops to $4.2 billion PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Abdon Pallasch, Asst. Budget Director   
Monday, 19 May 2014 09:05

From a high of $9.9 billion in 2010, Illinois' backlog of bills has now fallen to $4.174 billion -- the lowest it has been in years.

Governor Pat Quinn inherited a system in which one year's bills were carried over to be paid in the following year. Gov. Quinn and the General Assembly worked together to end that practice and set aside money each month to pay down the backlog that rose to $9.9 billion during the recession.

The bond ratings agencies have praised the administration's efforts as the backlog has come down, with Fitch Ratings noting, "The state prudently used higher than forecast income tax collections in fiscal 2013 to pay down a portion of the accounts payable balance."

Moody's added, “The governor's budget for the first time demonstrates how the state might decrease its unpaid bill backlog over several years. It presents a "blueprint" showing the state trimming accounts payable to about $2.2 billion, as of the end of fiscal 2019. This amount, consistent with a 30-day payment cycle, would be only a third of the backlog at the end of fiscal 2013.”

"Even as outside factors have forced us to make difficult but financially sound choices in all areas of the state budget, Governor Quinn has maintained the discipline of dedicating money to pay down the backlog of bills," said Acting Budget Director Jerome Stermer.

The backlog is cyclical, generally falling in the first part of the year as income tax receipts come in and rising in the second half of the year, but the overall trend has been down as the administration, working with the General Assembly, has dedicated resources to paying down the backlog, Stermer said.

Beginning in January, on the 15th of each month, the Governor's Office of Management and Budget has posted on its website a detailed account of the backlog of bills. Traditionally, April is the strongest month for state tax receipts and for paying down old bills. This April's results surpassed last April's, with the final backlog number posted Thursday $1.1 billion less than the previous April.

The administration's latest forecast for the where the backlog would finish at the end of the fiscal year on June 30 was $4.9 billion. While the backlog typically rises in May, the administration foresees no problem hitting its target for the end of the fiscal year.

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