Business & Economy
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.”

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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.

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DEMOLITION STARTS AT SOUTHPARK MALL PDF Print E-mail
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 www.shopsouthparkmall-il.com/redevelopment or follow us on Twitter @SouthParkMallIL and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthParkMallIL.

 
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. http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Documents/Bill%20Backlog%20Presentation%205.14.14.pdf 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.

 
Governor Quinn Announces Cloverleaf Cold Storage Company Opening New Facility in Monmouth PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Monday, 19 May 2014 09:04

Company Will Create 155 Jobs and Invest $30 Million in Local Economy

MONMOUTH – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Cloverleaf Cold Storage Company will open a $30 million refrigerated warehouse and distribution center that will create 155 local full-time jobs. The facility will serve the Smithfield Farmland Corporation, which has an adjacent site in Monmouth. Today’s announcement follows recent news that Illinois’ unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008 and is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to keep the progress going by creating jobs and driving Illinois’ economy forward.

“This new facility will create more than 150 good jobs and help Cloverleaf and Smithfield Farmland grow together in western Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “The cooperative effort between state agencies and local officials to build this remarkable facility shows that even in our Prairie State, we’ll move mountains when it comes to creating jobs.”

The 235,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse and distribution center is the first Illinois site for Cloverleaf, which has 15 locations around the country. Cloverleaf is a family-owned company that dates from 1934 and provides public and contract storage for the meat processing and packaging industries. The company is based in Sioux City, Iowa and has more than 900 employees.

“Cloverleaf’s investment in this new facility highlights not only the strategic location that Illinois occupies in the food distribution network, it emphasizes our faith that we will be able to hire and retain a highly-skilled and technically proficient workforce,” Cloverleaf spokesman Adam Feiges said.

“There has been great cooperation between private enterprise and state and local governments, including the necessary capital investments, infrastructure work and incentives, to help make this project a reality,” Monmouth Mayor Rod Davies said.

Cloverleaf hopes to expand the new facility to 315,000 square feet within three to five years and increase employment by another 50 jobs.

Cloverleaf will receive an assistance package with an estimated value of $6 million, a major determining factor in the company’s decision to locate in Monmouth. The city of Monmouth and government agencies in Warren County have authorized incentives totaling $3.4 million for the project, most of it in the form of 10-year abatement on property taxes.

Programs from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will provide the company an estimated $1.2 million in benefits, including an investment tax credit and a sales tax exemption for being in an enterprise zone. The DCEO package includes a $325,000 grant to the city for infrastructure work associated with the plant. The Illinois Department of Transportation has committed to approximately $1.5 million in road improvements, much of it for widening U.S. Route 67 and a new access road to accommodate truck traffic. DCEO’s agreement with Cloverleaf requires the company to repay a portion of the grant if it fails to hit its target of 155 new jobs by the end of 2015.

Last week, Governor Quinn announced a new company is coming to Galesburg, just a short drive from Monmouth. The company is Pegasus MFG Inc., a provider of precision parts and assemblies that is relocating from California and bringing 17 jobs.

Today’s event follows news that Illinois’ unemployment rate for April dropped to 7.9 percent – its lowest level in more than five years and lower than when the Governor took office. Since the peak of the recession, Illinois has added nearly 250,000 jobs. More people working in Illinois last month pushed the rate down 0.5 points, the lowest rate since December 2008 and largest monthly decline in the history of this data series that began in 1976.

Since taking office and inheriting decades of mismanagement, the Governor has enacted worker’s compensation reform and unemployment insurance reform to make Illinois a better place to do business, in addition to major fiscal reforms such as pension reform and Medicaid restructuring that are restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. Today Governor Quinn is pushing a new tax cut for businesses that provide job training. By lowering the cost to train workers, this will make it easier for businesses to create new jobs and ensure workers have the skills to drive a 21st century economy.

The Governor is also proposing to reduce the fee to establish a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) by more than 90 percent, from $500 to $39 – the lowest in the nation. Formation as an LLC encourages entrepreneurs to invest their time and money into viable business enterprises. Reducing the filing fee to $39 would make it easier for small businesses to start and grow in Illinois.

For more information on why Illinois is the right place for business, visit www.illinois.gov/dceo.

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