Business & Economy
Governor Quinn Signs Law to Increase Hiring of Veterans and Grow Jobs in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Nafia Khan   
Monday, 09 July 2012 13:34

Governor's Initiative to Increase Hiring Veterans Tax Credit; Provides Property Tax Relief for Spouses of Fallen Heroes

CHICAGO - July 9, 2012.  Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law that will help more Illinois Veterans find employment following their service to our country, an important measure he proposed during his State of the State address in February.

The Hiring Veterans Tax Credit will provide a significant additional tax credit for every unemployed Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan a company hires, which will help businesses create jobs and give those jobs to the Veterans who have sacrificed so much in serving our state and our country. Unemployment for young returning Veterans in America was 30% in 2011.

"Veterans are committed, disciplined and experienced, and they know how to accomplish a mission," Governor Quinn said. "We need these heroes in our workplaces, and increasing the Hiring Veterans Tax Credit will create more jobs for veterans and grow the economy in Illinois."

Senate Bill 3241, sponsored by State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and State Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Belleville), raises the Illinois Hiring Veterans tax credit from 10% to 20% of annual wages and more than quadruples the annual cap from $1,200 to $5,000. Many of these post-9/11 Veterans struggle with higher rates of unemployment compared with their civilian counterparts.

In addition, the new law also honors Gold Star families of fallen heroes across Illinois by making them eligible for the same property tax-relief available in some communities to the families of fallen firefighters and police officers. The law allows counties or municipalities the option of reducing or eliminating property taxes for a surviving spouse of a fallen Illinois soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan in the way some choose to honor the families of fallen firefighters and police officers.

“We have a tremendous responsibility to honor the service and sacrifices Veterans and their families have made since 9/11,” said IDVA Director Erica Borggren. “These measures will go a long way towards helping Veterans and the families of fallen service members begin the process of rebuilding their lives.”

President Obama recently announced that more than one million service members will leave the military between now and 2016, with many thousands returning home to Illinois. Many of these young post-9/11 Veterans will be returning to sectors of the economy that were hardest hit by the Great Recession including construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Veterans ages 18-24 nationwide have an unemployment rate roughly twice as high as their civilian peers.

Governor Quinn launched “Operation Home Front” while he was Illinois State Treasurer to give National Guard members and reservists a tool to inform them about their rights during the Gulf War. Most recently, the Governor has expanded Operation Home Front to be a place where active servicemembers and Veterans can learn about the resources available to them and their families, and a place for the public to learn about different ways they can support our troops.

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama recently joined Governor Quinn as he signed a new law designed to help military spouses more easily find employment when they move to Illinois for military service by granting expedited professional licenses. Illinois is the 23rd state to adopt such legislation.

For more information about benefits for our Veterans, visit Veterans.Illinois.gov or call the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs at 217-782-6641 or 312-814-2460.

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Loebsack Statement on Department of Labor’s June Jobs Report PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 06 July 2012 13:48

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today issued the following statement in response to the Department of Labor’s announcement that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2 percent in June and 80,000 jobs were added.

“Today’s job report makes one thing very clear– we have a long way to go to get the economy back to where it should be. To make matters even worse, Republicans have so far shown no interest in even discussing a comprehensive jobs package.  Instead, they continue to play political games, in which the real losers are Iowa’s middle class families.  I have long said that fixing our economy should not be a partisan fight.  If there is one thing that should bring the two parties together, it is working to create jobs. I have been willing to sit down and work together and the fact that it hasn’t yet happened is disappointing.  It’s time for Congress to put our country and families ahead of politics and get down to the real work that Iowans need to see get done.”

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Manzullo, Schilling Urge Sensata to Abandon Plans to Offshore U.S. Production, Keep Jobs in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Friday, 06 July 2012 13:46

[FREEPORT] --U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo (R-Egan) and Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) today urged the CEO of Massachusetts-based Sensata Technologies to abandon plans to offshore production to Asia and instead keep the work and the jobs in Freeport, Illinois.

In a letter sent this morning to Sensata CEO Thomas Wroe, Jr., Manzullo and Schilling expressed their concerns with Sensata’s plans to shut down its Freeport plant and move the production and jobs to China. Instead, Sensata should follow the lead of other multi-national corporations who are “reshoring” American jobs -- bringing back production from overseas – to boost lead times, innovation and quality. Citizens of Freeport contacted both Manzullo and Schilling for help in appealing to Sensata to keep operations in Freeport.

“Labor costs in China are soaring, and energy costs are driving up the cost of shipping products,” Manzullo and Schilling said in the letter. “We would ask that you strongly consider these factors as well as the important value of the highly skilled, highly productive workforce in the northern Illinois region that is second to none in the global economy.”

The letter points out executives at Google Inc. have decided to manufacture the company’s new Nexus Q home entertainment device in the United States instead of China, reportedly to speed up innovation time. According to a recent Boston Consulting survey of 106 U.S.-based manufacturing executives with sales greater than $1 billion, 37 percent were considering or planning to move production back to the United States from China.

Manzullo and Schilling added that Freeport has been a leader in innovative workforce development initiatives, such as the Work Keys program that assesses and trains workers to match the needs of area employers. The region is also supported by a superior transportation network led by United Parcel Services’ second largest air cargo hub at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport, as well as the Union Pacific Railroad Global III Intermodal Hub.

“These are just some of the many reasons that we respectfully request that you reconsider your decision to move your Freeport operations,” the letter stated.

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Rep. Morthland and Area Superintendents Talk Pension Shift PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Monday, 02 July 2012 14:40
July 2, 2012                                                            

Moline, IL… Representative Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) partnered with
Riverdale Superintendent Ron Jacobs, Silvis Schools Superintendent Ray
Bergles, United Township High School Superintendent Jay Morrow, Rock
Ridge Superintendent Chester Lien, Whiteside County Regional
Superintendent Bob Sondgeroth, and Rock Island Regional Superintendent
Tammy Muerhoff, today to dispute claims from the Quinn administration
that schools can afford a pension shift. The data released in June by
the Illinois State Board of Education affirms that the proposed shift
would devastate already struggling school districts.

“This is an attack by the Governor’s Office on downstate and suburban
tax payers. There is no reason to do this. This shift will either lead
to a $20 billion property tax increase or more cuts in the classroom,”
said Morthland. “Our schools have already been forced to make cuts to
athletic and music programs, close buildings, and pass on filling
vacant positions. They have little left to cut and we cannot afford to
shift more of a burden to our community and once again the plan asks
nothing of Chicago. How much more of this do they think we can take?”

As of July 1st, every school district in Illinois will be owed money
by the state that totals $800-$900 million.

“The Governor’s end of the year fund balance numbers falsely suggest
that schools have millions in reserve. It is extremely misleading to
include early property taxes and restricted funds that cannot be used
to pay for pensions. The truth is that many school districts are
running deficits. What reserves they had are quickly being devoured as
they are forced to bail-out the state budget. School districts cannot
afford to prop up the state’s pension system as well. Quinn and other
Chicago politicians are using this as a tactic to stall making any
meaningful pension stabilization reforms until after the November
election. This pension crisis in Illinois has been created over many
years; it is time we take responsibility and fix this mess. We need to
head back to Springfield and clean this up."
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Branstad, Reynolds volunteer to pay 20% of own healthcare costs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad   
Monday, 02 July 2012 12:43

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds today announced that they both will pay 20% of their healthcare costs beginning August 1, 2012.

“Hard-working Iowa taxpayers are accustomed to paying for some or all of their own healthcare costs, and for far too long, their tax dollars have also paid for the total cost of state employees’ healthcare,” said Branstad. “I truly believe the only way we will begin improving our health as a state and controlling the rising costs of healthcare is by empowering Iowans to take ownership of their own health.”

Gov. Branstad signed Executive Order 78 today to allow state employees to voluntarily pay for 20% of their own healthcare. Branstad individually asked all state-wide elected officials and department heads to volunteer as well.

The governor worked with the health plan administrator and Department of Administrative Services to make this healthcare option available to all state employees.

“Our decision to begin paying 20%, and to allow employees to an opportunity to also contribute, will accomplish both goals of making employees healthier and allow for government to spend less,” said Reynolds.

A single person, whom chooses to pay for 20% of their own healthcare on the least expensive plan will save taxpayers at least $1,000.

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