Business & Economy
Schilling, Loebsack Support Transportation Jobs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Monday, 02 July 2012 10:18

Approve bill that allows the I-74 Bridge project to advance

Washington, DC – Congressmen Bobby Schilling (IL-17) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) today joined 371 of their colleagues in supporting H.R. 4348, legislation to reauthorize federal surface transportation programs.  The last transportation authorization expired in 2009, and since that time has operated on a series of nine short term extensions.  The reauthorization passed the House today in a bipartisan vote of 373-52.  

Schilling and Loebsack, representing the Quad Cities area, have worked in a bipartisan fashion to push for the longest possible transportation bill, and successfully called on the members in the House and Senate who negotiated the comprehensive highway legislation to include funding for large interstate bridge projects.  H.R. 4348 authorizes $500 million for Projects of National and Regional Significance, an important program to advance the Quad Cities’ I-74 Bridge.  This provision provides the tools for the governors of Iowa and Illinois, the states’ Departments of Transportation, and the states’ bipartisan congressional delegation to make the case for the I-74 Bridge for inclusion in the Projects of Regional and National Significance report that will be put together by the United States Secretary of Transportation on projects to be included in this program.

“Today’s transportation bill is a win for communities in Illinois and throughout America,” Schilling said. “I’m pleased that the bill we voted on today provides certainty to states, communities, and the construction community of continued federal support for transportation projects, and am particularly pleased that it includes Programs of National and Regional Significance.  Dave and I have been working hard on this, and I’m hopeful that we can continue working across the river and across the aisle to move the I-74 Bridge project  and other transportation priorities forward.  Preserving our roads and bridges isn’t a Republican issue or a Democrat issue, but a red, white and blue issue.”

“Since the beginning of debate over the transportation bill, we have been working together to ensure a large projects initiative, which may help the I-74 bridge move toward completion, was included,” said Loebsack. “Additionally, we have already started working together to best position I-74 to take advantage of this funding.  I am pleased a transportation bill has finally been passed and although it could have been done faster and it could have been longer, it will help create much needed jobs in Iowa and give Iowa communities certainty to invest in much needed infrastructure improvements and economic development initiatives.”

Schilling and Loebsack in April sent letters in support of the I-74 Bridge to the Federal Highway Administration Administrator Victor Mendez and United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who in May joined the Congressmen in the Quad Cities to view the Bridge.  They sent a letter of support to House/Senate conferees in April, and reiterated their support for the longest-term bill possible and Projects of National and Regional Significance in a letter on Friday June 22.  

“The Quad Cities region has aggressively advocated for a federal transportation bill to fund nationally significant infrastructure projects, such as the new I-74 Bridge, that will strengthen the region’s and nation’s economic competitiveness,” said Tara Barney, Quad Cities Chamber CEO. “The Chamber thanks our Congressional delegation for passing a transportation bill with bipartisan support.  We’re optimistic this will result in a major federal investment to construct the new I-74 Bridge and maintain the Quad Cities’ integrated transportation system, a competitive advantage that allows people and goods to move quickly and affordably by road, rail, air, water, and transit.”  

In 2005, the I-74 Bridge became the most traveled bridge in the Quad Cities with an average of 77,800 vehicles crossing daily.  This is despite the fact that it was built for 48,000 such crossings.  The Bridge itself is functionally obsolete, however, and has never met Interstate standards.  The I-74 Bridge project would also spur economic growth, create construction jobs, reduce traffic backups, and improve air quality.

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Morthland: Supreme Court Decision Places Huge Tax Burden on the American People PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Friday, 29 June 2012 09:17
Cordova, IL… “Illinois exported the ‘Chicago Way’ to Washington, D.C., and this is what we got. The Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Obamacare today mandates yet another tax.

This tax places a tremendous burden on the American people who are already struggling. Now the mask is off and the truth is plain for everyone to see; in spite of what the president and his workers in congress said, this is all about a tax.”

Representative Morthland is a co-sponsor to a package of legislation that opposes implementation of Obamacare in Illinois.

2013 Dodge Darts Head to Dealerships Across Midwest PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:17

Production at Belvidere Plant Adds Third Shift, Creates 1,800 Jobs

CHICAGO – June 27, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by executives of Chrysler Group LLC to unveil the new 2013 Dodge Dart, just off its Illinois production line. Nearly 300 car dealers from across the Midwest drove the new Dart straight into dealerships today during a “drive-away” event held at Soldier Field. Governor Quinn test drove the Dart with Dodge CEO Reid Bigland.

“The auto industry is alive and well in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “The next generation of Dodge Darts is being assembled at our Belvidere plant and since 2008, Chrysler has gone from 200 jobs to more than 4,000 jobs this summer. We want that growth to continue.”

Chrysler invested nearly $700 million to retool its Belvidere plant and ramp up production to build the new Dodge Dart. As part of its investment, Chrysler opened a 638,000 square-foot body shop to support production of the Dart and installed new machinery, tooling and material handling equipment. The new body shop increased the size of the Belvidere assembly plant to 4.8 million square feet. The plant also includes a 330,000-square-foot stamping plant. The Belvidere facility currently produces the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.

Chrysler Group LLC's Belvidere Assembly Plant was recognized as a winner of an Economic Development in Illinois Award (Edie). The annual award is given jointly by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Development Council to recognize significant economic development projects finished in the prior year throughout Illinois. The Edies were formally presented at an event last week at the Illinois Chamber's annual meeting in Chicago

In fall 2010, Governor Quinn made a targeted investment which bolstered Chrysler’s expansion in Illinois and enabled the automaker to create an additional 1,800 new jobs. The state investment consists of Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credits, Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job-training funds that will help enhance the skills of the company’s workforce, and Large Business Development Program funds for capital improvements. Chrysler is also located in an Enterprise Zone.

Illinois has added 136,300 private sector jobs since January 2010. Since January 2010, Illinois has added 40,700 manufacturing jobs.

For more information on why Illinois is the right place for any business, visit


Schilling Urges Senate Action to Save Illinois Jobs, Preserve National Security PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:52

Washington, DC – A study released last week by the National Association of Manufacturers indicates that across-the-board budget cuts to the Department of Defense scheduled to begin in January 2013 would cost approximately 1 million jobs at a time when the nation’s unemployment has remained at or above 8 percent for 40 consecutive months.  According to the NAM study, Illinois, with its 8.6 percent unemployment rate, is among the top 10 states to be impacted by job losses, with more than 35,400 jobs on the line in the next two years alone.

With the support of Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) the House of Representatives in May passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, which would provide mandatory spending cuts to reduce the deficit and replace automatic cuts to discretionary spending in 2013 under the Budget Control Act.  It also passed H.R. 4310, the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.  To date, the Senate has passed neither.

This month House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Buck McKeon (CA-25) and Chairman of the HASC Subcommittee on Readiness, Congressman Randy Forbes (VA-04) joined Schilling in western and northern Illinois for discussions on the region’s defense manufacturing capabilities and how local communities will be impacted by defense cuts if sequestration is not avoided.  For more information on these discussions and the impact of massive cuts to defense on our region, see the Quad-City Times and the Rockford Register Star.

Schilling, a member of HASC, today released the following statement urging the United States Senate to take immediate action to preserve Illinois jobs and our national security:

“For 50 years in a row, the Congress has approved a defense authorization bill.  But in recent years, passage of that bill has become further and further delayed.  We in the House approved our bill before Memorial Day, yet as we approach the 4th of July the Senate has still not scheduled time for floor consideration of this vital legislation.

“Congressman Loebsack and I have succeeded in winning key provisions to help increase the Rock Island Arsenal’s ability to grow its workload and ensure that the Department of Defense recognizes in its overarching national security strategy the critical manufacturing work done at facilities like the Rock Island Arsenal.  The full Senate has yet to act.

“The military’s manufacturing base plays a fundamental role in our national security.  In Iraq in 2004, for example, the Rock Island Arsenal was able to respond to the enemy threat from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by up-armoring our HUMVEES in as little as one-third of the time it would have taken the private sector because the necessary design, modeling, and manufacturing expertise was already operating and integrated at the Arsenal.  Countless lives were saved because our military could turn to the Rock Island Arsenal rather than wait for the private sector to design a solution.

“However, this critical manufacturing base is at risk not only because the Senate has not yet passed its NDAA but also because the Senate’s inaction on sequestration threatens to further reduce meaningful defense programs that support the arsenal.

“The Budget Control Act charged a ‘Super Committee’ with recommending $1.2 trillion in savings or risk mandatory, across-the-board cuts known as ‘sequestration.’  The Super Committee could not agree on spending reductions, but since then the House of Representatives has passed another annual budget, as required by law, as well as an alternate plan to achieve the savings we need to avoid an even greater debt crisis.  The Senate remains unwilling to act.

“The cost of this failure is well documented:  $50,000 of debt per American and rising.  With 10 kids and two grandkids, that’s over half a million dollars in national debt just sitting at our dinner table every Sunday.

“Less documented is the cost of looming sequestration.  Instead of working with the House on specific reductions and reforms to wasteful, outdated, or duplicative programs, the Senate is happy to risk slashing every program equally -- valuable or not.  This will protect spending that is not in the national interest, and devastate critical programs that can’t afford further cuts.

“Although national defense accounts for 20 percent of our spending, after sequestration it will have suffered more than 50 percent of the spending cuts.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says this is ‘their share of the burden,’ but I disagree.  Our military and their families have borne their fair share.

“Sequestration will mean fewer personnel and therefore longer and more frequent deployments; antiquated technology on the battlefield; and permanent loss of critical civilian expertise on our assembly lines, in our labs, and on our testing ranges at facilities like the Rock Island Arsenal, all of which pose a serious threat to our nation’s defense.

"The House of Representatives has offered a plan to avoid these devastating cuts to our national defense.  But the House cannot do it alone.  It is time for the Senate – especially the leadership of the Senate – to step up.

“I remember how long it took President Reagan to rebuild our military after the post-Vietnam cuts.  I urge those who care about the future of the Rock Island Arsenal, our region’s remarkable defense manufacturing capabilities, and our national defense to speak up and make your voices heard.  These cuts are avoidable, but only if our leaders put partisan politics aside, come together, and do the job they were elected to do for our community, our state, and the security of our great nation.

“Last year I voted for the Budget Control Act to change business as usual in Washington.  After years of both parties increasing our debt limit with no plan and no cuts, we passed a bipartisan bill to avoid default, cut spending, and change business as usual.  I hoped that after two and a half years of failing to do its job and pass a budget, the Senate would finally join the House, face reality, and do the tough work necessary to get our financial house in order, our economy back on track, and Americans back to work.  Unbelievably, the Senate continues to be content to fail.

“The Senate has gone more than three years without a budget.  They are sitting on more than 25 bipartisan House-passed jobs bills and have failed to advance a single appropriations bill this year.  The Senate showed no willingness to make meaningful spending reductions during the Super Committee process.  The Senate has yet to pass its version of this year’s defense bill, and now, with the meat cleaver hanging over the Department of Defense and by extension the hard-working men and women at the RIA, the Senate is once again A.W.O.L.  We need to get the Senate to work for the American people.”

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5 Tips for Teaching Teens About Money PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 13:35

As children blossom into young men and women, most insist on planning and running their own lives. Parents worry about all the basic essentials for their kids’ independent living, like housing, eating properly, staying warm, being careful at night and more. But most parents forget to teach their youngsters one of the most important lessons of all – financial responsibility. The resulting turmoil can spell disaster for a child’s future.

Consider this: The average young adult amasses $45,000 in debt by the time they turn 29, according to a recent PNC Bank report.

“This generation of 20-somethings was raised during an economically-thriving period,” says financial expert Mark Hansen, author of Success 101 for Teens ( “Undisciplined spending habits, student and car loans, and a tough job market have stymied their financial growth. Perhaps the worst culprit is financial ignorance, but we can count this as a lesson for future 20-somethings.”

For young people, organizing finances can be intimidating to the point of prohibitive, he says.

“We need to have a curriculum in schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade, that ensures our kids graduate with financially literacy,” he says. “From balancing a checkbook to understanding what it means to pay – and earn – interest, kids need basic money management skills to survive in the world, and most aren’t getting them.”

Hansen says all teens should know and practice so they can control their financial destinies:

• Saving for dreams – the three-envelope method: Use the first envelope for your day-to-day expenses: gas or lunch money. Pause before blowing this money at the movie theater or a fast-food restaurant! Envelope No. 2 is for short-term goals, which might be clothing or a new laptop. The third envelope is for long-term goals such as a car, college or a “future millionaire club” fund.

• How to create a budget: A budget lets us know what’s possible, and not possible, with money. There are six steps to creating a budget. 1. List all of your expenses. 2. List all income. 3. List monthly expenses. 4. Add up these lists separately. 5. Tweak your budget so you can meet your expenses with money left over for savings. 6. Review your budget every week.

• How to set and follow through on goals: First, figure out what your current finances are, then determine what they will be in the future -- one year out, then two years out, then four years later, etc. How will you get to your one- or two-year goal? You need a plan, and most of the time that means either earning more money, spending less, or a combination of the two. Finally, you have to stick to your plan in order for it to work.

• Understanding interest rates, such as credit cards: Interest is a fee paid for using someone else’s money. Simple interest is straightforward: 5 percent accrued in your bank account with $100 yields $5 in interest at the end of the year. Compound interest, however, means ever-increasing amounts. This is crucial to understanding debt you may take on from lenders. Know what you are borrowing, and the terms thereof. Just as your money can work for you in a bank account, money borrowed can work against you if it is not paid back in a timely manner.

• How to write checks and balance a checkbook: These days, it’s easier than ever to review accounts online, which automatically tracks exchanges. HOWEVER, banks do make mistakes, which is why it’s wise to track your accounts independently. Ask. Don’t be embarrassed. Banks are putting a premium on service and want to establish a positive relationship with young customers.  If you have a question, speak to someone at the bank. As you take control of your money, you’ll also take control of your life.

About Mark Hansen

A successful businessman, a former Palm Beach County, Fla., elected school board member and motivational speaker, Mark has dedicated his life to helping young people overcome obstacles and deal with the challenges of daily living. Struck by a car and nearly killed as a child, Mark fought back through positive actions and reactions to all that he had to overcome. As a result, he relates to teens in a very special way.  Through books such as, “Success 101 for Teens: Dollars and Sense for a Winning Financial Life,” and seminars, Mark Hansen is driven to make an impact on teens and young adults and to empower them to rise above and triumph over life’s obstacles.

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