Business & Economy
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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Governor Quinn Takes Budget Action PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 02 July 2012 12:26

Cuts Spending; Reforms Medicaid; Pays Bills 

CHICAGO ­– June 30, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today reduced the budget he received Friday from the General Assembly by $57 million. After a careful review of the budget bills, the Governor enacted a $33.7 billion balanced budget. This budget cuts discretionary spending by $1.4 billion from fiscal year 2012, pays $1.3 billion of old bills, closes and consolidates 57 facilities, and restructures the state’s Medicaid program while preserving the state’s vital services. Governor Quinn also cut his own office budget by nine percent.

“Cutting the budget is never easy but we must make the difficult decisions necessary to restore fiscal stability to Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “This budget is a serious fiscal plan that pays our bills, closes facilities and prevents the collapse of our Medicaid system.”

Reductions

Overall, this budget reduces discretionary spending by approximately $1.4 billion from the previous fiscal year.  The fiscal year 2012 discretionary budget was $25.3 billion compared to $23.9 billion for fiscal year 2013. This budget reduces overall spending at agencies under the Governor’s control, including a 9 percent reduction in the Governor’s office.

Governor Quinn reduced the budget through the closures and consolidations of 57 state facilities in order to improve state government efficiency and the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges.  These actions will save the state approximately $82 million in fiscal year 2013, and will result in an annualized savings of at least $136 million beginning in fiscal year 2014. Illinois can no longer afford outdated, half-full, very expensive facilities.

 

Department of Corrections

Reductions to the department will be achieved through the closures of Tamms Correctional Center, Dwight Correctional Center, Southern Illinois Adult Transition Center, Decatur Adult Transition Center and Westside Adult Transition Center.

 

Department of Juvenile Justice

Reductions to the department will be achieved through the closures of the Illinois Youth Center Murphysboro and Illinois Youth Center Joliet. 

 

Department of Human Services

Reductions to the department will be achieved through the closures of Tinley Park Mental Health Center, Singer Mental Health Center and Jacksonville Developmental Center (JDC).  The Department of Human Services will begin the process of closing Murray Developmental Center once the closure of JDC is complete.  The funding in these lines will be used to ensure smooth transitions and coordinated care as individuals move from costly institutions to supportive community settings.

Governor Quinn strongly objects to the General Assembly’s cuts to education and the Department of Children and Family Services, which is dedicated to protecting and saving children from abuse and neglect.  The governor will seek to reallocate funding in the fall towards protecting children.

“Our priority should always be the safety and well-being of our children,” Governor Quinn said.

 

For a more detailed explanation of reductions, please see attachments.

Pension  

Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, the state of Illinois has made the statutorily required pension payment every year since 2009.  The fiscal year 2013 budget continues to fully fund the pension systems.

Without major changes to our pension systems, pension costs will continue to place a tremendous strain on Illinois’ budget. In fiscal year 2008, the state’s pension payments were $1.8 billion, and have since grown to $5.2 billion in fiscal year 2013. These rising costs continue to squeeze all other areas of state government including education, public safety and services relied on by some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Governor Quinn laid out a pension plan to address these rising costs and eliminate the state’s unfunded liability; however, any changes require legislative action. The Governor continues to work diligently with legislators on both sides of the aisle to solve Illinois’ pension challenges that continue to impact taxpayers on a daily basis.

Reforms are also needed immediately in order to make certain the men and women who have faithfully contributed to the system receive their benefits. Governor Quinn is committed to making sure the pension systems are 100 percent funded by 2042 while saving taxpayer funds. The Governor is committed to continuing to work on the issue until pension reform is accomplished.

 

Today, Governor Pat Quinn took action on the following bills:

Approved

SB 2378    General Services appropriations

SB 2413    P-12 Education appropriations

SB 2443   Higher Education appropriations

SB 2454   Human Services appropriations

SB 3802   Budget Implementation Act

Line Item and Reduction Vetoed

SB 2474   Public Safety appropriations

Reduction Vetoed

SB 2409    General Services appropriations

Line Item Vetoed

SB 2332    Capital re-appropriations

The fiscal year 2013 budget takes effect July 1, 2012.

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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 www.illinoisbiz.biz.

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