Business & Economy
Loebsack, Schilling Call on Negotiators to Prioritize Funding for Large Bridge Projects Like I-74 in Quad Cities to Spur Economic Growth PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:27

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today called on the Members in the House and Senate who are negotiating a comprehensive Highway Bill to prioritize funding for large interstate bridge projects, such as the I-74 Bridge.  Projects like the I-74 Bridge have a national significance and need dedicated federal support to move forward.  Loebsack and Schilling have worked in a bipartisan fashion on numerous previous efforts to stress the importance of the project for local economic growth.

“Large Interstate bridge projects may be some of the most effective investments since they not only put a variety of people and skill-sets to work, but have broad public and private use and economic benefit for the long-term when completed,” wrote the Congressmen. “The much-needed replacement of the I-74 Bridge would not only create construction jobs, reduce traffic backups and aid commerce in traveling to and from our communities, but would – most importantly – improve safety for Americans traveling between Iowa and Illinois.  These projects are truly an investment in America’s and each of our local communities’ economies both today and for the future.”

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.

A copy of the letter can be seen here.


Voters Prefer IRJA Solution PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance   
Monday, 30 April 2012 09:43
The Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance released a poll earlier this week.
The results confirmed that Illinois voters strongly support a gaming solution that would generate $200 million in increased annual state revenue and create more than 20,500 jobs.

Findings included:
74% prefer finding new revenue sources to raising taxes or cutting gov. programs.
62% support the overall gaming solution laid out in SB 1849.
70% of Collar County voters support the bill.
68% of Northern Illinois voters support the bill.
61% of Southern Illinois voters support the bill.
60% of Cook County voters support the bill.
54% of Central Illinois voters support the bill.

In terms of how voters view the different components of SB 1849, the results were:
69% support increasing the number of slot machines on Illinois riverboats.
68% favor adding slots to the state’s six existing racetracks.
64% support authorizing four new riverboat casinos throughout the state.
62% support a land-based casino in Chicago.

The survey of 800 likely Illinois voters was conducted April 10-12 by Public Opinion Strategies.
The Belleville News Democrat reported on the IRJA’s economic impact study, focusing on Farimont Park in Collinsville, the state’s only Southern-based horse-racing venue.

The Metro-East track has struggled to compete for gambling dollars as markets in St. Louis have expanded gaming options. Fairmont Park President Brian Zander said the positive economic figures in the report should serve as an incentive for Illinois to recapture those dollars during tight budget times.

"What really stands out is the number of jobs that would be created, the permanent jobs and the part-time construction jobs," Zander said. "Also, if you look through this bill that this study analyze, there are millions, hundreds of millions of up-front fees that we pay that would be an addition to ongoing revenues. Again, this is a state that really needs the money."

'Wall Street Whiz Kid' Says Best Financial Guide is the Oldest One PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 30 April 2012 09:39
Money Expert Shares the Advice He Follows

Financial how-to books come and go – they’re published by the hundreds every year. But Peter Grandich, dubbed “The Wall Street Whiz Kid” by Good Morning America’s Steve Crowley, says the one he relies on has been around for nearly 2,000 years.

“I get my financial guidance from the Bible,” says Grandich, author of Confessions of a Wall Street Whiz Kid ( “Money and possessions are the second most referenced topic in the Bible – money is mentioned more than 800 times – and the message is clear: Nowhere in Scripture is debt viewed in a positive way.”

Grandich, who says his years as a highly successful Wall Street stockbroker left him spiritually depleted and clinically depressed, says the Bible is an excellent financial adviser, whether or not you’re religious.

“The writers of the Bible anticipated the problems we would have with money and possessions; there are more than 2,000 references,” he says. “Our whole culture now is built on the premise that we have to have more money and more stuff to feel happy and secure. Public storage is the poster child for what’s wrong with America. We have too much stuff because we’ve bought into the myth fabricated by Wall Street and Madison Avenue that more stuff equals more happiness.”  He adds, “That’s the total opposite of the truth, and the opposite of what it says in The Bible.”

What’s Grandich’s No. 1 most important biblical rule of finance? “God owns everything. You may have bought that house, but He gave you the money to buy it, so it’s His.”

Some other lessons from the ultimate financial guide?

• Do put money aside for investing: “One of the most revealing parables is Jesus’ story about a wealthy master who left three servants in charge of his financial affairs when he went away on a long journey,” Grandich says. “When he returned, two of the servants had multiplied the coins for which they were responsible. The third buried his to keep it safe.” That last servant ended up out on his ear. The story is a lesson: We must invest our money – and invest wisely.

• Debt’s not prohibited, but it should be avoided: The Bible clearly warns that the borrower will be a servant to the lender, but it also instructs us to lend money. That suggests that there are times when it’s OK to borrow, but it should not become a way of life. The Bible also instructs us to repay what we’ve borrowed.

• The more you make, the more you should give. This is a hard one for people caught up in buying bigger and better things, but there are numerous references to charitable giving. The Bible says that it’s quite all right to buy the bigger house – but the more you make and spend on yourself, the more you need to give to others. That doesn’t include tithing, another very clear demand: God expects you to give 10 percent of your wealth to your place of worship.

• Don’t focus on acquiring possessions. There are many, many warnings that accumulating stuff is dangerous. Material things are fleeting and they’ll do you no good in the long run. What you put your effort into, that’s where your heart will be, Grandich says.

About Peter Grandich

Peter Grandich became renowned in the financial industry when he predicted market crashes and rebounds in The Grandich Letter, a newsletter he created in 1984. It’s currently a blog featuring his commentary on the world’s economies and financial markets as well as social and political topics. Grandich is co-founder, with former New York Giants player Lee Rouson, of Trinity Financial Sports & Entertainment Management Co., a firm that specializes in offering guidance from a Christian perspective to professional athletes and celebrities.

Eighty-Five Percent of Consumers Say the Price Needs to Be Right Before They Shop, Reports NPD PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kim McLynn   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 14:03

Determining the right price an increasing challenge for retailers

Port Washington, NY, April 24, 2012 — Price trumps sales and special deals, customer service, and convenience as a factor in deciding where to shop for the majority of U.S. consumers, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD’s The Economy Tracker*, a monthly monitor of consumer sentiment about the economy and spending, finds that in the most recent survey (March 12) 85 percent of U.S. consumers say that price will be an extremely important/important factor in deciding where to shop in the near future, ten percent more than those who feel sales and special deals are extremely important/important.

How important do you expect that each of the following factors

will be in where you decide to shop in the next 3 months or so?

Expected Consumer Requirements of Purchase


Source: The NPD Group/The Economy Tracker, March 2012

By income, 87 percent of those in the household income bracket of $25 to 50,000 selecting price as extremely important/important, 85 percent in the $50,000 to $100,000 income bracket, and 82 percent in the $100,000 plus bracket, according the The Economy Tracker. Seventy-nine percent of young adults, 18 to 34, 86 percent of 35 to 44 year-olds, 88 percent of 45 to 54 year-olds, 89 percent of 55 to 64 year-olds and 86 percent of 65 and older said that price was extremely important/important.

“Shoppers are now savvier when spending money. They have new ways of gauging the marketplace – they can compare prices on the Web while at home or while standing in a brick-and-mortar store with their smartphones,” says John Deputato, senior vice president, advanced analytics at NPD. “We certainly have moved to a time of calculated consumption for shoppers… and price has come to the forefront of the purchase decision.”

Deputato points out that the sophistication of consumers when it comes to price, changes to shopping habits, and the soft U.S. economy has made the decision to set retail prices not only more difficult but more strategically critical for both retailers and manufacturers.

“Manufacturers and retailers recognize that setting the right pricing strategy is a competitive advantage in the marketplace, but pricing is more difficult today than it was prior to the recession,” says Deputato. “We’ve been working with the top retailers and manufacturers conducting price elasticity research to understand the wide range of potential impact on profits depending on the possible pricing decisions. Prices can’t arbitrarily be set, it takes information and a thorough thought process to come up with the right price.”


*The Economy Tracker Methodology:

The Economy Tracker is based on online surveys completed by approximately 1,500 members of NPD’s online consumer panel in each month. The sample is fielded to a U.S. representative sample; the completed responses are weighted and balanced back to U.S. Census targets. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points overall.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, contact us, visit, or follow us on Twitter at

Illinois Supports a Gaming Solution PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Scott Burnham   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:11
New poll: Illinoisans overwhelmingly support gaming solution
Residents ready for economic benefits, jobs new legislation will bring

More than 60 percent of Illinois residents support a gaming solution that includes more casinos and the addition of slot machines at racetracks as a solution to create more than 20,000 jobs and generate nearly $200 million annually for the state, a newly released poll reveals.

The Alexandria, Virginia-based Public Opinion Strategies poll of 800 likely Illinois voters conducted April 10-12 shows that Illinois residents overwhelmingly back legislation to expand gaming to help generate new revenue.

When asked if they would “support or oppose a proposal to generate revenues to state and local governments by increasing the number of slot machines allowed at riverboats, allowing slot machines at racetracks, and by adding a land-based Chicago casino and four additional riverboat casinos,” 62 percent of voters responded that they supported it, compared to 33 percent who opposed it.

“Illinoisans are sending a loud and clear message that they strongly support gaming legislation that will bring sorely needed economic benefits throughout the state during these challenging budget times,” said Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance Chairman Bill Black. “They have no appetite for lawmakers raising taxes or cutting essential programs like education, health care and safety net services that impact our most vulnerable residents. This legislation is an attractive solution that comes at absolutely no cost to taxpayers.”

The poll was commissioned and issued by the newly formed Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance (IRJA), a growing statewide consortium of more than 70 labor organizations, business groups, farming and agribusiness interests, racetracks and horsemen associations, and local municipalities, all committed to the creation of new jobs and state revenue that expanded gambling would bring.

Those surveyed overwhelmingly oppose the alternative proposal discussed by some lawmakers to subsidize racetracks in lieu of permitting slot machines at those venues. According to the poll, 76 percent of respondents favor slot machines at racetracks, compared to just 16 percent who favor an annual subsidy.

“It’s clear that Illinois residents favor initiatives aimed at creating jobs and increasing revenue,” Black said. “It’s a no-brainer compared to a subsidy that would cost the state money.”

Last week, the IRJA issued an independent study by the Spectrum Group showing that that pending legislation in Springfield would generate nearly $200 million in additional state tax revenue and admission fees each year along with $377 million in initial licensing fees while creating nearly 20,500 jobs throughout Illinois. The study also revealed that there is room to accommodate expansion without reaching a saturation point.

According to the poll, broad support exists throughout the state for Senate Bill 1849, which calls for new casinos in Chicago, Lake County, south suburban Chicago, Rockford and Danville; additional slot machines at existing casinos and the addition of slot machines at the state’s six horseracing tracks.

Support for SB 1849 is highest in the Collar Counties where 70 percent of respondents favor the proposal, but support is strong throughout Illinois: 68 percent in favor in Northern Illinois; 61 percent in favor in Southern Illinois; 60 percent in favor in Cook County; and 54 percent in favor in Central Illinois.

“It’s very telling that the areas of the state that support gaming the most are the very same areas that already have casinos,” Black said.  “This shows that these communities have experienced no grave social costs from their proximity to legalized gaming, and also that there is a substantial market demand for more of it.”

The most popular components of SB 1849 were increasing the number of slot machines at existing riverboats (69 percent) and allowing slot machines at the state’s six horse racing tracks (68 percent). Meanwhile, 64 percent favor authorizing four new casinos in Danville, Lake County, Rockford and the south suburbs and 62 percent support authorizing a land-based casino in Chicago.

According to the poll, 55 percent added that they would be more likely to vote for a state legislator who supported gaming expansion in the next election, compared to 30 percent who would be less likely to vote for a lawmaker who opposed it.

Why Senate Bill 1849?
Creating More Jobs
Illinois will realize economic benefits through the expansion outlined in SB 1849, the Spectrum study indicated. The legislation would create 20,451 new jobs and more than $1.5 billion in personal income, including 9,800 full-time direct jobs with $323 million in annual wages as well as more than 4,500 construction-related jobs, translating into nearly $475 million in wages, benefits and taxes. The expansion allowing for slots at horseracing venues would create 2,723 full-time jobs at racetracks and 1,038 full-time construction-related jobs at those venues. Additionally, SB 1849 would provide a stable foundation for the preservation of nearly 37,000 agribusiness jobs.

Generating More Revenue
According to the Spectrum report, projected gross gaming revenue in Illinois would reach $3.28 billion annually by 2016 if SB 1849 were enacted – a 75 percent increase over the $1.87 billion projected if no expansion occurred. SB 1849 would translate into a total of $809.2 million per year in taxes and admission fees for the state, or an increase of $195.3 million, the study found. In addition, the state would receive an additional reconciliation payment of $1.17 billion and $377 million in initial licensing fees.

About the Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance
The Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance is a growing statewide consortium of labor organizations, business groups, farming and agribusiness interests, racetracks and horsemen associations, and local municipalities committed to the passage of SB 1849 which calls for the expansion of gaming in Illinois, including slot machines at racetracks. The Illinois Revenue & Jobs Alliance is committed to creating new jobs, protecting existing jobs spurring new economic development and generating more revenue for the state. For more information, visit

IRJA Members Include:

Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce
Arlington Park Racecourse
Association of IL Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Balmoral Park Racetrack
Chicago and Downstate Roofing Contractors
Chicago Barn to Wire
Chicago Rockford International Airport
City of Danville
City of Loves Park
City of Rockford
City of South Beloit
Collinsville Chamber of Commmerce
Coronado Performing Arts Center
Cumulus Media
Discovery Center Museum
Fairmount Park Racetrack
Greater O'Hare Regional Business Association
Greater Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau
Hawthorne Racecourse
Illinois AFL-CIO
Illinois Association of Agricultural Affairs
Illinois Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Contractors Association
Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association, Inc.
Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association
Illinois Quarter Horse Association
Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation
Ironworkers Local #498
Laborers Local 44
Laborers’ Local #32
Maywood Park Ractrack
Next Rockford
Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association (NIBCA)
Northern Illinois Electrical Contractors Association
Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council
Painters District Council
Palatine Chamber of Commerce
Park City City Hall
Quad City Downs Racecourse
Rockford Area Arts Council
Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Rockford Area Economic Development Council
Rockford Area Hotel Motel Association
Rockford Art Museum
Rockford Chamber of Commerce
Rockford Dance Company
Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Rockford Park District
Rockford Register Star
Rockford Symphony Orchestra
Rolling Meadows Chamber of Commerce
Service Employees International Union Local 1
Sheet Metal Workers Local #219
Teamsters Joint Council 25
The National Independent Concessionaires Association
The Outdoor Amusement Business Association
United Way of the Rock River Valley
UniteHere! Local 1
UniteHere! Local 450
Village of Machesney Park
Village of Pecatonica
Village of Rockton
Village of Roscoe
Village of Stickney
Village of Winnebago
Winnebago County
Winnebago County Fair Association
Winnebago County Soil & Water Conservation District

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