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Governor Quinn to Illinois Business Leaders: Get Involved to Stabilize Medicaid & Pension Systems PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Nafia Khan   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:26

SPRINGFIELD – May 2, 2012. In his keynote address at the Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s annual business day, Governor Pat Quinn called on Illinois business leaders to push for solutions that rescue Illinois’ Medicaid and public pension systems this legislative session. The two fast-growing areas of state spending are on unsustainable paths, jeopardizing their existence, those who depend on them, and the state’s ability to fund core services like education and public safety. Uncertainty caused by inaction on these two critical issues makes it more difficult for businesses and the state to plan for long-term needs and growth.

“The best thing we can do for businesses right now in Illinois is restore fiscal stability to our state,” Governor Quinn said. “I urge you to advocate for solutions on pensions and Medicaid like never before and make sure your voice is heard these next few weeks by the members of the General Assembly.”

Governor Quinn recently proposed a plan to fundamentally restructure the Medicaid system and save it from collapse by creating $2.7 billion in savings. The governor’s Medicaid plan cuts waste, fraud and abuse, and raises the price of cigarettes to bring back dollar for dollar federal matching funds and help make people healthier. The governor also recently proposed a bold plan to stabilize the pension system, which is expected to save taxpayers $65 to $85 billion, eliminate the unfunded liability and allow public employees who have faithfully contributed to the system to continue to receive pension benefits.

Governor Quinn told business leaders in attendance that unless state lawmakers address these issues this spring, the consequences of inaction will be devastating to the state’s economic recovery and ability to provide basic services.

Together, Medicaid and pensions now account for 39% of state general revenue spending, putting a tremendous squeeze on the rest of the budget. Illinois is expected to end this fiscal year with almost $2 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills, caused in part by rising medical costs, increased enrollment during the Great Recession and a deferral of $1.9 billion in last year’s bills to this fiscal year. Without immediate and fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid system, the non-partisan Civic Federation projects that Illinois’ unpaid bills will rise to $21 billion by 2017. According to the PEW Center for the States, Illinois’ unfunded pension liability is the worst in the nation.

Ratings agencies have repeatedly cited continued inaction on Medicaid and pension reform as potential reasons to downgrade Illinois’ bond rating, which could effectively halt critical capital improvements and road safety projects. Stabilizing these systems is also necessary to ensure the continuation of the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction plan, which has benefited businesses across the state through modern infrastructure that increases efficiency and keeps them competitive.

For more information about Governor Quinn’s reform proposals that will save Illinois’ Medicaid and pension systems to make them sustainable, while restoring stability to the state budget, please visit his announcements for Medicaid and pension reform.


Braley Statement on US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:20

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement in response to the United States-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement announced by President Obama in Kabul last night:

“I have serious concerns that the President’s agreement with Afghanistan announced last night will lead to permanent American involvement there.


“For years, our nation’s leaders have spoken about their intention to end the American presence in Afghanistan.  All that time, the end date has been pushed further and further down the road.


“We have accomplished the main objectives of our mission in Afghanistan.  Osama bin Laden is dead, al-Qaida has been marginalized, and the Afghan government has been stabilized.


“At some point, the Afghanis need to take control of their country’s own future.  I believe that point is now – not two, ten, or twenty years from now.  We’ve already been in Afghanistan for more than a decade.  It’s time to focus on strengthening America here at home.”

# # #

Loebsack Statement on the President’s Speech on Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 08:57

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement regarding President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan.  Loebsack is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and has traveled to Afghanistan six times to meet with the troops and receive briefings from the commanders on the ground.

“With far too many Iowa families struggling here at home, I strongly believe that our nation’s focus must be on rebuilding an economy that works for all Iowans. As I have long said, I also believe that we have done more than enough nation building in Afghanistan.  The situation we face there has changed.  It is past time to focus on rebuilding our economy here at home.

"As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I know the serious threats facing our nation.  We must continue to protect our country from the terrorist threats we face. As our military leaders have also testified, the strength and security of our nation is based on the strength of our economy.  Our current presence in Afghanistan does not address those threats.”

“Our servicemembers and military families have made great sacrifices over the last decade and we owe them our unyielding gratitude, respect, and support.  As a nation, we have a responsibility to serve them with the same dedication and honor with which they have served us.  We must ensure that our wounded warriors, including those whose wounds are not visible, receive nothing but the best medical care and support, and that those looking for civilian jobs are able to find them..

“Our men and women in uniform, including our Iowa National Guard, have served courageously and performed their duty; it is now time to responsibly bring them home.”


9 Ways to Protect Everything You Own – From Everyone, Every Time PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 08:56

Hillel L. Presser, author of “Financial Self-Defense,” and a lawyer specializing in establishing comprehensive asset protection plans.

Lawsuits have become big business, especially since the economic downturn. They’re a cheap way for people to make lots of money, often with an investment of just a few hours’ time. Consider -- the plaintiff may never even have to prove a thing; the prospect of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills can scare a defendant into opting for a settlement without ever putting up a fight. Even if he did nothing wrong.

More than 100 million lawsuits are filed each year; one in three people will be sued in the next 12 months. No one’s immune, but people with a lot of assets showing are especially vulnerable. If someone thinks you’ve got a lot to lose – and thus, they’ve got a lot to gain – you become a choice target. People who are less affluent are vulnerable in a different way: If a person with $100,000 in assets gets sued for $1 million, they’ll be wiped out, whereas the person with $5 million can survive a $1 million lawsuit.

The time to protect your assets is before you get sued; it’s much more enforceable, costs less and you’ll have more options available.

Here are some tips to help guide you:

1. Inventory your wealth. Most people have a lot more than they think. Take stock of valuable domain names, telephone numbers, intellectual property, potential inheritances, and other non-liquid assets.

2. Convert non-exempt assets into exempt assets. State laws protect some personal assets from lawsuits and creditors. Those assets typically include your primary residence; personal items such as furniture and clothing; pensions and retirement funds; and life insurance. Find out the exemptions for your state and convert non-exempt assets (i.e. cash) into exempt assets (i.e. life insurance).

3. Protect every asset from every creditor. There’s no point in protecting your money if your business is exposed.  There’s no point in protecting your business if your house is exposed. There’s no point in protecting your house if your boat is exposed.  Protect everything!  Your asset protection plan should hold up whether your neighbor is suing you or the most powerful attorney downtown.

4. Don’t rely solely on liability insurance. Buy as much insurance as you can; it’s cheap and it helps you sleep at night. But realize that 70 percent of claims are not covered.  Your coverage may be inadequate for a particular suit; your insurance company may go bankrupt. Having insurance and an asset protection plan is the belt and suspenders approach to hanging onto your pants.

5. Avoid fraudulent transfers. A fraudulent transfer occurs if your creditor doesn’t get paid because you sold an asset to a person or entity for less than its fair market value when faced with a lawsuit. Such a transfer, done with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor, can invalidate your entire asset protection plan.

6. Don’t title your assets solely to your spouse or to “straw men.” They may have more financial problems than you.

7. Protect with liens. What is a $100,000 car worth if you owe $95,000?  What is a $1 million house worth if you owe $950,000?  Take out lines of credit.  Record mortgages against your property.  Make all of your assets valueless.  Become an unattractive candidate for a lawsuit.

8.  Transfer your assets to a protective entity. The key to asset protection is to own nothing while controlling everything.  Transfer any non exempt assets out of your name to protective entities such as trusts, LLC’s (limited liability companies), limited partnerships, etc.

9. Keep your plan up to date. Laws change every year. Have your plan reviewed yearly.

Lt. Governor Simon testifies in support of College Choice Reports PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kathryn Phillips   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 08:49

Legislation to help shine light on Illinois’ higher education institutions

SPRINGFIELD – May 1, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon submitted written testimony to the Senate Higher Education Committee today in support of House Bill 5248, Amendment 2. The legislation, approved 7-0, will require public and private colleges and universities to publish annual “College Choice Reports” with key student and institutional data.

The College Choice Reports could contain information such as degree and certificate completion rates, net costs, debt loads and job placement outcomes. Much of the suggested data is already collected by the Illinois Community College Board and Illinois Board of Higher Education, but HB 5248 will ensure it is published in an easy to find and digestible format.

“Future undergraduates will be able to access College Choice Reports online to comparison-shop among institutions,” said Simon, who helped draft the legislation following her Complete College Tour of the state’s 48 community colleges. “Think of this new tool as a consumer report, guiding parents and students toward high-quality, affordable higher education investments.”

Upon passage of HB 5248, Amendment 2, higher education stakeholders will convene a committee to determine the style and content of the reports by January 1, 2014. Public and private degree-granting institutions will publish their first College Choice Report by January 1, 2015. Simon, as chair of the Joint Education Leadership Committee of the P-20 Council, will monitor the committee’s progress.

The General Assembly, with guidance from the P-20 Council, recently revamped the elementary and high school report cards which have been required for more than a decade. The College Choice Reports will build on these resources, Simon said.

HB 5248, sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford, now moves to the Senate for a vote.


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