This electronic newsletter is an opportunity for you to learn more about what we’ve accomplished in Illinois government, and how you can get involved. Whether it’s volunteering in a Serve Illinois volunteer project, receiving state services, or learning about new laws and programs, I want to ensure that you know what’s happening in your government.
If you have ideas for improving any State service, program, or this very newsletter, please click here and let us know.
Put Illinois to Work
On April 26, Governor Quinn announced the creation of “Put Illinois to Work”, a program to put unemployed and underemployed Illinois residents to work. This program encourages employers to hire employees that meet certain eligibility requirements, such as income level and age. Their salaries for the first six months are subsidized through federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act(stimulus) funds. This program is expected to create more than 15,000 jobs in Illinois. For more information, or to find out how to get involved, please visit PutIllinoistoWork.Illinois.gov.
Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit
On April 13, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1578, the Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit. This new law provides tax incentives to small businesses who employ 50 or fewer people and wish to hire new, full-time employees in Illinois. Each eligible job must last for one 12-month period and pay at least $25,000 annually. Because small businesses make up 95 percent of all Illinois businesses, this law will significantly boost Illinois’ economy and create 20,000 job across the state.
On June 9, Governor Quinn joined Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding and legislation to begin developing the Illiana Expressway which will connect I-55 to I-65. This project will create 14,000 new jobs in Illinois. This project has opened an era of bi-state collaboration and will bring economic development and relief to Illinois’ congested roadways.
Illinois Jobs Now! Capital Program
Illinois Jobs Now!, the state’s first capital program in nearly a decade, is a $31 billion program that will jump-start our state’s economy and put people back to work by creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over the next six years. Now that construction season is fully upon us, several much-needed projects have begun. These projects include:
- U of I Lincoln Hall - This in-progress project is 10 percent complete and will allow the University to efficiently use their existing space for current and new academic programs. Included in the project design are plans to achieve “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) gold certification.
- WIU Quad City Riverfront Campus -The campus is 5 percent into construction, which includes three new buildings. This project alone is expected to create 2,000 jobs.
- K-12 School Construction - The Illinois Jobs Now! School Construction program, totaled at $1.5 billion, will be matched with local funding and support new school construction as well as maintain the infrastructure needs of fast-growing school districts.
On June 15, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 107, which greatly modernizes the Illinois Telecommunications Act. The original act was written in 1985 but, in an era of widespread cell phone usage, has become outdated. This new law will not only protect consumers and create jobs, but also encourage private investment in wireless and broadband technologies. Sponsored by Senator Michael Bond and Representative Kevin McCarthy, this law also ensures that significant consumer protections are met which ensure affordable phones service options, including those to individuals who rely on landlines.
On April 14, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1946, the Illinois Public Pension Reform Bill. The new law will provide relief to taxpayers while protecting the retirements of public employees. This law will save the state more than $200 billion over 35 years, prohibit double-dipping and cap pensionable salary. The Public Pension Reform Bill is being hailed by lawmakers and public servants who applaud the Governor’s effort to reign in spiraling public pension obligations and restore the state’s financial integrity now and in the future.
Payday Loan Reform
On June 21, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 537, The Pay Day Loan Reform Bill. The new law provides important protections for Illinois residents obtaining consumer installment loans. In the past, finance companies could charge interest rates as high as 1,000 percent. Sponsored by Representative Lou Lang and Senator Kimberly Lightford, this new law caps interest rates charged by these consumer finance companies. The new law allows borrowers to repay loans more easily by limiting the amount charged for monthly payments, and iprevents lenders from penalizing borrowers for paying off loans early.
To help confront the state’s historic fiscal crisis, Governor Quinn established a section on www.Budget.Illinois.govwhere residents from across the state were able to suggest budget solutions and ideas. Over 16,500 constituents contributed ideas and suggestions for ways Illinois can reduce state debt and cut spending. This website has not only improved transparency within state government, but has opened communication between Governor Quinn and Illinois residents. Many of these ideas were taken into consideration when reviewing the State Budget, and are still available for public review by visiting Budget.Illinois.gov.
During the week of May 8-15, Illinois joined states across the nation in celebrating AmeriCorps Week. This celebration recognized the organization’s commitment to the community and also provided the opportunity to follow its example. Since 1994, AmeriCorps has been providing services in education, public safety, health and the environment. In exchange, volunteers are granted an education award to fund college or qualified student loans. Illinois volunteers participated in Project Bloom and planted a garden to serve as a source of low-cost, healthy food for the disabled children of Anixter Center.
On June 11, 2010 Governor Quinn joined hundreds of thousands of fellow Chicago Blackhawks fans on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue to proclaim Chicago Blackhawks Day in honor of the Stanley Cup champions. The city was transformed into a sea of black and red as fans from across the state packed the street for a celebratory parade and rally. It was a day to honor this “team of destiny,” said Governor Quinn, for their dedication and display of teamwork.