Despite State fiscal crisis, Illinois lawmakers get ‘Cadillac’ health plan

by Scott Reeder | Illinois News Network

Illinois taxpayers spent $1.23 million last year to provide health insurance to state lawmakers despite the fact that the jobs are part-time and the state is broke.

This perk of office is under fire from a surprising source — a group of state lawmakers.

“This is a part-time job. There is absolutely no reason that it should have health insurance and a pension provided, especially at a time like this when the state is hurting financially,” said State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills.

McSweeney along with 33 other lawmakers — about one-fifth of the General Assembly — are refusing to accept the health insurance benefits.

“If it is more generous than what other people are getting, they should at least scale it back, but I say eliminate it,” he said.

Only in Illinois (11-27-1015)

A coalition of business groups fro the greater Chicago area this week sent a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four leaders of the Illinois General Assembly pleading with them to get a state budget passed and bring some stability back to the Illinois economy. As the Democrats and Republicans blame each other for the budget impasse, things only are getting worse. Expectations are low for the first meeting between the governor and the four leaders next week, but pressure is high from those afftected by the current state of affairs. That’s our topic on this week’s “Only in Illinois.”

Where the big primary races will be in suburbs

by Mike Riopell | Daily Herald

Despite frustration over a historic budget impasse in Springfield, Republicans and Democrats in the suburbs so far are avoiding dramatic primary election challenges to their veteran incumbents, state elections records show.

Monday is the last day for candidates to make their intentions known, and so far, the only major local primary contests for seats at the state Capitol are where incumbents — Rep. Mike Tryon of Crystal Lake and Sen. Mike Noland of Elgin — are departing.

Only in Illinois (11-20-2015) [Video]

from Reboot Illinois

This week Gov. Bruce Rauner was part of a wave of governors who announced their states were suspending acceptance of Syrian refugees in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. Unfortunately for the governors, they have no authority to do so. Refugee and immigration policy is the exclusive province of the federal government. They’re not helpless here, however. Governors do have authority to make their states inhospitable to refugees. Whether and how Rauner plans to do that is our topic on this week’s “Only in Illinois.”

Skillicorn to officially seek 66th State House seat

Erin Sauder | The Courier News

In May, East Dundee Trustee Allen Skillicorn said he was “exploring a run” for the 66th State House Seat.

During a gathering Thursday night at Bandito Barney’s, Skillicorn said he is officially throwing his hat in the ring, making the March Republican primary a four-way race.

This summer, current State Rep. Mike Tryon, who has served in the Illinois House of Representatives since January of 2005, announced he will retire in 2016.

The 66th State House District includes parts of Algonquin, Crystal Lake, East and West Dundee, Elgin, Gilberts, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood and Sleepy Hollow.

“There’s a lot of talk in the 66th District about lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, and who’s ‘the real Republican,'” Skillicorn said to attendees Thursday. “I appreciate the discourse on these issues which are near and dear to my heart, but the state of Illinois needs more doers, not talkers.”

Skillicorn to seek state House seat in 66th District

by Erin Sauder, Chicago Tribune

In May, East Dundee trustee Allen Skillicorn said he was “exploring a run” for the 66th District state House seat.

During a gathering Thursday night at Bandito Barney’s, Skillicorn said he is officially throwing his hat in the ring, making the Republican primary a four-way race.

State Rep. Mike Tryon, who has served in the Illinois House since January 2005, announced over the summer that he will retire in 2016.

The 66th District includes parts of Algonquin, Crystal Lake, East Dundee, West Dundee, Elgin, Gilberts, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood and Sleepy Hollow.

“There’s a lot of talk in the 66th District about lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, and who’s ‘the real Republican,’ ” Skillicorn said to attendees Thursday. “I appreciate the discourse on these issues which are near and dear to my heart, but the state of Illinois needs more doers, not talkers.”

Since he was elected to the Village Board four years ago, Skillicorn said he and his fellow trustees have worked to freeze the property tax levy and keep it that way.

“We’ve become a model for neighboring communities,” he said. “Combined with local economic growth, village property taxes have dropped dramatically per home. Talking about change is easy. Getting a Village Board to fully embrace open, transparent government — that’s not easy.”

Prior to his election to the board, Skillicorn said important village records and budgets were not easily available to the public.

“I think it’s important, so I changed that,” he said. “Now all financial information, even the check register, is posted regularly on East Dundee’s website.”

Skillicorn thanked those who attended.

“I’m the conservative reformer, and I humbly ask for your vote to shake up Springfield,” he said.

Kane County Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell, also chairman of the Kane County Republican Central Committee, said Illinois has a constitutional requirement to pass a balanced budget.

But because of the stalemate, he said, in large part due to the Democrats, “right now our Constitutional rights are being trampled on.”

“Allen, you have my support. Let’s go forward and make a difference,” Hartwell said.

Joining Skillicorn in the Republican primary will be West Dundee trustee Dan Wilbrandt; McHenry County Board member Carolyn Schofield, of Crystal Lake; and Lakewood village trustee Paul Serwatka.

Skillicorn Formally Enters House Race

East Dundee, IL – Speaking to a crowded room of supporters, Allen Skillicorn formally launched his campaign for State Representative Thursday evening.

“Months ago Representative Michael Tyron announced he would not seek another term. As one might expect, this has set about an avalanche of candidates chasing the Republican primary nomination. This announcement does not come first, but with everyone’s help here today, this will be the one worth remembering.” Skillicorn continued, “I’m Allen Skillicorn, the conservative reformer and I humbly ask for your vote to shake up Springfield.”

Skillicorn Gears-Up for Kick-Off

For Immediate Release | Thursday, November 19, 2015

East Dundee, IL – Allen Skillicorn prepares to make his bid official, formally entering a four-way Republican primary for Mike Tryon’s open-seat in 2016. The kick-off is scheduled at Bandito Barney’s this evening during a campaign fundraiser.

“I’ve knocked on thousands of doors across the district. The reception to my message for lower property taxes is overwhelmingly positive.” Skillicorn has collected over 1,500 petition signatures, the maximum allowed, safely securing his name on the March 15 primary ballot. Earlier this week hand addressed letters introducing Skillicorn were delivered to Republicans across the district.

Algonquin proposes 4.6 percent tax levy increase

by Lauren Rohr | Daily Herald

Algonquin officials are proposing to collect 4.6 percent more in property taxes for next year.

The village is considering increasing the 2015 property tax levy to $5.7 million — $250,000 more than the previous year, according to village documents.

Assistant Village Manager Michael Kumbera said the additional money is needed mostly to fund a $597,000 increase in public pension payments. About $1.8 million overall is needed to fund police pensions.

“We want to be able to keep up with our required pension contribution,” Kumbera said. “We don’t want to underfund our pensions and kick the can down the road.”