Rep. Jeanne Ives
Everything in Springfield is a fight over money.  There is no bigger fight than the one over K-12 education funding.  The 20-year old distribution formula for General State Aid has been distorted beyond its original intent and folks from around the state have increasingly been arguing for a more fair system to distribute state education dollars.

This fight has heated up over the last four years pitting city against suburb against rural districts. It is also a fight between property-rich districts that largely fund themselves and property-poor districts who want more state aid. 

A seminal 2013 report prepared by the Senate Republican caucus in response to Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) continuous request for more money for their bloated system showed even more inequities.  That report indicated the Chicago “free lunch” amounted to $800 million and that, if anything, CPS should receive less state funding.  For example, the report highlighted the following about CPS funding from the state: 

  • CPS has 31% of those in poverty, but receives 47% of the poverty grant money
  • CPS has 17% percent of special education students, yet receives 30% of the that funding
  • CPS has 18% of those in early childhood, yet receives 37% of the funding related to early childhood 
In a recent Chicago Tribune article, State Senator Andy Manar, the lead sponsor of the new funding formula contained in Senate Bill 1 argued that the old formula redistributes hundreds of millions of dollars according to rules where the poor lose and the rich win.  Nearly all agree we need a change; and Democrats, Republicans, school administrators and education policy experts alike have weighed in on legislation to change the formula.  
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) spoke on the House Floor on Sunday in response to Democrats voting to remove her as sponsor of Senate Bill 9, paving the way for them to advance a $5.4 Billion tax increase on Illinois families.

Rep. Jeanne Ives
SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Jeanne Ives released the following statement today after the passage of SB 9 in the Illinois Senate on Tuesday, legislation to increase taxes by $5.4 Billion through income tax increases on both individuals and employers in addition to a new “sugar tax” on sweetened beverages. SB 9 now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Ives has pre-filed to be the bill’s sponsor.

“I want to be a part of the conversation when it comes to taxes and how any tax increase would impact hardworking Illinois families and job creators. Senate Bill 9 would give Illinois the highest taxes on employers of any state in the nation and make it more difficult for middle-income families to make ends meet. There is a bigger conversation that needs to be had before the state considers a tax increase; specifically on real property tax relief, responsible spending cuts and pro-business reforms to help create jobs in Illinois. I believe the best way for me to have a voice in that discussion is to control the bill in the House of Representatives as its sponsor.” 

Senate Bill 9 is expected to be assigned to a House Committee as early as Wednesday.

The 'Straight Talk Tour', which included stops in Carol Stream, Wheaton and Naperville this spring, is coming to Warrenville on Tuesday, June 6 at 7:00pm. Mark your calendar and bring a friend!

DuPage Policy Journal

State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) chastised the House for its lack of progress on a state budget estimate, calling it a failure of the chamber.

“The failure of this body, the House, to adopt a revenue number is a complete failure on all of us," she said. “We’re all responsible for pushing our leadership to bring forth a bill and a resolution to do such as that.”

She followed up on remarks by Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego), who urged Democrats and Republicans to work together and agree on one of his proposed revenue estimates.

“This body has the requirement to actually set forth the amount that we anticipate will be our estimated receipts," Ives said. "This is part of the [Illinois] Constitution. It’s under the state’s finance section. You can read it yourself. We have failed to do this for two years and 11 days...”
Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) speaks during debate on the House Floor in opposition to Senate Bill 598, legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to serve as student trustees at Illinois' public universities. The bill was placed on the Calendar for Postponed Consideration after it failed to receive enough votes to pass.

State Rep. Jeanne Ives
May 15, 2017

TOP STORY: Illinois’ Business Climate is Hostile, and it’s Getting Personal

**Important for everyone to know!

“Charleston legislator targeted by vandalism; union connection suspectedEast Central Reporter: Rep. Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the capture of vandals who raided one of his senior-assisted living construction work sites and damaged valuable equipment. Authorities are still investigating the incident, which Phillips told the East Central Reporter took place in late April… read the full story here

Update from Springfield

The clock is ticking. We are 16 days until the deadline to pass a state budget on May 31. If we go beyond May 31 yet again without a state budget, the threshold to pass anything goes from a simple majority of 60 votes in the House up to a three-fifths majority of 71 votes. This higher standard would require bipartisan agreement on spending levels, priorities and reforms; consensus which currently does not exist, making it much more difficult to pass a budget after May 31.

This week, an Illinois State Board of Elections hearing judge recommended that the state’s top taxpayer watchdog, Auditor General Frank Mautino, should be fined for willfully violating an order that he provide more information on his former legislative campaign committee's spending. Questions were first raised in early 2016 about why Mautino's campaign fund had reported spending more than $247,000 on fuel and car repairs. Since then, Mautino has been the subject of separate federal and state investigations, during which time he has refused to testify or provide an explanation.
Rep. Ives speaking to the Illinois
Professional Firefighters Association
On Friday I had the privilege of speaking at the Illinois Professional Firefighters Association Spring Pension Seminar in Addison about the profound crisis impacting pension systems at the state and local level. While the focus was on our hardworking and dedicated firefighters, I thought I would share the slides with you that I used, because this issue affects us all as taxpayers.

Upon being asked to give this presentation, I reached out to the Illinois Policy Institute, as they have done important work on the issue of pensions. They put together the slideshow presented HERE.

Here are some quick facts:

ü  Aggregate funding ratios for Illinois’ downstate police and fire pension funds have collapsed over the past 15 years, and are now just 50% funded. (“Downstate” for pension purposes means everything outside of the City of Chicago, which has their own pension systems).

ü  Meanwhile, taxpayer contributions to police and fire pensions have risen 9.3% a year over the past decade, while employee contributions have grown 3.7%.

ü  Despite hundreds of millions of dollars in additional taxpayer contributions over the past decade, police and fire pension debts continue to rise uncontrollably.

ü  Taxpayer contributions have not been able to keep up because police and fire accrued liabilities have grown 700% since 1987, or 8% annually.

ü  Benefits promised to police and fire workers have grown far faster than assets, the economy, inflation, population and taxpayers’ ability to pay for them.

ü  Over 30% of downstate pension funds have less than half the money they need on hand today to pay out future benefits. There are over 25 pension funds that are less than 25% funded.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives
May 3, 2017

Daily Herald: Why Your Tax Bill May Go Up If Homeowner’s Exemption Changes

This Daily Herald article gets this political pandering bill exactly right. Political gimmick. We need real property tax reform, not carve outs for special groups of people. This bill would allow wealthy veterans with homes worth $750,000 to receive tax breaks shifting the levy onto poorer middle class families and businesses. None of these breaks are "means tested" - a progressive "Holy Grail." Glad I voted NO - the only one to do so in the House. Other Republicans spoke against the bill, but voted for it - afraid of political mail pieces. This is entirely what is wrong in Springfield. Meanwhile the sponsors will pander in the next election that they passed a property tax reform bill, but the sponsor admitted on the House floor that the bill does not freeze taxes or ensure they will be lower.
DuPage Policy Journal

Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) reiterated her call for Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino’s resignation in an interview after the State Board of Elections hearing on Mautino’s questionable campaign contribution spending recently.

Speaking to the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW), a government oversight group that has covered the unfolding scandal, Ives joined Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) in expressing her continued skepticism of Mautino’s ability to hold the state’s top auditing position.

“We’ve been the most vocal, Grant and I,” Ives said. “I called for his resignation over a year ago. We signed on to having him resign by mid-summer. We’ve definitely been trying to hold their feet to the fire.”

Those efforts have not gone unnoticed: Ives and Wehrli were the only two representatives among all 118 to have their campaign reporting brought to the table at the hearing...