12th District E-Newsletter Veto Session & Community Info
Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dear Neighbor:

As you may know, the legislature will convene for fall veto session next week. We will be discussing a variety of issues and reconsidering legislation vetoed by the governor. Strengthening campaign contribution limits and ethics reform will be top priorities as well as dealing with some looming budget time bombs, including the Monetary Award Program (MAP - which provides needs-based tuition assistance), Medicaid funding and state employee health insurance.

I look forward to working with my colleagues during veto session on these issues. However, without structural reform our deficit problems will continue. We need a solution that gets to the source of our problem rather than trying to put out fires when they arise.

To that end, there are a couple critical things that need to be done - the top priority being true ethics and campaign finance reform. We need to make a serious commitment to technology and sunshine to make readily available to the public information about government activity, spending, contracts etc. as well as further limit campaign contributions.

We must also seriously address our structural deficit, either by increasing revenue or making budget cuts. Earlier in the year the legislature voted against increasing revenue. Although I disagreed with that decision, what I disagree with even more was the game of "kick the can" that ensued - rather than setting funding priorities and making tough cuts, the budget the House passed put the weight of budget decision-making on the Governor. This is a new chapter in Illinois budget-making - and a frightening one at that. It is akin to us not doing our jobs and is arguably unconstitutional. To read my past e-letter regarding my budget vote (I voted against it) please click here.

I believe that we need to decrease our reliance on property tax and modestly increase a progressive income tax (currently, Illinois has the lowest income tax of any state with an income tax). One possible solution (HB174) was passed out of the Senate last spring, but it failed to garner enough support in the House as Democrats and Republicans pointed fingers at each other and punted on the issue until some unknown time down the road after elections.

Although many people disagree on a perfect solution, we can all agree that our current situation must change. We need ideas and discourse and a true commitment to tackle problems and put Illinois in the best possible position to emerge strongly from the economic downturn.

As such, I am co-chairing the human services committee with an organization called the Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC). The coalition has a fundamental approach to the budget issues we are dealing with and ultimately is advocating for House Bill 174.

Thank you for taking the time to read this important information about the upcoming veto session and the ongoing budget crisis in Illinois. I look forward to your comments and will hopefully see you at Springfield on Your Corner on Saturday, October 24. See below for more details.

Until then, please know that my office is available to assist you on any state matter.

Very Truly Yours,

Sara Feigenholtz
State Representative
12th District

  • New Website Content & Features
  • MAP Grant Funding
  • New CHA Senior Residential Building
  • Flu Clinic Locator
  • Free Computer Classes
  • Legislation
  • Senior Help Line
  • Events
  • Lakeview Pantry
  • How to Walk to School

  • MAP Grant Funding

    MAP grants are state-funded higher education grants (for tuition only) for low income students. Unfortunately, the budget passed by the General Assembly this summer left MAP awards funded at only 50% ($200 million instead of the full $400 million) of previous and expected levels.

    This underfunding, combined with a 22% increase in demand, means that, for this year's second semester, 138,000 students will see their grants cut in half while an additional 130,000 students will not receive MAP money at all. Too many students depend on MAP grants to fund their educations and stay in school - the consequences of losing this money will be severe.

    When the General Assembly meets for the October veto session, MAP funding will be one of the items on the agenda and there are several potential solutions out there. House Bill 4622 would create a tax amnesty period to collect unpaid taxes from individuals and businesses; it is estimated that this would raise $104 million, slightly over half of what is needed to fully fund MAP. Governor Quinn is proposing a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes to fund the shortage, while others maintain that the Governor was given discretionary spending power to fund programs he deemed necessary.

    I am committed to working with my colleagues in Springfield to find a revenue source to save these important grants and look forward to discussing these and other funding options with my colleagues during veto session.

    New CHA Senior Residential Building

    The Chicago Housing Authority has announced the opening of a new senior residential building, Britton Budd, located at 501 W. Surf near the intersection of Diversey and Broadway. The 11-story building has over 170 units, 10% of which will be accessible for those with disabilities. The rooms, a mix of studios and one-bedrooms, will feature controllable air conditioning and heat.

    To qualify for housing in Britton Budd, seniors must be 62 years or older (residents may be wait listed beginning at age 60). Annual income requirements are less than $26,400 for single seniors and less than $30,150 for two-income senior households.

    For additional information and questions, contact the CHA Occupancy Department at (312) 913-7266. Applications can be found at Alderman Tom Tunney's office (1057 W. Belmont). You may also contact our office at (773) 296-4141 and request that we mail you an application.

    To see Britton Budd units, you may attend one of two upcoming open houses. For more information, contact Realty & Mortgage Co. at (773) 388-8101. Open houses will be held on Saturday, October 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, October 6, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Flu Clinic Locator

    Influenza (flu) Season is upon us and the American Lung Association has a great tool you can use to locate a flu clinic near you. Visit http://www.flucliniclocator.org and enter your zip code to get started. You will get the date, times, address, and phone number of the Clinics offering flu shots near you, as well as a map showing where the Clinic is located. For the complete CDC guidelines on when and who should get a flu shot go to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/#recs

    Free Computer Classes

    There are only 4 Weeks Left for Illinoisans to Get Free Computer Classes

    Illinoisans interested in improving their computer skills can take free computer classes and exams thanks to the Microsoft Elevate America program. With these newly developed skills, individuals will be able to access greater job opportunities and better compete in the workplace, according to the state's top commerce official.


    Senate Bill 178 - Waste Management - effective immediately - SB178 requires the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to develop a system for managing household wastes such as pharmaceutical products, personal care products, batteries, paints, automotive fluids, compact fluorescent light bulbs, mercury thermometers, mercury thermostats, and other wastes from general household waste stream.

    House Bill 35 - Illinois Accountability Portal - effective January 1, 2010 - HB35 creates the Illinois Accountability Portal, a website that includes:

    1. Pay rate and year-to-date pay information for state employees and consultants
    2. All current state expenditures by agency, category, customer, or representative district
    3. A database of current state tax credits, searchable by tax credit category, customer, or representative district;
    4. A database of all revocations and suspensions of 1) state occupation and use tax certificates of registration and 2) state professional licenses
    5. A database of all current state contracts, searchable by contractor name, awarding officer or agency, contract value, or goods or services provided.
    House Bills 71 & 72 - Driving Safety - effective January 1, 2010 - HB 71 and HB72 were pieces of legislation recommended by the Distracted Drivers Task Force which was created during the 95th General Assembly to study the problem of distracted driving in Illinois. HB 71 makes it illegal in Illinois to drive wile text messaging, while HB 72 prohibits the use of cell phones in both construction and school zones. It is important to note that Chicago ordinance goes above and beyond this and does not permit the use of cell phones while driving, period.

    Senate Bill 99 - Food Waste Composting - effective January 1, 2010 - SB99 makes technical changes to the Environmental Protection Act that will, in effect, allow for large-scale composting in Illinois. With SB99 in place, businesses will be allowed to have 3rd parties remove food waste where it can be used in composting operations rather than contribute to our waste stream.

    Senior Help Line

    For information about program and services to assist older adults and their caregivers in Illinois, call the Department on Aging Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or TTY (hearing impaired) call 1-888-206-1327. Senior HelpLine staff can help you locate services in your community, evaluate your needs and answer questions, link you to local case management services, and Provide information and assistance. Some of the program's HelpLine staff can assist clients with include the state's pharmaceutical assistance program and Illinois Cares Rx.


    Clark Belmont Music Festival

    Saturday, October 10, 12:00pm - 11:00pm Belmont Avenue (Between Clark and Sheffield)

    Chicago's outdoor summer festival season will get a mid-autumn encore at the "Clark/Belmont Music Fest," presented by The Next American Star, Saturday, October 10, on the bustling strip of Belmont between Clark Street and Sheffield. Event proceeds will benefit the renovation of Weisman Park, located at few block away at 900 W. Oakdale (at Mildred)

    Springfield on Your Corner with Representative Feigenholtz

    Saturday, October 24, 11:30am - 1:30pm Potash Brothers Market, Sandburg Village, 1525 N. Clark St.

    Meet Sara and have an opportunity to talk with her about the upcoming veto session, legislative ideas for next year, and community issues and/or concerns. Staff will be able to assist individuals with state services you may be interested in receiving or are having difficulty with.

    Northalsted Halloween Costume Parade

    Saturday, October 31, 2009
    Registration Begins at 4:00 p.m.
    Parade Step-off Begins at 6:00 p.m.
    Children's Costume Registration: Space Park, 815 W. Roscoe
    Adult Costume Registration: SPIN Nightclub, 800 W. Belmont
    For More Information call 312.391.3355 or visit http://www.lakeviewcitizens.org/halloween.asp.

    Lakeview Pantry

    Lakeview Pantry has been feeding people in need for nearly 40 years and right now is a critical time to consider helping their efforts. Donations to and funding of their programs has been on the decline as our economy continues to struggle. Please read below for "10 Ways to Help". Also, be sure to check out their website for upcoming events and more info on their services. In addition to their donation drop-off location (Lakeview Pantry East, 3831 N. Broadway), you may drop off donations to Sara's District Office (1051 W. Belmont) anytime Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., just be sure to contact us at (773) 296-4141 before you drop by to make sure we haven't stepped out of the office.

    1. Make a Gift - Send us a donation by mail, or online via our secure server. Checks and money orders can be sent to Lakeview Pantry, 3831 N. Broadway, Chicago IL, 60613. To make a gift online, click here. We accept VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Our online giving information is protected by Thawte Security.

    2. Matching Gifts - A growing number of employers provide matching gift programs that can double or triple the impact of your donation to Lakeview Pantry. Simply ask your supervisor or human resources representative for a matching gift form.

    3. Donate Stock - A gift of stock will lessen your tax liability while helping us provide crucial services to our neighbors in need. Donors avoid capital gains tax and receive, in the form of a tax deduction, the full market value of the stock at the time the gift is made. For more information, click here.

    4. Planned Giving - You can make a gift of cash, securities, real estate, or other assets by providing in your will for a bequest to Lakeview Pantry. Or ask your financial advisor about charitable gift annuities, charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, gifts of real estate, and gifts of retirement plan assets. Have your attorney contact Brooke Wiles, Director of Development, at 773-525-5613.

    5. Become a Pantry Partner - Your monthly pledge of $10 or more will automatically be deducted from your checking account or credit card. This saves you time while ensuring that Lakeview Pantry has resources year-round to help our neighbors in need. To learn more, contact Brooke Wiles at 773-525-5613 or brooke@lakeviewpantry.org.

    6. Donate Food, Clothing, Toys, Household Items, or Office Supplies - You can drop off your donations Monday - Friday, from 9am to 5pm at 3831 North Broadway. For more information on in-kind gifts, click here.

    7. Make a Tribute Gift - Your gift will honor someone special in your life while supporting Lakeview Pantry. Recipients of your tribute gift will receive a card notifying them of the gift, and will recieve recognition in our annual donor list. For more information, contact Brooke Wiles at 773-525-5613 or brooke@lakeviewpantry.org.

    8. Stay Informed, and Spread the News - Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter by clicking here. It's a great way to learn about anti-hunger initiatives, volunteer opportunities, and upcoming events. Then share the information with your church, community organization, or volunteer group.

    9. Participate in our Annual Fall Raffle and Spring Fundraising Events - Raffle tickets are sold every August and September - every ticket you purchase benefits Lakeview Pantry, and could win you a Grand Prize of $5,000! Our fun annual spring events have quickly become the talk of the neighborhood. Check our website often or subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter to get more information as it becomes available.

    10. Shop at Igive.com - By shopping at the 650+ stores partnering through Igive, a percentage of your purchase will go toward helping us continue to serve those in need.

      After logging on to Igive, you will be directed to the website of your favorite store - be it Land's End, Barnes and Noble, or Overstock.com - so you choose from the same great selection at the same prices. To learn more, click on the box below or go to www.igive.com and select Lakeview Pantry as your favorite charity.

    How to Walk to School

    Nettelhorst Elementary School has a fascinating history. With the help of a dedicated group of parents, Nettelhorst went from a struggling school to one of the nation's most vibrant and inspiring educational success stories that now serves as a model of public education in America. Two of the people most responsible for Nettelhorst's remarkable turnaround, Jacqueline Edelberg and Susan Kurland, have recently published How to Walk to School: Blueprint for a Neighborhood School Renaissance. This is an extremely exciting and proud time for our community and for the hope of a better education future.

    Congratulations to Jacqueline and Susan and the countless others in our community that worked so hard on Nettelhorst's turnaround and continued success!

    New Website Content & Features

    My website has been updated and now includes some new resources. I've added many new sections including: E-Letter Archive; Job Seekers; Community Alerts & Info; Community Safety; Photos; Local Links; and Events. I will be adding more contentin the coming weeks so keep checking back. And don't hesitate to contact my Belmont office if you have content or recommendations for the website.

    phone: (773) 296-4141
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