From pension bills to Medicaid reform to the FY 14 budget, there have been a number of important legislative developments as the state legislature addresses short-term and long-term challenges facing Illinois. Tackling our state's mounting debt and living up to our financial obligations are my top priorities.
We must stabilize the public pension system to fulfill the promises made to current and retired state employees, while balancing our budget to help preserve vital services for children, seniors and our communities' most vulnerable. So far, there have been more proposals than agreement, but we are making progress. While there is still much disagreement on which proposals are palatable options, last week the House took a major step forward by adopting amendment 7 to HB 1154. This measure would cap pensionable salary at $113,700, excluding current retirees. The agreement on the issue could mean that a reasonable limit on pensionable salary could appear in a final pension reform proposal.
Although the House expects revenues to approach $35 billion, the fiscal challenges from last year are still present and increasing. Here are some of the major expenditures we anticipate in the FY 14 budget, beginning July 1, 2013:
I will keep you updated as the FY 14 budget negotiations continue. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance. If you have comments, questions, or concerns you can reach me at (773) 296-4141 or email@example.com. You can also follow my office on Facebook and Twitter.
- $6.1 billion in public pension payments, representing an increase of nearly $1 billion from last year.
- $1.7 billion in state employee health care insurance.
- $2.15 billion in debt interest.
- $7 billion in Medicaid expenses, up from $6.6 billion last year due to an anticipated increase in costs.
Very truly yours,
In addition to our ongoing work on the state's pension system reform, budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and Medicaid funding, I am co-sponsoring several key pieces of legislation in the House that may be of interest to members of our community.
Marriage Equality: I am proud, once again, to co-sponsor legislation to grant full marriage rights to same-sex couples (SB 10). This bill would not require religious institutions to recognize same-sex marriage. SB 10 passed the Senate and a key House committee, and may be considered by the full House in the coming weeks.
Medical Marijuana: Many of my colleagues and I have pushed for responsible and compassionate medical marijuana access for many years. If HB 1, which I am co-sponsoring, passes, Illinois would become the 20th state to offer medical marijuana as a treatment option for patients with serious illnesses.
Condominium Ombudsman Act: I am sponsoring HB 1293 to create the Office of the Condominium Ombudsperson. The ombudsman will be an easily accessible resource for stakeholders in condos, providing numerous services including free dispute resolution between associations and homeowners.
Sustainable Energy Investment: Illinois ought to be proactive in fostering the growing clean energy market and bring Illinois' economy into the 21st Century, where investments will pay long-term dividends for our economy and communities. I am sponsoring HB 2753, the Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act, to encourage offshore wind energy development on Lake Michigan and investigate our potential purchasing and selling power of the energy produced.
|Satellite Office Hours
Please note that the upcoming 43rd Ward satellite office hours will occur on the 19th of March (the third Tuesday), rather than the 12th. Subsequent 43rd Ward office hours will be on the second Tuesday of each month. We hope to see you there!
Triangle Neighbors, community meeting
19th District Police Station, 850 W Addison
Wednesday, March 13th, 7:00 pm
Triangle Neighbors covers the area bounded by Clark, Halsted, Belmont and Addison. One of the most important initiatives for Triangle is to build (and now maintain) a community garden/park at 815-817 W Roscoe.
Central Lake View Neighbors, community meeting
Advocate Illinois Masonic, 836 W Wellington
Thursday, March 14th, 7:00 pm
Central Lake View Neighbors is a community based and funded non profit volunteer organization. CLVN represents the residents within the boundaries of Belmont to the north, Halsted to the east, Racine to west and Diversey to the south. The organization was formed to provide residents a forum to discuss issues ranging from development proposals, zoning, liquor license, street fairs and other community matters. The Alderman recognizes this group and refers local issues to this organization for comment, review and approval.
Buena Park Neighbors, Annual Buena Bunnies
Nick's Uptown, 4015 North Sheridan
Sunday, March 17th, 3:00 to 5:00 pm
Every year Buena Park Neighbors gather at Nick's Uptown to decorate Easter baskets for the kids at St. Mary of the Lake. It's two hours of good fellowship with your neighbors as we design and make fun and creative Easter baskets. Typical items that are needed are: ribbons, baskets, cellophane, candy, paper grass, small toys and anything else you can think of.
Mid-North Association, community meeting
St. Paul's Church, 2235 North Orchard
Monday, March 18th, 6:30 pm
The Mid-North Association is bounded by Lincoln Park, Fullerton, Lincoln and the Ogden Right-of-Way. Meetings are held monthly on the third Monday of the month.
Hawthorne Neighbors, community meeting
Resurrection Lutheran Church's Education Building, 1050 West School
Tuesday, March 19th, 7:00 pm
Membership runs from November 1st to October 31st of each year and covers residents and businesses between Belmont to Addison and Clark to Racine. Individual residential in Hawthorne Neighbors are $5/year. Membership for residential couples and businesses are $10/year.
Weiss Memorial Hospital, S.H.I.P: Senior Health Insurance Program
Weiss Memorial Hospital, 4646 North Marine Drive
Mondays (request an appointment)
The Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) of the Illinois Department of Insurance provides free individual counseling services. SHIP volunteer counselors provide you with information you need to make educated decisions about your insurance. If you need help or have questions about your coverage, set up an appointment today.
To make your appointment call (773) 564-5666.
Central Lakeview Merchants, Free Bike Rentals in Central Lakeview
CLMA Office, 3355 North Clark
Monday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Stop by Central Lakeview Merchants' office (3355 N. Clark, Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm) and borrow a free rental bike...courtesy of Heritage Bicycles General Store!
For more information on Heritage Bicycles General Store, please visit www.heritagebicycles.com.