Democrats Introduce $36 Billion FY16 Budget 

Springfield… State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) has issued the following statement in response to the House and Senate Democrats proposed FY16 budget.

"It is outrageous that Springfield legislative leadership put forth a budget today that spends $4 billion more than the estimated revenue for next year. They fully admitted that Illinois doesn't have the money to meet funding obligations; however, rather than working together to form a bi-partisan budget, they continued with a tax and spend approach. This is the same failed leadership and budgeting scheme that has been running this state into the ground for years. It's time that the democrats come to the table to work on a solution. Speaker Madigan announced yesterday, that he wouldn't support any of Governor Rauner's Turnaround proposal. None of it. That is not a way to work together."

“It’s time to let the voters decide” 

Springfield… Illinois House Republican freshmen legislators came together in the Capitol today to express their disgust with the majority party’s lack of bipartisan efforts and childish tactics. The message delivered was there is no better time than now to call for term limits in Springfield.

An initiative to put a binding term limits referendum on the 2014 General Election ballot was denied by a three-judge Illinois Appellate Court last August, leaving legislative action as the best alternative. House Republicans point to the onset of gridlock so early into the new Governor’s first term along with the increasingly draconian House rules as evidence that term limits need immediate consideration.

“I commend my freshman colleagues for taking a stand in response to the partisan political atmosphere that has engulfed Springfield,” said Rep. Sosnowski.  “The citizens of Illinois deserve the right to decide if they would like their General Assembly members to be subject to term limits. I have a bill filed and waiting to address term limits, House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA) 10.”

HJRCA 10, if approved by voters, would prohibit a person from holding the office of State Senator or State Representative or a combination of those offices for more than 20 years. In addition, executive branch officers would be prohibited from serving more than 2 consecutive terms in the same executive branch for the 2018 election and thereafter.

“The time for legislative term limits is here,” said Rep. Sosnowski. “Again, I fully support my caucus’ call for putting a Constitutional Amendment for term limits on the ballot, and believe whole-heartedly that our citizens will support the measure. The House Rules Committee should release my bill and let the voters decide.”

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources if offering a grant to Illinois school teachers who would like to give their students an opportunity to learn more about Illinois' conservation and environment by taking a field trip.

Teachers in Illinois schools, including home-schooling teachers, may apply to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) through the ENTICE (Environment and Natural Training Institute for Conservation Education) program to receive funding for natural resources related field trips.

Applications must be postmarked by January 31, 2016.

Click HERE for the application
chamber members, elected officials and meijer cut ribbon.
Meijer's Store constructed two new facilities in the Rockford area. Today, the Rockford location cut ribbon in celebration and anticipation of the grand opening on Thursday. Meijer showed their dedication in investing in the community by making a donation to Eisenhower Middle School. This is the first time Meijer Stores have opened up two new stores consecutively in the same area.

Ever wonder how much money the State of Illinois is actually spending or what the balance is? If so, you're are going to want to visit our State Comptroller's website. Leslie Munger, the current Comptroller, allows Illinois citizens, taxpayers, and anyone who visits the website to access its ledger function. 

"The Ledger is your portal to Illinois government. State financial records, as well as official reports and analyses can all be found here.

We believe that government should be an open book that provides a full accounting for public dollars. To that end, The Ledger was designed to bring more transparency and accountability in an efficient manner to you, the taxpayer.

Using the tabs on the left, you can track the daily activity of the state's accounts, perform searches on specific revenues, expenditures, and entities, or even track a state employee's salary.

We are confident that opening our Ledger will enhance the public's ability to "follow the money." Please do not hesitate to contact us with any additional questions or requests for information. We are standing by for your call, and look forward to providing whatever assistance you may need."

"A Right to Work bill was brought by Democratic leadership as a cynical attempt to assert power and bypass bipartisanship. Illinois needs jobs, not grandstanding." - State Representative Joe Sosnowski

State Rep. Joe Sosnowski offers Solution

Springfield… The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to throw out a 2013 law that sought to fix Illinois’ pension crisis is hardly a surprise. State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), who has offered his own legislation to fix the system, voted against the bill in 2013.

“Today’s ruling is just evidence everyone needs to get on the same page,” said Rep. Sosnowski. “I could not in good conscience vote for pension changes that I believed were unconstitutional and didn't do enough.”

The court ruled that Senate Bill 1, which passed the House 62-53-1 and signed into law by former Governor Pat Quinn, violates the Illinois Constitution. The Governor and General Assembly have a constitutional responsibility to adequately fund the State’s pension systems and guarantee the pension benefits of current state employees. Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution states that “membership in any pension or retirement system of the State… shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired." 

“I have legislation filed right now to remove the constitutional protection clause.  This needs to be the first step in order to change the system,” stated Sosnowski. “Our growing financial obligations to state employee pension systems continue to grow every day we fail to act. We are one of few states with a constitutional protection.  We are an exception to the rule.”

Rep. Sosnowski’s legislation, House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 9, would place a constitutional amendment on the next general election ballot allowing voters to repeal the pension protection clause in the Illinois constitution. The bill currently sits in the House Rules Committee where it waits to be assigned to a committee. 
Springfield… Today Illinois House Democrats forced a partisan vote on a spending bill aimed at undermining the budget process and thwarting the ability of minority legislators to participate. Democrats introduced a multi-billion dollar spending bill, HB 4141, mere hours before the vote, denying Republicans an opportunity to fully read or offer input on the bill before it was rammed through. Republicans voted Present to highlight this irregular and purely partisan disruption of the budgeting process.

In response, State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) released the following statement…

“Today’s actions send a clear message that Democrats are not serious about fixing our state’s financial situation,” said Rep. Sosnowski. “This move to force a vote upon legislators’ just hours before the bill was released is disingenuous and disrespectful to the taxpayers of Illinois. I am disappointed that they would bypass the committee process and disregard all of the hours we have spent in budget working groups trying to negotiate a bi-partisan solution.  Enough with the games, It’s time for transparency and bi-partisanship.”