The study, published by CoreLogic, compares aggregated property tax extensions (the total amounts billed) with the value of the real property being taxed. According to CoreLogic, which the median property tax extension aggregate extension is 1.31% of the property being taxed, the median Illinois extension is 2.67% of value. This measurement scale makes Illinois the highest-property-tax state in the U.S., with New York second at 2.53% of value.

The CoreLogic data indicates that if an Illinois homeowner is occupying a house valued at $200,000, the homeowner will be paying a median annual property tax bill of $5,340. As always, individual homeowners’ experiences may vary. Different localities within Illinois will have different property tax rates; and within localities, different property owners may enjoy the effect of specific property tax relief measures. For example, senior citizen homeowners should be able to enjoy some relief from the Senior Citizens Homestead Property Tax Exemption, which automatically subtracts some of the value from the assessment number generated for an eligible senior citizen’s house before the tax bill is generated.

According to CoreLogic, neighboring states have lower property tax rates than Illinois. The California-based data aggregator generated median property tax burdens, calculated as a percentage of property value, of 1.95% in Wisconsin, 1.69% in Iowa, 1.26% in Missouri, and 0.88% in Indiana. CoreLogic’s data, published this week, agrees with previously public state-by--state surveys by firms such as WalletHub, which have also found Illinois to be one of the worst states in the nation in which to be taxed.
As Illinois' finances continue to deteriorate and the budget crisis remains unsolved, the Rauner administration recently announced an initiative to focus on identifying and recouping health care fraud in Illinois. On April 5, 2016, Governor Rauner signed an Executive Order creating the Health Care Fraud Elimination Task Force.

The Task Force is meant to bolster current efforts by developing and coordinating a more comprehensive, cross-disciplinary, data-driven approach to prevent and eliminate health care fraud, waste, and abuse in state-administered health care programs, like Medicaid. In a press release announcing the creation of the Task Force, the Rauner administration highlighted the more than $19 billion Illinois spent last year on state-administered health care programs and reiterated that the cost of such programs is inflated as a result of unchecked abuse. Read the full article by Dayna LaPlante & Matthew Murer at Polsinelli-JD Supra Business Advisor here.
Based on the continued lack of a balanced budget for FY16, Comptroller Leslie Munger has directed her staff to move the issuance of paychecks for elected State officials from a silo of bills that are paid immediately and on schedule, to a separate silo of bills that are paid after a delay. The move affects pay for all constitutional officers in statewide elective positions, including herself, and affects pay for the 177 members of the Illinois General Assembly – 118 House members and 59 senators.

The move, which was announced on Sunday, April 17, comes amid growing cash-crunch consequences upon normal recipients of State grants and procurements who are not protected by court orders, consent decrees, and continuing appropriations. Firms, offices, and entities that are getting money late or not getting money at all, include providers of many community social services, State universities, community colleges, and providers of many health care services.

The Munger order is seen as likely to lead to significant delays in the scheduled periods of time that state lawmakers must wait to be paid for their services to the State. The State has currently piled up a backlog of almost $7 billion in unpaid bills. State lawmakers are typically paid at the end of each month, and the first pay period that will be affected by this Munger order will be April 30.
Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 2059 today and issued the following statement:

“This legislation doesn't solve our budget crisis or help our economy grow, but it does represent a first step toward compromise between Democrats and Republicans. Now is the time to build on this bipartisan momentum and focus on enacting a truly balanced budget for Fiscal Years 2016-2017 alongside meaningful reforms that create jobs and free up resources for education, social services and infrastructure.”
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), who serves on the Transportation: Regulation, Roads & Bridges Committee, voted Friday to support a proposed Constitutional Amendment that seeks to protect a funding mechanism for Illinois’ roads, highways, and transportation systems. HJRCA 36 passed the House overwhelmingly and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

“I was happy to co-sponsor this important Constitutional Amendment that is meant to stop the misuse of taxpayer dollars intended for road repair and other transportation infrastructure projects,” Rep. Cavaletto commented. “I am proud to join the bipartisan effort to require those funds only be used for transportation-related purposes.”

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 36 seeks to amend the Illinois Constitution to say that tax dollars collected via the motor fuel tax, vehicle registration fees, and license taxes will be used exclusively for transportation-related purposes.

“When people pay taxes on fuel and vehicle registrations, and when businesses pay taxes and fees to obtain special licenses and license plates, we expect that those dollars will be returned to our communities to help maintain and repair our roads and highways,” Cavaletto added. “Unfortunately, in the past, these road funds have been swept and the money was used to fund other non-related projects.”

“I have spoken to county and township highway commissioners who are having a hard time maintaining roads to keep them safe for residents, school buses, and farmers to travel in many areas and they need to be assured of a reliable funding source,” concluded Cavaletto.
Comptroller thanks leaders, urges them to finish job and pass balanced budget
CHICAGO - Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Munger issued the following statement Friday following General Assembly passage of legislation to partially fund state universities and community colleges and avoid further cuts and potential closings. The legislation also includes funding for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for college students. Governor Rauner is expected to sign the legislation:
"It is heartening that the Governor and legislative leaders have come together to authorize funding for our universities, community colleges and student MAP grants. I have directed my staff to begin processing payments immediately, giving top priority to students and the institutions that are suffering the most.
"The $600 million in funding for this legislation comes from the state's Education Assistance Fund, which today has $354 million on hand. Those dollars will allow us to immediately pay student MAP grants and work closely with our universities and community colleges to ensure they have the resources they need to avoid further cuts and closings. We will continue disbursing funds as they become available, with final payments being made in July. Our students and schools have paid a heavy price for this budget impasse, and we will do everything possible to provide long-overdue relief.
"It is my deep hope that the spirit of cooperation we saw today will continue and lead to the comprehensive balanced budget that our state so badly needs."
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), announced this morning that a compromise deal to fund higher education was worked out after tough debates and negotiations in the Illinois House. This is a $600 million proposal that is fully funded from the Educational Assistance Fund that is immediately ready to tap.

“This funding is not everything students need or colleges are asking for, but common sense and reason prevailed to provide real dollars and provide a lifeline to higher education in Illinois,” said Rep. John Cavaletto. “Community colleges will receive $74,142,300 in this proposal. Institutions like Kaskaskia College and Lake Land College that serve my constituents in the 107th District will now have access to actual funding.”

As reported by ABC 7 Eyewitness News, Illinois Senate president, John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says he will not pursue a proposal to pay for road construction by taxing motorists by the miles they drive. He floated the idea last week because revenue from taxes on gasoline is declining. Cars are more fuel-efficient but they still wear out roads.

The idea was to allow motorists to choose to have a device monitor mileage or pay 1.5 cents per mile on a base 30,000 miles yearly. Cullerton posted on social media Friday that he intended the plan - which the Executive Committee aired on Wednesday - to spark debate about more efficient ways to fund road-building.

He says he "received a lot of constructive feedback" but will not pursue his plan.

Gas tax revenue has fallen in Illinois, so this would be a way to make money off everyone, including hybrid and electric car drivers. But some critics worry about how the government will monitor the miles you drive.

"I go to different clinics that I can work for," said Kim Mott.

Just in the last six months, Mott put 13,000 miles on her car for her medical billing job. The thought of paying by the miles frightens her.

"I will move to another state. Thank you, Illinois," Mott said.

State Senate leader John Cullerton is pushing for a 1.5 cent per mile tax to fund road repairs, saying with more people driving fuel-efficient vehicles and electric vehicles, gas tax revenue is on the decline.

"Because people are buying less gas if they buy a hybrid. That is the point. It seems like they are still trying to cash in," driver Jason Harper said.

Here's how the plan would work. Drivers could have a mileage monitoring device put in their cars or if they have privacy concerns, they can choose to pay a 1.5 cent-per-mile tax on a base of 30,000 miles traveled per year. That comes out to $450. Drivers would get a refund for the taxes paid at the pump.

"I don't think it is great idea. I drive 20 to 30 miles every day," driver Mike Maher said.

But Cullerton says those drivers who put a lot of miles on their car shouldn't worry.

"Nothing changes for them. So, they are paying more in gas now and gas tax now than people who drive shorter miles," Cullerton said.

There's also a proposal to raise the gas tax by $0.30 to $0.60 a gallon. That would make it the highest in the country.

**Illinois is at the heart of the country’s interstate highway system. This vast system consists of coast-to-coast interstates I-80 and I-90, along with I-70 that extends from the east coast to Utah. These major corridors are joined by multiple north – south corridors including I-39, I-55, and I-57 and additional east – west corridors such as I-24, I-64, and I-74. In all, there are 2,185 interstate miles that serve the state, making Illinois the third ranking state in the U.S. There are an additional 15,989 miles of state highways.
While schools and human services programs are struggling to keep the doors open and the state still does not have a completed budget for the current fiscal year, one program in the state has been discovered to have overpaid taxing districts an estimated $168 million.

At issue is a statement the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) sent out this week saying that, while implementing a new ledger system, it "uncovered a misallocation" of personal property tax replacement (PPRT) monies during the latter stages of the administration of former Gov. Pat Quinn.

PPRT is a sort of corporate income tax. It replaces funds that local governments lost when the new constitution enacted in 1970 lost those governments' ability to impose personal-property taxes on corporations and other business entities.

Read the article by Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business here.

Holly Early, GRH Social Worker, and Alyssa Eller, Director of Patient Experience meet with  Rep. Cavaletto.
Alyssa Eller, Director of Patient Experience, and Holly Earley, Social Worker of Greenville Regional Hospital met with state Representative John Cavaletto, urging him to work with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and the hospital community to support healthcare. They were among nearly 75 leaders of hospitals and health systems from across the state who were at the State Capitol in Springfield April 13 for Hospital Advocacy Day organized by the Illinois Health and Hospital Association.
During the meeting, it was pointed out that hospitals across the state have already sustained more than $1 billion in state Medicaid cuts and $2.9 billion in federal Medicare cuts since 2010.  At the same time, hospitals have been providing quality healthcare for their communities while working to transform the healthcare delivery system.

They also pointed out that Greenville Regional Hospital is a major job creator and economic engine in the community. Statewide, hospitals and health systems generate nearly 500,000 direct and indirect jobs and have an economic impact of nearly $89 billion a year.

The Effingham County Vision 2020 is a grass-roots, cooperative community effort to build a positive future and improve personal quality of life by creating a culture that maximizes individual potential, imagination, and cooperation. It is a dynamic process that is designed to change as new ideas and opportunities present themselves.

The Spring Celebration of Excellence Breakfast was held Thursday morning at Altamont Community High School (ACHS) with the theme "Building Dreams for the Future." The keynote speaker was ACHS Senior student Travis Whitt whose talk subject was "Youth of Today-Leaders of Tomorrow."

Thank you to Superintendent Jeff Fritchtnitch and Altamont Community High School Principal Jerry Tkachuk for all of your good work with your students who organized the event today.

Customers of Ameren Illinois Company, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation, will pay less for electric service delivery under a plan it will file with the Illinois Commerce Commission on or about April 15, 2016.

The company is expected to request an approximately $14 million decrease in delivery service rates for 2017. It will be the fourth such rate decrease in the years since the landmark Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) was passed in 2011, enabling Ameren Illinois to accelerate its efforts to modernize the grid and provide consumers more efficient, reliable energy delivery. In addition,

Ameren Illinois gas customers will be saving on the supply portion of their utility bill beginning in April. A nearly four-cent drop in the per-therm cost of natural gas is prednisone expected to save most customers $28 annually or $2.35 a month. Ameren Illinois' gas supply charges are at their lowest levels since February of 2002.
Notices of vehicle emission tests due soon on nearly a half a million Illinois vehicles are finally being mailed out, despite a state budget stalemate, state officials said Wednesday.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had stopped mailing the reminders in December because of the state budget crunch. It resumed doing so Wednesday after the testing contractor, Applus Technologies, agreed to eat the cost of the mailings, state EPA officials said.

The reminders started to go out Wednesday for vehicles due for emission tests in March, April and May, Illinois EPA spokeswoman Kim Biggs said. That covers as many as 498,000 vehicles, she said.
Because of the delays, the Secretary of State’s office has agreed not to require drivers seeking renewals of their license plate stickers to have emission testing until June 1. Normally, drivers cannot obtain a license plate sticker renewal unless their vehicle has passed emissions testing. Read more in the SunTimes.

Vehicle Registration Reminder: In order to receive a reminder, you must sign-up to receive electronic notices through the Secretary of State’s web site

Click here to sign up, you will need your Registration ID and PIN number found on your current registration card. If you do not have your current registration card, please call the Public Inquiry Division at 800-252-8980 to obtain your Registration ID and PIN number.
Even at 102 years of age, Centralia resident James "Jimmy" Adams shows no signs of letting up on his decades-long efforts to find a solution to the railroad traffic that comes into Centralia and blocks intersections that cause emergency vehicles to be delayed in a crisis. Joined with fellow Centralia resident Nathan Rothschild, Mr. Adams met with Rep. John Cavaletto to discuss the next step in this process which is finding the funding to have a study conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

A study by transportation experts and engineers would confirm that there is a congestion problem and what options are available to alleviate this congestion. Some have suggested constructing an overpass or underpass at key intersections in the city while others suggest the best long-term solution is to move the train tracks so they do not wind through residential areas.

James Adams describing the safety situation to Rep. Cavaletto.

 The meeting this week was a follow-up to the October 2015 on-site meeting at the rail line to observe actual trains moving through Centralia and observe the impact on the flow of traffic. In light of the state's current financial crisis, there have been no dollars available for the study by engineers. There now seems to be a possibility for obtaining funding through a federal grant program (FAST Act) designed to address "congestion mitigation." As soon as the rules are establish on that grant process, the goal is to apply for monies to pay for this crucial congestion study.

James Adams points out options on a map to state & federal transportation officials.