Gov. Rauner on the Illinois House Floor.
“I am encouraged by the governor’s speech and his continued determination to change the way we do business in this state to entice companies large and small to stay and return to Illinois.”



Springfield…Wednesday, Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) joined his colleagues in both the House and Senate to hear Governor Rauner’s third State of the State address during a joint session of the General Assembly.

For those who were not able to log in and watch or listen live on-line, here are some excerpts from the governor’s speech:

“When it comes to the budget, we all can agree Illinois HAS to do something different. Our Administration has offered many proposals to achieve a truly balanced budget with changes that fundamentally fixes our broken system. We must remember that to keep budgets balanced in the future, our rate of economic growth must be higher than our rate of government spending growth. It’s just simple math.”

“We need changes to the worker’s compensation system to prevent misuse and abuse, and attract employers and good jobs. Property tax relief to reduce the immense burden felt by our families and businesses – and to give them reason to stay here. Term limits and redistricting, where voters pick their representatives and not the other way around, in order to restore the confidence of job creators and working families in our state.”

“As a small businessman in the agricultural sector of our economy, I understand what it takes to create jobs and meet a payroll,” commented Rep. Halbrook. “I am encouraged by the governor’s speech and his continued determination to change the way we do business in this state to entice companies large and small to stay and return to Illinois.”

The governor talked about our need to build a future where our economy booms and job creation soars. Where people around the country say to themselves, you know what – we want to live in Illinois – that’s where we want to build a business, that’s where we want to start a family, that’s where we can achieve the American dream.
Dear Employees:

By now you've heard the shocking news that Attorney General Lisa Madigan went into court late yesterday to petition a judge to halt state employee pay.

It's disappointing to see any move to stop employee pay and disrupt government services, especially now as the Senate is on the verge of a bipartisan agreement to enact a balanced budget with changes to create jobs and lower property taxes. The Attorney General's court filing seeks to directly harm thousands of employee families and even more who rely on your hard work every day.

Our Administration will use all available legal options to continue employee pay and avoid any disruption to government services. I am hopeful Comptroller Mendoza will stand with state employees - just as Comptroller Munger did previously - and support our legal arguments to continue employee pay.

No matter what, we will work tirelessly on your behalf to stop this attempt to undermine good-faith bipartisan negotiations in the Senate - ensuring employee pay continues, government services remain intact and the General Assembly enacts a bipartisan balanced budget with changes to our broken system.

Sincerely,

Governor Bruce Rauner

Today at 12:00 noon, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his third 'State of the State' address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. You may watch or listen live from your home or office by clicking here.
Arthur Grade School is one of the many schools in 102nd District
that could be impacted by a new school aid formula.
(Exerpts from the Phil Kadner Opinion piece in the Chicago Sun-Times)

Progress apparently is being made on one of the long-term issues facing the state: The School Aid Funding Formula.

The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission, created by the governor in July, is less than two weeks away from Rauner’s deadline for issuing a report.

The 25-member commission includes elected officials from both parties appointed by the four Senate and House leaders and others selected by the governor. Its deadline to finish up its work is Feb. 1.

What everyone in Illinois should realize by now, and the governor has emphasized, is that Illinois relies more heavily on property taxes to finance public education than any other state in the nation. The disparities in education between rich and poor school districts in Illinois also are among the greatest in the nation. Elected officials representing both political parties have promised for decades to change the school funding system.

But just as the state’s pension funding crisis was created over decades, governors and lawmakers for more than 30 years allowed the local property tax burden to mount while ignoring their constitutional responsibility to provide funding for the schools.

Expect to hear the words “evidence-based funding” repeatedly as the commission’s work nears completion. This is a school financing theory developed by two professors that says a formula can be created that establishes an adequate level of funding for every student, while demanding results in exchange for money spent.

It’s the popular theory. It sounds good because it would mean well-financed schools that provide a quality education. I’m a skeptic.

After one special panel was tasked with solving the school funding problem, it resulted in the state creating the Education Funding Advisory Board, which sets minimum mandatory foundation levels of per pupil funding for students. That has nothing to do with adequate funding, just the bare minimum the state should provide given financial constraints.

The state has failed to meet that minimum foundation level since 2003.

(Read the full article by Phil Kadner of the Sun-Times by clicking here.)
The fourth Saturday in January is designated as Eagle Day in Illinois
Every winter, Illinois presents visitors with the opportunity to see more than 3,100 bald eagles in their natural habitat - more wintering American bald eagles, in fact, than in any other state outside Alaska. The first eagles of the season are spotted in Illinois in December and remain in residence until they migrate back north in March, with January and February the optimal time for visitors to see eagles.

To accommodate visitors who want to take advantage of the opportunity to experience the bald eagles' majesty and glory, towns and parks across much of the state will host specially planned eagle observation programs and exhibits throughout the prime-viewing season. For anyone interested in American history, bird-watching and the environment, bald eagle season in Illinois is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is pleased to highlight a number of eagle-watching locations and events planned for this winter:

Lake Shelbyville Eagle Day
February 11 (9:30-2:00)
  • Lake Shelbyville Visitor Center (off of Route 16 East of Main Dam) 9:30 - 2:00
  • Bald Eagle Program for Kids 10:00 - 10:30 (seating is limited)
  • Eagle Talk & Gawk (Q&A/pictures) 11:00 - 12:00
  • Birds of Prey Program 12:30 - 1:30 (seating is limited)
  • Tickets are first come, first served and can be reserved by phone or in person at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Shelbyville Project Office Monday - Friday from 8:00 - 4:30. Remaining tickets will be available the day of the event.
  • Free Admission
  • For more information call (217) 774-3951or http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/643699/lake-shelbyville-eagle-day/
Wednesday, Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) was sworn in as the State Representative for the 102nd House District. Rep. Halbrook served previously in the 110th House District when he was appointed to fill out the term of a retiring House member in 2012.

“I am excited to rejoin the legislature and continue my fight for the people of this area,” said Rep. Halbrook. “The Governor’s goals to turn around the Illinois economy by lowering property taxes and reforming the workers’ compensation system to include causation are goals I share. I look forward to serving the families of our area.”

Residents are encouraged to contact Rep. Halbrook if you have questions or concerns about state policies and programs by signing up for legislative updates. The 102nd District includes all or portions of Champaign, Douglas, Edgar, Macon, Moultrie, Shelby and Vermilion Counties.