State of The State: Time For Illinois To Capitalize on Economic Potential

State of The State: Time For Illinois To Capitalize on Economic Potential

  • Editor’s Note: The source of this post is a news release from the state’s website. It is not an endorsement of policies, political parties or agendas. Kane County Connects encourages citizens to be informed and to gather information from multiple sources, including state, local and national news media.

In his 2018 State of the State Address on Wednesday (Jan. 31) Gov. Bruce Rauner said Illinois is in a “state of readiness” to capitalize on tremendous, but as-yet-unrealized, economic potential.

He cited the state’s advances in ethics policies, education funding, criminal justice reform, spending restraint and technology deployment as the seeds for future growth.

The governor likened the opportunity for the coming legislative session to the one pursued last fall in a highly focused and collaborative effort to make the bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. HQ2 could create 168,000 new jobs in Illinois and produce $129 billion in new business growth.

“This time, the request for proposal comes from the State of Illinois,” the governor said. “Winning the prize will take a forget-about-the-politics-and-roll-up-our-sleeves kind of approach … and a laser-like focus on economic development and job creation.

“This legislative session is a chance to put in place the policies, the changes and the fiscal discipline to attract many more Amazons,” he said. “United, we can create thousands and thousands of jobs, attract billions of dollars in investment, and set millions of Illinoisans free to make more, buy more, build more.”

“It is time we do what the people of Illinois want. Halt the advance of taxes. Stop spending money we don’t have. Get our pensions under control. And give power back to the people,” Rauner said. “These are points on which we can all agree.”

The governor’s State of the State, delivered in the State Capitol, centered on “the places where we agree, and where we can start to build to the future.”

The place to start is a joint effort to restore public trust in state government. The governor signed an executive order today strengthening ethics policies in the executive branch so victims of sexual harassment have reliable outlets for reporting misconduct.

The order stipulates reviews of allegations in 10 days and makes the Illinois Ethics Act supreme. He also vowed the imminent introduction of legislation to make the Ethics Act the supreme law of the state in all matters involving misconduct.

“Every man and woman here today, and every man and woman in our state, is unified in the expectation that we will act on our complete intolerance of, and utter revulsion for, sexual harassment,” he said.

Term limits also were featured in the speech.

“Eighty percent of the state’s voters want term limits,” the governor asserted. “The other 20 percent, it seems, are seated in this chamber and in elected Illinois courts. It is past time to make this good governance move. Put term limits on the ballot and let the people decide!”

Rauner cited the public’s unprecedented level of frustration with the state’s political culture as a point of agreement. In the speech, he announced new initiatives to deal more aggressively with property tax assessment corruption.

“Our property tax system is a vicious form of oppression,” the governor said. “It traps people in their homes, vaporizes their equity, drives mortgages under water, and in some cases, pushes people out of our state. It is time to put a stop to the corruption.”

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, and Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, will introduce legislation that prohibits legislators from practicing before assessment appeal boards in Illinois. The governor also said that lawmakers should expect to see legislation on property tax relief and local referendums so people can choose to lower their taxes.

“These are reforms we must enact if we want common sense to win out over corruption,” Rauner said.

Looking ahead to his budget address next month, the governor pledged to deliver a balanced budget with spending controls.

“We will show the way to surpluses going forward so we can reduce taxes and start to push back against the assault on middle class bank accounts,” he said.

SOURCE: news release