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Dear Constituents:

In reaching out to you in recent weeks, I have heard concerns from you about the County School Facility Occupation Tax supplemental sales-tax referendum. Some people are concerned that the debt authorization that would be created by the approval of this new tax could, in term, be used to break the PTELL property tax cap in Coles County.

These concerns are understandable. The PTELL property tax cap has been in place in Coles County since 2002. It has become an essential part of the battle that we continue to fight against out-of-control property tax extensions and property tax bills. Furthermore, because this is a very hard-fought battlefield, the sponsors of the original PTELL property tax cap law had to yield some ground to their adversaries when this law was first considered and passed into law. Some of the debt-service cash flows that were already in place in 1991 when this law was first being considered, and some strictly defined categories of future debt service cash flows, are specifically exempted by the PTELL tax cap.

The PTELL tax cap is a “hard cap” on the ability of a future property tax extension to cover most future debts issued by school districts. A new debt issuance will not break the cap unless there is specific language in the PTELL tax cap law exempting this cash flow and authorizing that this cap be broken for this category of debts. There is no such language that enumerates the County School Facility Occupation Tax, and its cash flows, in the current PTELL law.

The battle to defend PTELL, and to prevent future compound increases in property tax extensions, will continue. It will not end. It is possible that if Coles County voters adopt a supplemental school infrastructure sales tax, and if sales tax revenues then fall short, then there might be significant efforts to take another look at the existing language of this State law.

Based on the language of current State law, however, there is nothing in the commitments a school district or districts would make under a County School Facility Occupation Tax that would break or weaken Coles County’s PTELL tax caps.
Representative Phillips today joined a growing group of legislators calling for Illinois Auditor Frank Mautino to take a voluntary leave of absence while state and federal investigations continue into previous campaign expenses and reporting practices.

State Representative Reggie Phillips this week filed a bi-partisan plan to provide emergency state funding for four-year universities, including Eastern Illinois University, and community colleges. While the state’s budget stalemate continues, Representative Phillips (R-Charleston) stressed that Higher Education cannot wait any longer for state funding.

“This impasse has gone on for more than eight months…that’s two thirds of a year that Eastern and other colleges and universities have struggled without funding. They can’t go on any longer. We need to provide emergency funding, and we need to do it now,” Phillips said.

This week Representative Phillips along with State Representative Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) filed legislation providing $160 million in emergency funding for Universities like Eastern, and an additional $40 million for community colleges. Phillips’ House Bill 6409 would be funded by redirecting dollars currently earmarked to repay excess fund balances swept last year.
State Representative Reggie Phillips is taking his office on the road to meet with local residents in communities throughout the 110th district. On Wednesday, January 20th, the Village of Ashmore will host Representative Phillips’ traveling office hours at their village office located at 10 E. Ashmore Street.

“In a district as large and diverse as ours, traveling office hours helps me to keep in touch with constituents from each of the communities, and helps residents who may find it difficult or inconvenient to travel to my district office in Charleston,” Representative Phillips said. “I hope everyone in the Ashmore area who would like to speak with me or my staff about a problem or idea, or just wants to say hello, will stop by the Ashmore Village Office on January 20th.”
Office of the Governor
Bruce Rauner

Governor Rauner Adds 11 Counties to State Disaster Proclamation for Flooding

State Continues Supporting Communities Dealing with Flood         Impacts

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner today added 11 counties to the state disaster declaration for widespread flooding. Those counties include Cass, Cumberland, Iroquois, Lawrence, Marion, Menard, Moultrie, Pike, Richland, Sangamon and Vermilion. 

 Last week, Gov. Rauner declared Alexander, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Douglas, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Morgan, Randolph and St. Clair counties state disaster areas after heavy rains caused several rivers and waterways to surge to record or near-record levels.  Today’s announcement brings the total number of declared counties to 23.

“The impacts of this flood event have been felt in many communities across the state,” said Gov. Rauner. “We’re continuing to provide personnel and resources communities need as they battle flood waters and begin their recovery process.”
This week Governor Rauner received approval to declare counties in the 110th district  Agricultural Disaster Areas due to crop losses caused by the recent rain and flooding.

Farmers who believe they may be eligible for assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency office. Loan applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions you should contact the state FSA office at 217.241.6600. For more information, click here.
While the state of Illinois languishes through the summer without a budget in place, State Representative Reggie Phillips said it’s unconscionable that Democrats in the General Assembly are preparing to give themselves a pay raise. Representative Phillips (R-Charleston) today said that if he and fellow House Republicans can’t stop the legislative pay raise outright, he will donate his to a local charity.

“We’re in the middle of the worst budget crisis in state history. We have more than $5 billion in unpaid bills and we can’t make payments to daycare providers, those that work with the disabled and others. Attorney General Madigan is going to court to try to stop pay for state employees while we don’t have a budget in place... and Speaker Madigan and the Democrats think they deserve a raise?! That’s almost beyond belief,” Phillips said.

Under state law, the Compensation Review Board regularly recommends cost of living adjustment pay increases for members of the General Assembly and other state elected officials. Those pay raises go into effect automatically unless the General Assembly passes legislation to specifically reject them.

House Republicans have introduced House Bill 4225 which will do just that. For weeks House Republicans have attempted repeatedly to adopt the bill to reject the pay raises, but have been blocked each time by the Speaker and House Democrats who refuse to allow the issue to even be debated.