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State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) led a subject matter hearing today to fight for property tax rights for veterans. The hearing was held in front of the Property Tax Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, where Rep. Winger explained the need for her legislation, HB3195. This legislation would give any veteran who returned from an armed conflict prior to 2007 a homestead tax exemption for the 2017 and 2018 tax year.

While recent veterans are given a onetime property tax exemption, Winger’s bill would extend this exemption to include veterans who returned from active duty prior to 2007.

“This property tax exemption is a small effort we can make to help benefit our veterans who have already given so much for our country,” said Winger. “It is important to equalize this exemption so that all veterans—no matter the war or generation in which they fought can benefit.”

The tax exemption in the current law provides a $5,000 reduction in the EAV of a veteran’s principal residence upon returning from active duty in an armed conflict beginning in the year 2007. The exemption is for two consecutive years, the year the veteran returns from active duty and the following year.
State Representative Christine Winger filed a series of bills concerning the noise from O’Hare Airport and the effects the noise has on the surrounding areas. Today, Rep. Winger moved two bills from this O’Hare Airport Noise initiative forward. Both bills are part of the package of legislation introduced in the 100th General Assembly to bring relief to area residents in the surrounding area from the airport noise, and find more answers to the longer term effects of the airport on the surrounding area.

Today, both pieces of legislation, House Bill 3240 and House Bill 3248 were presented by Rep. Winger to the Transportation Committee in the House, where both passed with no opposition.

House Bill 3240 is an extension of a previous bill passed during the 99th General Assembly, and enforces the measures created in that legislation. The bill mandates the city of Chicago’s Department of Aviation to change and modernize the way it conducts noise monitoring around O’Hare Airport. Winger’s legislation adds a deadline of June 30, 2018 for implementation of an upgraded noise monitoring system. The previous network of noise-monitoring machines will be replaced with new smart meter technology so that airport noise can be measured in real time. The data collected by these noise-monitoring machines will be run through an algorithm that can weigh airport noise by sound pressure and time of day. This number will be calculated to gauge the overall impact the airport noise has on the surrounding communities. HB3240 will move the process along, and urge the city to comply with state law.

The constant expansion of O’Hare Airport and the changing of the airport’s runway layout has not only created noise but also had other adverse effects on the surrounding communities and residents. Representative Winger’s second bill, House Bill 3248, will conduct a study to measure these environmental effects. The bill directs the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), to study the noise around the airport and determine the environmental side-effects. Not only does this legislation require an environmental study, but it calls for a report to be presented to the General Assembly no later than October 31, 2019.

In this legislation, the specific environmental concerns that will be assessed include air pollution, gas and fluid emission by aircrafts, and the quality of life, health and property values of the residents living nearby.

HB3240 and HB3248 will move forward to the House for further consideration.
In an effort to make state government and the legislative process more accessible to Illinois residents regardless of their national origin or spoken language, below are the links to translate the Illinois General Assembly website, www.ilga.gov, into any one of dozens of different languages.

The Illinois General Assembly website contains legislator profiles, full text of all legislation introduced in the House of Representatives and State Senate, live audio and video feeds of legislative session and committee hearings; and a wide variety of other legislative information and support services.

Please click any of the links below to translate the Illinois General Assembly website into your preferred language:

Spanish Español

Arabic عربي

Hindi हिन्दी

Chinese (Simplified) 中文简体

Chinese (Traditional) 中文繁體

Japanese 日本語

Korean 한국어

Russian Русский

French Français

German Deutsch

Italian Italiano

Polish Polski

Greek Ελληνικά

You can translate the Illinois General Assembly website into as many as 57 different languages using any of the above links.
Governor Rauner – Medicaid Proposal
Gov. Bruce Rauner makes major Medicaid proposal. The proposal to increase the percentage of Medicaid medical cases that move through “managed care” was unveiled on Monday, February 27. The state’s chief executive called for expanding existing Medicaid managed care programs to cover 80% of Illinois’ three million Medicaid patients. This would mark a major increase in managed care from the current percentage of nearly 67%. In Medicaid managed care, private insurance firms serve as “gatekeepers” for treatments, performing a role similar to insurance firms that manage groups of families that receive employment-based health care.
Chicago – Thompson Center
The Chicago Sun-Times editorializes in favor of State disposal of James R. Thompson Center. The editorial asserts that the troubled 1.2-million-square-foot structure reflects the values of a bygone period of public-sector arrogance and has reached the end of its useful life. Studies indicate that the building has been under-maintained for many years. Building experts say that the State would have to pay $326 million merely to renovate the building back to working conditions. In addition, the State currently has to pay $25 per square foot in Thompson Center heating, cooling, cleaning, and upkeep bills.
In his Budget Address to the 100th General Assembly, Governor Bruce Rauner was optimistic that a bipartisan compromise can be met, and one that will benefit both tax payers and job creators.

The Governor stressed the importance of job creation as an essential part of economic growth, and the key to returning Illinois to a state of prosperity. While noting the difficulties of the last two years in which the state has gone without a budget in place, Governor Rauner encouraged lawmakers to work together to make progress.

The Senate was recognized for their efforts in bipartisan compromise in producing their ‘Grand Bargain.’ Today, Governor Rauner disclosed parameters of his own that he sees essential to a balanced budget agreement. Some of these ideas included a permanent property tax freeze, economic reforms, pension reform, term limits, job creation, workers compensation reform, and a refusal to tax retirement income.
Gambling – Scratch-Off Lottery Tickets
Rep. Christine Winger introduces resolution calling for investigation and audit. Recent investigative reports have revealed that many “scratch-off” tickets for Illinois State Lottery games are pulled from public retail store counters and shredded before the prizes printed on the tickets have been awarded. In response to these reports, Rep. Christine Winger has sponsored HJR 26, which asks the Office of the Illinois Auditor General to audit the ticket-sale cycle and report to the General Assembly, no later than January 31, 2018, on whether buyers of Illinois game tickets are getting the prizes promised.