Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed Executive Order 16-01, which created the Illinois Department on Innovation and Technology (DoIT). In an effort to modernize our state’s technology systems, this new state agency will work to transform the state’s information technology functions into one agency to provide better more efficient service to Illinois residents and businesses. In order to do so, DoIT will create a strategic, statewide technology plan to modernize our state’s current system and accelerate the process.

Rep. Winger supports this move by the Governor, one that twenty-nine other states, the City of Chicago and much of the private sector have also done in order to consolidate technology functions into central departments. “This is a much needed step in order to help make our state competitive again, bring businesses to Illinois, and provide better more efficient service to our residents. Having IT functions and decisions consolidated under this one agency will make for faster service while also saving taxpayer dollars, and this is great progress for the future of technology in our state.”
Today Representative Christine Winger hosted the first meeting for her senior advisory council.  The meeting gathered interested constituents from around the district to discuss important topics of concern affecting seniors in the community and across Illinois. The meeting served as an introductory session where the Representative described the purpose of the council and the goals in creating it.

The first meeting was a success, and Rep. Winger was able to receive great input from constituents who are eager to contribute and offer insight into how Illinois can improve.

“Our first meeting had a great turn out, and I look forward to getting to know the council in our many meetings to come.  This was a great starting point, to gauge everyone’s interests and hear more about their concerns and what I can do at the state level to better serve them.  I am interested to have continued feedback from this group to be able to best represent their voices in Springfield.” 

FY16 Budget
University of Illinois: declining State credit levying a cost on taxpayers. Illinois is ranked 50th of 50 in terms of its financial probity and ability to repay its debts, according to the collective judgment of the three New York-based credit rating firms (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings).Despite this poor rating, Illinois infrastructure needs continue to demand an urgent response and, on January 14, Illinois sold $480 million in new bonded debt backed by tax revenue. The interest rates demanded by bond buyers reflected the State’s sub-optimal credit rating. As some of the bonds are denominated with maturity dates as far out as 25 years from now, these interest rates will be paid by Illinois taxpayers for many years.
Representative Winger recently visited Wood Dale Junior High to speak to the 7th grade students about state government.  The students are currently studying the three branches of government, and were excited to meet Representative Winger and learn more about the Illinois General Assembly, the election process, and legislation.

Rep. Winger explained how a bill becomes a law, and discussed some of the legislation she is currently pursuing.  The 7th graders had prepared specific questions to ask the Representative—and were curious to find out more about the veto process, the filing of bills, and floor debates in the House of Representatives.
Budget – Illinois Bond Sale
$480 million in new State debt sold on Wall Street. Proceeds from the package of borrowings, or “tranche,” will be dedicated to the physical needs of State infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. Although this is new Illinois debt, it was not newly authorized by the General Assembly; it replaces millions of dollars in old debts that were paid off on or before the end of calendar year 2015, legally clearing the way for new bonds to be sold. The underwriting activity and sale took place on Thursday, January 14.
Professional services firms are invited to network, receive updates on ongoing projects and learn about upcoming opportunities.

The Illinois Tollway will host a free Professional Services Networking Event on Jan. 14, to provide an opportunity for professional engineering services firms of all sizes in the architecture, engineering, design and construction management fields – including disadvantaged, minority and women-owned business enterprise firms and small and veteran-owned businesses – to learn how to participate in upcoming projects as part of the Tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.

The Tollway’s Professional Services Networking Event will be held from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Westin Lombard, 70 Yorktown Center, and will provide small businesses the opportunity to establish or build relationships with larger established firms currently doing business with the Tollway. Read more on Patch.

State Representative Christine Winger visited the Child’s Voice center today in Wood Dale, which provides a listening and spoken language program for children with hearing loss. Rep. Winger was given a full tour of the center, and was able to see first-hand the resources used to help students learn.

“The Child’s Voice organization is an instrumental asset to our community here in Wood Dale. They provide a very unique program, which allows their students to gain the necessary skills needed so they can be re-integrated and thrive in the mainstream education system. To see how much Child’s Voice is helping the children, and the impact they are able to have on these students overall well-being, is amazing.”
Budget – FY16
CGFA issues monthly budget report.  The report, which covers Illinois general funds receipts and expenditures for the month of December 2015, was generated by the non-partisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA).

With the State’s large single budget source – personal income tax revenues – continuing to feel the effects of the current individual income tax rate of 3.75%, December 2015 general revenues net of refunds were down by $430 million from comparable levels of funds paid to the State in December 2014.  Of this decline, $376 million was accounted for by changes in personal, individual, and corporate income tax flow, net of refunds.
Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) is completing her first year in office and finds the dysfunction in the State of Illinois appalling. Winger points to past budget practices and the current lack of a state budget as examples of the dysfunction.

"For years the state spent more money than it had coming in, creating billions of dollars of unpaid bills. What's more, those bills continue to pile up," Winger explains. "This session, the only option presented for a vote was a budget that was wildly out of balance with no mechanisms to stop the growing mountain of debt. It's absurd to think we can continue down this same crumbling path." Read more in the Chicago Tribune.