Economy – Home Prices
Illinois Association of Realtors reports rising valuations for Chicago-area real estate. The February 2016 year-over-year figure showed an increase of 7.1% in the 9-county Chicago area. The median price of a home or condominium increased from $175,000 in February 2015 to $187,500 in the most-recently-concluded month. Housing within city limits rose by a significant 12.3% in value, from $212,000 to $238,000, expanding a significant premium in value over suburban residential property.
Budget – FY16 Budget Deficit, Unpaid Bills
As Illinois’ fiscal condition continues downhill, unpaid bill total nears $9 billion. The Ledger, a spreadsheet summary posted online by Comptroller Leslie Munger, now shows Illinois with almost $7.5 billion in unpaid bills. This includes not only the $3.68 billion in unpaid bills actually forwarded to the Comptroller for payment, but also an estimated $3.80 billion in past-due bills and invoices held at state agencies and not yet forwarded to the Comptroller.
State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) hosted a program in Bloomingdale on Thursday for women in the 45th District to learn about issues important to them and provide information about the state’s finances. State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger was the keynote for the program.

Winger recognized the hard work and dedication of the women in the audience, all leaders in the community, and asked for their input on state issues.

“As women, we make important decisions for our families every single day, while juggling many different responsibilities,” said Winger. “As a lawmaker, I too, make decisions that impact your families so it is vital that I hear from you.”
Budget – House in Recess; Republicans Protest
House Democrats take month-long vacation while budget impasse continues; Republicans file letter of protest. Illinois has moved well into its ninth month without a budget plan to control state spending. More than $7 billion in unpaid bills have piled up, but the Democrat-controlled Illinois House this week completed the first of what are expected to be four weeks of spring recess. House Republicans have rejected the recess motion made by the majority party and have lodged a demand that the lawmakers stay in Springfield to continue negotiations on a budget compromise.
Officials with the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the American Legion announce plans for the 44th Annual American Legion Youth Police Camp (ALYPC). The camp will again be held at the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield, Illinois and will run from June 26 through July 1, 2016.

Dozens of aspiring teens from across Illinois will discover career opportunities through training with police and military personnel. The primary purpose of the ALYPC is to establish an interactive and positive relationship between Illinois teens and law enforcement officers. The week-long residency camp is structured to promote educational and learning opportunities for youth ages 14-16 in the areas of law enforcement, military, leadership, cultural diversity, personal development, physical fitness, and social and interpersonal skills. The ALYPC Cadets will be honored at a graduation ceremony on July 1, 2016, and will receive a graduation certificate.
As her office begins issuing state income tax refunds, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger urged taxpayers to register online to check the status of their refunds and sign up for text message and email payment notifications.

The easy-to-use Tax Refund Alert System allows taxpayers to visit and enter their name and Social Security Number to see if the Comptroller's Office has processed their refund. Taxpayers also can enter an email address and phone number to receive a notification when the payment has been made.
Representative Winger recently visited Hawk Hollow Elementary School in Bartlett to read to 1st and 2nd grade students.

Winger read “Grace for President,” a book about a young student, Grace, who decides to run in her school’s mock election after learning that the United States has never had a female president. The students were very engaged, and even began cheering for their favorite candidates described in the book.

“It was great seeing how excited the students were, and how engaged they were in the story’s election. This was a great introduction to the election process for them, and really incorporated their love of reading at the same time.”

Winger was able to explain her role as a State Representative to the students, and as well as discuss the importance of democracy in government and elections. With March being Women’s History Month, the time and subject of the book were fitting.

“Finding a good book like this one that can really involve the students is important, to not only get them excited about learning and reading—but also help them understand current event issues.”

Today Representative Christine Winger held her first Constituent Coffee event of the year. It drew a group of interested residents, eager to voice their concerns about the 45th District.

Winger took time to give legislative updates, and discuss her own legislative initiatives she is working on. “This was a great setting to have a meaningful discussion with residents about the questions and concerns they have about issues facing our community. I took opportunity to listen, and gain important feedback, which is essential for me in understanding the wants and needs of the people here in the 45th District. I look forward to continuing these events in communities throughout the district.”

The Constituent Coffees will be held throughout the coming weeks, and will pick up again in the summer. Rep. Winger wanted to make herself accessible in all areas of the district, to fully engage with all constituents to give updates on legislation in Springfield but also gauge constituent concerns on issues, and answer any questions.

Below is the schedule of Rep. Winger’s upcoming coffees. For more information please contact the District Office at (847) 252-9311.

Tuesday March 8th


Bloomingdale Public Library

101 Fairfield Way, Bloomingdale, 60108

Saturday March 12th 


Marriott Courtyard in Wood Dale

900 N Wood Dale Rd, Wood Dale, IL 60191

Monday March 14th


Bartlett Public Library

800 S Bartlett Rd, Bartlett, IL 60103

FY 16 Budget

Democrats reject Republican efforts to stay in session and avoid month-long recess. Illinois House Republicans, furious about the lack of a state budget and seemingly empty session calendar thus far this year, challenged House Democrat leadership Thursday to not adjourn as scheduled for the entire month of March.

At the conclusion of session on Thursday, Republicans made a motion to bring the legislature back the following day. The motion, despite being completely in line with the rules, was ruled out of order with Democrat leadership scurrying quickly from the chamber to prevent debate on the issue. House Democrats cleared out of the chamber despite the requests from Republicans to keep working.

Video of the motion request and exchange with Democrat leadership can be viewed at The Caucus Blog.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, who determines the session schedule, put in place a four week gap in the month of March for what many assume is political reasons. The House is not set to be back in session until April 4th.

Do you agree with the House Republicans, given the challenges facing Illinois, that the legislature shouldn’t take a month long break during March? Tell us what you think here.
A bill sponsored by State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) to increase the number of Veterans Courts in Illinois cleared its first hurdle. House Bill 5003 passed out of committee unanimously on Tuesday.

Veterans Courts focus directly on the needs of former and current members of the armed forces. Currently, there are 12 Veteran Court programs in Illinois. All are limited to veterans with non-violent records who are struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. Veterans who qualify and successfully comply with court orders get the treatment they need and can have charges dismissed. As of 2014, problem-solving courts including Veteran Treatment Courts kept 1,200 offenders out of prison, saving the state of Illinois nearly $20 million.