Updates

  • Column 5-12-17

    In the past two months, the General Assembly has voted to spend nearly two billion dollars. And no, these are not appropriations that go to pay down the deficit.  These aren’t even funds that take the place of the budget.  This is money that will be added to our already $5 billion spending gap.

    This preposterous level of financial ineptitude is akin to a couple who can’t make their mortgage payments.  But instead of tightening their belts and reining in spending, the couple decides that they owe it to themselves to take a luxurious trip to Hawaii.  That’s essentially how ridiculous our Legislature’s actions have been.  

    Simultaneously, the House has passed a series of anti-business deals that are sure to do more damage to the state’s already fragile economy. 

  • Column 5-5-17

    Are you ready for some positive news? The American economy is surging forward thanks to recent economic growth.  In fact, the jobless rate is the lowest it has been since 2007.  The national unemployment rate is currently 4.4% - which is even better than the 4.6% number that economists had predicted.

    Though the unemployment rate isn’t the only indicator of a healthy economy, the news that employers added 211,000 jobs in April is certainly evidence that this recovery is real.  There are several key factors that are causing this economic optimism, and without a doubt one of those factors is the news that President Trump will attempt to cut taxes across the board.  Contrary to what some have said, these massive tax cuts will lower taxes for everyone who pays federal taxes – especially...

  • Column 4-28-17

    In last week’s column, we talked about HB 40 – a bill that, at face value, expands taxpayer-funded abortions in Illinois. But at its core, the bill’s primary purpose was to force the Governor into a corner – he had to choose between siding with pro-abortion advocates or pro-life advocates. It truly was a game of “Pin the Tail on the Governor.” It should come as no surprise that I voted “No” on HB 40.

    So after a week of political gamesmanship, we still don’t have a budget. But what do we have? The House soundly passed a taxpayer-funded abortion expansion. As the House passes toxic bills that do nothing to improve our state, the window on reaching a budget is closing. With only five weeks left until session ends, we are running perilously short on time.

    In a pointed editorial, the Chicago Tribune addressed HB 40: "You can't count...

  • Column 4-21-17

    This week I’d like to pose a question to you, and if you have an opinion on the matter, then I would love for you to send me your response.  By the way, now would be a good time for me to mention that we have updated our contact information.  You can now send communications directly to my office by visiting “www.ilhousegop.org/contactstewart”.

    Without any further ado here’s the question I’ll pose to you this week: which is more important to you?  Taxpayer funded abortions or a balanced budget?  Now don’t think too hard because it really isn’t a trick question.  And yes, it really is a “this or that” question.

    Why?  Because instead of continuing to work toward an agreement that could lead toward fiscal certainty...

  • Column 4-14-17

    As many of you know, former Freeport Mayor Richard (Dick) Weis recently passed away. He will forever be remembered in Freeport as the “Big Kahuna” who had the big heart.  If every public servant and politician modeled their life after Dick Weis, the world would undoubtedly be a better place.  It was my honor to present Illinois House Resolution 287 honoring former Mayor Weis’s life and his career of public service – both as an elected official and a private citizen.

    If you didn’t know anything else about Dick Weis, all you need to know is what his family has asked of those who wish to honor his memory.  His service information reads: “In lieu of flowers, please honor Dick’s life by doing a random act of kindness for someone in need.”  What...

  • Column 4-7-17

    This week I wish I could report to you that the Illinois General Assembly passed a long-term solution to the state budget crisis.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  Instead of fixing the problem, the House voted to pass another stopgap spending plan House Bill 109 – one that funds some of higher education and social services but effectively kicks the budget can down the road for six more months.

    This legislation was passed by the House and is headed to the Senate which will most likely vote on the bill later this month.  To be clear, this bill does nothing to address any of the problems Illinois is facing other than education and social services – and even those are being addressed inadequately.  The Governor called the stopgap spending plan a “failure.”

    Column 3-31-17

    On Tuesday, April 4th, voters across the 89th District go to the polls to cast their vote in the Municipal General Election.  Historically, turnout for local elections has been as low as the single digits, and never has it reached as high a turnout as November elections.  This sad reality has always baffled me because I think local elections are more impactful on our daily lives than national elections are.

    Of course, national elections for congress and the presidency impact our income taxes, but local elections determine the direction of our community.  Beyond our own current status, it’s not a stretch to say that our vote could in some small (or perhaps large) way play a role in our children’s and grandchildren’s future.  And...

  • Column 3-17-17

    Everyone loves a positive news story. We are excited to hear when a company announces that it is expanding in our area.  Even better, we love to hear that a company is leaving another state and setting up shop in Illinois, though I must admit, as of late we’ve heard more about businesses leaving our state than entering.

    We can point to any number of reasons as to why companies have chosen to pack up and leave Illinois for another state: cumbersome regulations, the burden of worker’s compensation, high property taxes, or even the state budget stalemate – just to name a few.  The one thing that is certain is that we don’t want businesses leaving Illinois.  All that leads us to the question: what are we doing to stop businesses from crossing the border?

    If...

  • Column 3-10-17

    I recently filed House Bill 3096, which would create the Lincoln-Douglas Historic Tax Credit.  If approved by the legislature and signed into law, Freeport would benefit from one more tool to entice developers to invest in Northwest Illinois.  As of today the bill is in the Revenue & Finance Committee, I will do everything I can to move this bill along quickly.

    Another bill that I filed was House Bill 3555, which is an amendment to the Illinois Unified Code of Corrections.  The purpose of the bill is to save taxpayer dollars from being squandered on legal costs when the defendant has the means to pay for his or her own legal costs.

    Drew Peterson was arrested, charged and convicted of murdering his wife.  Most of us remember the media story surrounding the...

  • Column 2-17-17

    We all know that Illinois is in a state of turmoil.  We’ve been guilty of kicking the can down the road one too many times, and for decades we have been neglecting our pension payment obligations.  I’ll be the first to say that I don’t envy the Governor’s current position.

    This past week Governor Rauner gave his annual budget address.  In his speech, the Governor laid out his spending plan for the next fiscal year. Some of his numbers relied on the State Senate to continue negotiations in an attempt to fill a budget gap, and the rest relied on anticipated revenues.

    There is little debating the fact that Illinois doesn’t have enough funds flowing in to pay all of our bills.  The only question is how are we going to fill...

 
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