“Reimagine Illinois”; State Unemployment on the Move; Infrastructure Funding Falls Short

“Reimagine Illinois” is important to families throughout the state. 

The Reimagine Illinois platform, introduced by the House Republican Caucus earlier this month, outlines a new way of thinking for Illinois government with four specific goals in mind:

  • Ending the culture of corruption
  • Responsible fiscal leadership
  • Growing jobs and opportunities for our families
  • Ensuring public safety

This week, my fellow House Republicans from across the state held a series of virtual press conferences and presentations to show the importance of this platform to Illinoisans in every region. In addition, over 80 pieces of legislation have been filed. We are spreading the word on what we believe will lead Illinois back to prosperity. If you would like to learn more, click here.

Statewide Unemployment Rate Down, Jobs Up in February 2021. 

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate for February dropped to 7.4 percent from January’s 7.7 percent. This is a slight change, but a change in the right direction.

The state’s unemployment rate was +1.2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for February, which was 6.2 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +3.8 percentage points from a year ago when it was 3.6 percent.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, employment is still down from previous years in all sectors across Illinois. As we move forward and the vaccine becomes more widely available, we must work hard to support legislation that will help create and retain jobs in Illinois.

Revenues for state infrastructure program fell far short in calendar year 2020. 

With Governor Pritzker’s mandated stay-at-home and business shutdowns orders, the paid use by Illinoisans of our roads, highways, and mass transit systems dropped sharply. A survey published by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (IEPI) indicates that when all of these shortfalls are tallied, the accumulated revenue loss totals more than $1 billion.

Some, but not all, of the lost revenue represented vanished gas tax moneys that were not paid over to the State by motor fuel retailers. This is capital money used to repair Illinois’ roads and bridges. Other chunks of this money represent lost operating funds, such as mass transit fares not paid and the Illinois Toll Highway Authority tolls not clicked off by vehicles that would normally pass through the toll plazas.

Parts of Illinois’ transportation usage have partly recovered and should continue to recover as we exit the pandemic. The General Assembly must also remain faithful stewards of funds inserted into the transportation funding lockbox, the 2016 constitutional amendment that prohibits lawmakers from using transportation funds for anything other than their stated purpose. We cannot continue to let our roads deteriorate.

If you would like to contact my office, please reach out by visiting my website, Facebook, or by calling 618-546-0044.

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