SnapChat Comment Gets McHenry Middle School Student in Trouble

A press release from the McHenry Police Department:

McHENRY POLICE AND McHENRY DISTRICT 15 INVESTIGATE THREAT AT SCHOOL

On Wednesday, February 20th, 2019, the McHenry Police Department responded to Parkland Middle School, 1802 N. Ringwood Rd., McHenry, Illinois to speak with school officials about a student who made an inappropriate comment via social media.

A Parkland School student made an inappropriate school shooting related comment to a fellow classmate through Snapchat.

When the police department became aware of the comment, the school’s administration was immediately notified.

A joint investigation between the McHenry Police Department and McHenry Elementary School District 15 was conducted into this incident.

During the investigation, it was learned the student did not possess nor have access to any weapons.

There was no immediate threat to the students, school staff or to the community.

The McHenry Police Department commends the administration of Parkland School in recognizing the seriousness of the student’s comments, swift action taken and cooperation with law enforcement.

As this investigation has concluded, the police department, District 15 and Parkland School want to assure parents, students and staff that all our community’s schools remain a safe environment.

Parents and students are urged to inform the police department and school representatives about alarming behavior that has the potential to pose a risk to the community.

Because the student was a juvenile, the McHenry Police Department cannot comment further on this investigation.

McConchie Points Out Pritzker Just “Kicks Can Down the Road”

A press release from state Senator McConchie:

McConchie: Budget increases taxes, kicks the can down the road

Springfield, IL… State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) released the following statement regarding Governor J.B. Pritzker’s State Budget Address:

Dan McConchie

“While I appreciate the fact that the Governor laid out a balanced budget plan, it unfortunately does so by increasing taxes and kicking the can down the road on our pension problem.

“Borrowing $2 billion for our pensions, while pushing off almost $900 million in payments this year, only creates additional problems for our children and repeats the failed policies of the past.

“I recognize that the Governor’s proposal is just a start.

“It’s going to take a lot of work going forward in order to produce a balanced budget that does not fall on the backs of taxpayers.

“I encourage the Governor and the supermajority to hold true on their word to work in a bipartisan way.

“Unfortunately, the Governor failed to work across the aisle on the minimum wage proposal so I hope that’s not a sign of what’s to come.

“Only time will tell.”

Pritzker Does Not Plan Paying Off State’s Current Debts

From the Illinois News Network:

Pritzker proposes ‘austere budget’ with more taxes, spending, borrowing

By Benjamin Yount | Illinois News Network

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first state budget calls for spending more on schools, colleges and universities and social services.

To pay for it, he wants to eventually increase taxes on top earners, quickly legalize recreational marijuana and tax insurance companies called managed care organizations that work with Medicaid patients.

His plan also would institute a number of other taxes to generate revenue.

The state’s new governor started his budget presentation to lawmakers by going back to the Great Depression.

He said Illinois had the same problems then as the state does now.

J.B. Pritzker in Algonquin

“Illinois’ 200-year history is a web of recurring challenges. The same theme is recycling with each new decade.” Pritzker told lawmakers in a speech Wednesday.

“When reviewing past reports to the General Assembly by previous governors, the same problems are raised over and over again: There is not enough money to address social ills, not enough jobs to employ people, not enough resources to adequately maintain and build our infrastructure, and not enough attention to the plight of working families. It may not surprise you to learn that these problems existed in 1819, they existed in 1919 and they exist today in 2019.”

Pritzker proposed solving those problems by legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use, legalizing sports betting, taxing insurance companies called managed care organizations that work with Medicaid patients, borrowing $4 billion and pushing the state’s pension payoff further down the road.

“The budget I present to you today is an honest proposal,” Pritzker said. “The costs are not hidden, the revenues I propose are not out of reach, the hole we need to fill is not ignored.”

That budget hole is $3.2 billion.

There’s also $15 billion in unpaid bills. They will stay unpaid.

Pritzker said outside of those bills, he expects the state to bring in $38.9 billion next year. He wants to spend almost every penny of it, $38.7 billion.

DeWitte Comments on Pritzker Budget Message

A press release from State Senator Don DeWitte:

DeWitte: Budget proposal concerning, must work bipartisanly

Springfield, IL… State Senator Donald P. DeWitte (R-St. Charles) voiced concerns about the financial roadmap Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker outlined at the annual Budget Address on Wednesday, February 20.

Don DeWitte

“I appreciate the Governor’s opening comment about bold optimism,” said Sen. DeWitte. “I can only hope that correlates into bold compromise and bold bipartisanship.

“However, if the minimum wage increase is any indication of what’s to come, then we still have a lot of work to do.”

Today in Springfield the Governor outlined his suggestions on how to balance the budget, which included increasing taxes and borrowing millions of dollars for the pension crisis.

For additional revenue, the Governor called for the legalization and taxation of marijuana and sports betting and a graduated income tax.

“I’ve said all along, we don’t have a revenue problem in this state, we have a spending problem,” said Sen. DeWitte.

“Instead of proposing sufficient spending cuts, the Governor proposed additional tax increases and is wanting to borrow money for the pension issue.

“These are the same ideas and policies that have led to the many problems facing our state today.

“I came into this process optimistic about working with the new Governor and the new legislature, and I intend on keeping an open mind moving forward.

“However, we must come together in a bipartisan manner if we truly want to put Illinois on a path toward prosperity instead of destruction.

“I hope the Governor will make good on his comments about reaching across the aisle to tackle these issues.”

Analysis of the Mess Illinois Finds Itself – Fact 8

A continuation of the analysis of the current situation in Illinois by WirePoints:

Fact 8

8. Overpromised pensions. Between 2003 and 2015, Illinois lawmakers allowed total pension benefits (accrued liabilities) to grow at the third-fastest pace in the nation. At 7.5 percent a year, Illinois grew its total pension promises at 2.5 times the pace Wisconsin grew its benefits. No amount of taxpayer funding could have kept up with the state’s incredible growth in pension promises.

David McSweeney Transfers Sponsorship of Jack Franks’ Power Enhancement Bill, Franks Decides He Doesn’t Want People Thinking He Was Behind It

The major actors in the legislation that would make McHenry County Boar Chairman perhaps the most powerful county chairman in Illinois made major moves yesterday.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks disavowed his lust for power in the following statement about the bill that David McSweeney introduced four days earlier:

Jack Franks in an “I’m in charge” mode. Now he says he doesn’t want to be in total control.

Over the past week, a number of County Board members have expressed serious concerns with House Bill 3317, the McHenry County Equitable Standards and Governmental Efficiency Law, filed last Friday by state Rep. David McSweeney.

After careful review of this bill, I concluded that I cannot support it.

I believe House Bill 3317 grants the office of Chairman too much authority, and I also believe that your input is vital on a bill of this magnitude.

I informed Representative McSweeney over the weekend that I opposed the bill, and then reached out to Rep. Sam Yingling, who is chairman of the House Counties and Townships Committee.

I shared with him the concerns that I, and County Board members, had with the bill, and he has agreed not to move it forward.

A copy of the email he sent me is attached to this letter.

Representative Yingling wrote that his committee is developing an omnibus good-government bill, and unlike House Bill 3317, I intend for the County Board to have a voice in its development. I am creating an ad-hoc committee to offer ideas regarding what the bill will include.

I value the working relationship that a majority of this County Board and I have developed over the past two years. We have accomplished so much together for our constituents. House Bill 3317 would have done significant damage to that relationship, and I could not sit idle and allow that to happen.

If you have questions on this or any other subject, as always, please just give me a call.

I remain very truly yours,

Here is House Counties and Township Committee Chairman Sam Yingling reply:


Here is McSweeney’s take:

David McSweeney

I transferred the bill to Chairman Yingling, the committee Chairman. Yingling wants to use the bill or another bill to do one omnibus County/consolidation bill that will affect multiple counties, including McHenry County.

I believe that some of the elements of my County bill will be included in the omnibus bill.

The two most important items in the bill to me are

  • abating surplus funds to taxpayers and
  • eliminating health care benefits for County Board members.

I would also like the omnibus bill to include increased authority to cut and veto spending.

How Will Minimum Wage Employees React When They Figure Out Their Wages Don’t Increase to $15 an Hour for Six Years?

From the Illinois News Network:

Pritzker signs bill to raise state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025

Illinois will have a $15 minimum wage by 2025 despite objections of some business and Republicans, who said the fast-tracked bill was bad politics.

Democrats, who control both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, handed Gov. J.B. Pritzker his first legislative victory with the minimum wage bill before the governor’s budget address on Wednesday.

Not until the inside of the Chicago Tribune does the $15 minimum wage article headline tell readers the $15 figure does not kick in for about six years.

Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1 into law Tuesday at the governor’s mansion alongside supporters, including a Chicago-based restaurant group, and union leaders.

While some business groups have come out in support of the measure, others are concerned. Small, independent business owners like Mike Monseur in Springfield asked how much people will be willing to pay for a pizza.

“I’m scared,” Monseur said earlier this month when speaking against the bill. “I’m scared for me as a business owner. I’m scared for my employees. I’m scared for my state.”

Monseur said had been considering expansion for one of his businesses in Illinois, but is rethinking that now.

Pritzker dismissed critics who said the new law will hurt the state’s business climate

“I understand the concerns of businesses and am very in tune to how it is we create jobs in this state,” Pritzker said.

Supporters of the new law noted this makes Illinois the first state in the Midwest with such a wage hike.

That will be met with joy by neighboring states, Gilster-Mary Lee owner Don Welge said. He said he expects jobs to move out of Illinois. He said there are also other employee costs in Illinois that make doing business here expensive.

“This costs us $600 a year more for an Illinois employee earning the same wage rate as a Missouri employee in the extra costs of workers compensation and unemployment insurance,” Welge said.

Democrats at the statehouse have been unwilling to work at lowering such costs and have now ushered in the increased minimum wage. Other employers have said the higher minimum wage will mean employees that already make more than the minimum wage will insist on higher pay.

Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider said Pritzker pledged to govern differently and listen to all parties and stakeholders, but “those turned out to meaningless words.” Republicans and some businesses said they were left out of the conversation.

Pritzker denied that.

“In fact, the elongation of the years in which this is being implemented was one of those things,” Pritzker said.

The measure will have six minimum wage increases over five years with the $8.25 an hour wage nearly doubling to $15 by 2025. The first increase will be Jan. 1, 2020, to $9.25 and then to $10 an hour that summer. From there, it will increase a dollar a year until it reaches $15 an hour.

Nearly doubling the minimum wage will destroy entry-level jobs, raise prices for consumers, and bust budgets at every level of government,” Schneider said.

Pritzker promised to balance the state budget to include the expected increased costs for state government. That doesn’t account for school districts, community colleges, park districts, municipalities or other taxing bodies that will also see increased employment costs.

New Version of Human Trafficking Earns Self-Appointed Church Bishop Federal Conviction

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

Federal Jury Convicts Woman of Coercing Members of Church Ministry into Forced Labor

CHICAGO — A federal jury in Chicago has convicted the self-appointed bishop of a Pennsylvania ministry of forcing church members to work certain jobs, pocketing their earnings, and directing them to defraud various hotels.

TRACIE DICKEY, also known as “Tracie Williams,” 55, of Pittsburgh, Pa., was found guilty Friday on one count of wire fraud and one count of labor trafficking. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis set sentencing for Aug. 7, 2019, in federal court in Chicago.

The conviction was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Valuable assistance was provided by U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Northern District of Texas and Middle District of Florida, and the FBI’s Pittsburgh, Pa., field office. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maureen E. Merin and Eric S. Pruitt.

Dickey was a self-appointed bishop of Deliverance Tabernacle Ministries, an organization she founded that proclaimed to offer faith-based services in locations such as Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida. She also purported to operate a travel agency known as World Ambassador Travel.

Evidence at trial revealed that Dickey recruited young women to become members of the ministry, and directed them to work multiple jobs, including as desk clerks at hotels. She instructed the members on how to have the hotels pay reservation-commission fees to Dickey’s travel agency, via a bank account controlled by Dickey. In reality, the travel agency never actually booked hotel reservations on behalf of guests.

From 2005 to 2013, the hotels paid approximately $86,000 in commissions to Dickey. Dickey also collected approximately $333,000 in wages earned by members of her ministry. Dickey emotionally and physically abused the members, and coerced them into following her rules and remitting their earnings to Dickey or her church. Dickey’s tactics included starving and humiliating church members, forcing some of them into homelessness, and threatening that God would harm their families if they did not comply with Dickey’s rules. Several of Dickey’s victims testified at trial about their ordeals.

More Analysis of Anna Miller’s Algonquin Township Time Cards Points to Payroll Padding

The following was published on Illinois Leaks and is republished here with permission:

Algonquin Township Road District – Time Card Tuesday #3 –

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –

Anna May Miller on vacation.

Time Card Tuesday brought to you for the purpose of ensuring everyone knows of the matters being ignored within the Township and by the authorities who have the power to take action.

Why is that important?

Because we have attorneys and board members claiming there was nothing done wrong by the past administration because of the State’s Attorney choosing not to prosecute.

The prior articles on this subject can be viewed here and here

Part III was going to cover the payroll period of October 24 through November 6th, 2013.

Of interest in this payroll period is there we no time cards available for October 24 through November 3rd, thus we only have an accounting of two days during that payroll.

That being the case, we expanded this coverage to include the next payroll period of November 7th through November 20th, 2013.

The following figures are based on a $28.65 an hour rate applied to the payroll ledger.

The only time card available for the first pay period, once again, has problems, even though there is only one entry for time worked.

November 13, 2013, time card for Anna May Miller.

November 4th -8th reflect (VAC) in the regular time column, meaning those were vacation days.

Please note, two of those days apply to the second payroll period.

The first payroll period reflects 32 hrs vacation taken, which would be the 4th-6th.

The single time entry for claimed time worked is once again overtime for working on a weekend, even though there were not 40 hrs worked that week.

In this case, the Anna May time card reflects 6 hours of overtime worked after time correction was noted on the “End Time” column entry.

The policy manual outlines overtime is provided after 40 hrs.

She netted $257.88 extra for that day according to the payroll ledger.

The payroll ledger reflects 6.5 hrs of overtime for this first pay cycle however without having the missing time cards we don’t know how that figure was obtained.

This first time card included two days, the 7th and 8th, as Vacation that falls into the following pay cycle. That being the case we “should” see at least two vacation days on that second pay cycle yet there is only one.  That means the time card once again does not match the payroll ledger.

Looking at the next set of time cards applicable to the second payroll ledger is most telling.

Anna May Miller time card for week of November 17, 2013.

  • The payroll ledger reflects 8 hrs of vacation taken while the time cards reflect 16 hours. 
  • 6 hrs worked on the 10th, recorded as all overtime even though there were not 40 hrs worked. 
  • Nine hours worked on Veterans day but recorded as 8 hrs Holiday pay and 8.5  in overtime!
  • 8.5 hrs worked on the 12th, recorded as 9 hrs.
  • 10 hrs worked on the 13th, recorded as 9 regular and 1.5 hrs overtime
  • 8.25 hrs worked on the 14th, accurately recorded as such.
  • 8.25 hrs worked on the 15th, inaccurately reported as 8 hrs.
  • 9.75 hrs worked on the 18th, recorded as 8 hrs regular time and 2.25 hrs of overtime
  • 8.5 hrs worked on the 19th, recorded as 8 regular time and 1 hour overtime.
  • 8.75 hrs worked on the 20th, recorded as 8 regular time and 1.25 hours overtime.

Is anyone surprised?

The actual regular hours worked according to proper math on the time cards is 62 hours of regular time, however, the payroll ledger reflects 66.25 hrs, an extra 4.25 hrs at $28.65 an hour for $121.76 extra in regular time.

If she actually worked on the holiday and got paid overtime, there should not have been additional Holiday pay, however, it is clear she was paid 8 hrs of Holiday pay for this pay period, resulting in an extra $229.20 for this pay cycle.

The payroll ledger reflects 21.50 hrs in overtime even though the time card total is 20.50.

If the time cards are accurate, which they are not, the overtime is padded an extra hour netting an extra $42.98.

What was the actual overtime based on accurate math?

We came up with 18.25 hrs of overtime if math is applied properly and the 6 hrs is counted from the 10th, even though 40 hours was not worked as outlined in the policy.

Considering the overtime paid was for 21.50 hours, it appears the pay was padded 3.25 hours of overtime netting an extra $139.69.

Padded pay for this coverage appears to be $121.76 for regular pay, $229.20 in holiday pay, and $139.69 for overtime, for a total of $490.65 in extra pay.

Running total for a handful of pay cycles in the Time Card Tuesday series is now $1,519.50.

First Pay Cycle Time card can be viewed below or downloaded at this link and the second set at this link.

Analysis of the Mess Illinois Finds Itself – Fact 7

A continuation of the analysis of the current situation in Illinois by WirePoints:

Fact 7

BUDGET DRIVERS

Hynes ignored the fact that many of the cost drivers that made the impasse so painful had accelerated to crisis levels long before Rauner even took office.

7. Growing worker salaries. State AFSCME worker salaries, thanks to their guaranteed contracts, grew more than 40 percent over the 2005-2015 period. In contrast, private sector worker earnings only grew 11 percent, half the rate of inflation. That growth helped push Illinois state government worker pay to the highest in the nation in 2014.

LITH Man Gets 7 1/2 Years for Sexual Assault on Young Girl

A press release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office:

AUSTIN M. BILLA SENTENCED TO SEVEN AND ONE HALF YEARS IN THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FOR PREDATORY CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD

Austin Billa

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announced that 28-year-old Austin M. Billa of Fox Lake, Illinois, was sentenced to seven and one-half years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the offense of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child.

Under the Truth in Sentencing Guidelines, Billa will have to serve 85% of the sentence he received for the offense of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child.

Between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014 the defendant committed an act of sexual penetration involving his finger and the sex organ of the female victim who was under 13 at the time of the offense.

On December 10, 2018, entered a guilty plea before the Honorable Judge Robert A. Wilbrandt.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Victor Escarcida.

The case investigation was led by Detective Klem of the Lake in the Hills Police Department.

Dorr Township Precinct Committeemen Call for Resignation of Algonquin Township Road Commissioner

Tina Hill and John Jung, both Republican Precinct Committeemen from Dorr Township (Woodstock area) have sent the following email to other precinct committeemen:

Algonquin Township Highway Department

Tina Hill

Dear Fellow Committee Members,

Attached please find a letter I am sending to Chairwoman Evertsen regarding all the events that have unfolded in Algonquin Township Highway Department since the last election.  If you agree with me that the McHenry County Republican Party should ask the Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner to resign for the good of the Algonquin Township Taxpayers, please let me know and I will add your name to the letter.

I am sending this to all Committeemen that I have emails.  I do not have them all.  Please forward to any other committeeman that you have.  It  would be much appreciated.  I have also included Chairwoman Evertsen in on this email so she is in the loop of this request.

Hill’s and Jung’s letter:

Dear Chairwoman Evertsen,

We have been watching as events unfold in the Algonquin Township Highway Department and waiting for improvements. The situation has become untenable and unfair to the taxpayers of Algonquin Township. Frankly, they deserve much better from their Highway Commissioner and more from their Republican Party.

We could list all the infractions, real, designed, or fabricated that have unfolded in Algonquin Township, but they are plain to see for anyone following and attending their meetings, the newspaper, or online media. The most egregious we find right now, in addition to all we witnessed, is that Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser is simply absent from his duties.

He has declared an emergency of salt shortage during our most dangerous winter of ice storms in a decade and threatened to close roads even though salt is available from his neighboring townships. During this emergency, he was in Madison Mississippi to spend Valentine’s Day with his “bestest (sic) half. (His words)

The Republican Party has a long history of a leadership that does not leave anyone behind whether on the battlefield or the home front. We the following undersigned committeemen ask that in the name of the McHenry County Republican Party, that Mr. Andrew Gasser resign his position so that the Party can name a competent replacement.

We look forward to your response.

Regards,

Tina Hill, Committeewoman Dorr 5

John Jung, Committeeman Dorr 11

GOP Chairman Issues “Call to Action” Against McSweeney Bill to Give Jack Franks Almost Dictatorial Power

From McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Diane Evertsen:

Call To Action

HB 3317 has been introduced in Springfield by Representative David McSweeney, after working with Mr. Franks.

A copy of the Bill [can be found here] so that you can read through it in it’s entirety.

Some of the points which make this extremely poor legislation are:

1. This legislation applies to McHenry County only.

2. County Chairperson (or HIS DESIGNEE) sets the Agenda for ALL meetings, including all committees.

This allows the Chairperson to easily control what will and what will not come before the full Board for their decision-making role, the purpose for which they were elected by McHenry County voters.

3. This legislation would eliminate the office of County Auditor.

McHenry County Auditor Shannon Teresi

This office, which is currently controlled by an Auditor who is elected by and answerable to McHenry County voters, is one of the ‘checks and balances’ of county government.

4. The legislation would allow the Chairman to (‘may’) appoint an Inspector General.

a. This IG would answer ONLY to the Chairman who appointed him. The objective of ‘checks and balances’ within government would be lost.

5. Chairman MAY reduce or veto ANY appropriations made by the Board.

a. Under this provision, the Chairman would control all funding to all departments of the County government, which means one person would have total control over every funding aspect including Health Department, Transportation, Sheriff, Treasurer, Building and Zoning, etc.

6. Chairman may hire independent counsel and/or Parliamentarian for his sole and exclusive use, the cost of which will be borne by whichever department the Chairman chooses.

7. Chairman office becomes a separate and distinct entity from the County Board.

a. This allows the Chairman virtually unlimited budgetary expenditures and limitless staff.

Please read the attached bill carefully and you’ll find other items which are cause for concern.

You will recall that it was not long ago the Chairman was eager to eliminate the office of Auditor and together we stood strong to keep a very well-credentialed
individual in that position. All or most of the items addressed in this proposed piece of legislation continue to be end runs-around the elected County Board and the voters of McHenry County.

You may want to take a minute to contact Rep. McSweeney and address some of the issues in this proposal.

(217) 782-1517 (Springfield)
(847) 516-0052 (Cary)
(847) 516-8164 FAX

You may also wish to share your support of McHenry County voters with local newspapers.

Thanks for all you do!

= = = = =
It seems appropriate to take a look at the image that was used to oppose the referendum to impose the County Executive form of government that Jack Franks failed to get approved:

Analysis of the Mess Illinois Finds Itself – Fact 6

A continuation of the analysis of the current situation in Illinois by WirePoints:

Fact 6

6. Nation’s worst rating. By 2010, Illinois’ credit rating was already the worst in the nation according to Moody’s. And in 2013, S&P declared Illinois was on a “credit precipice” due to lack of pension reform. Illinois’ S&P rating – also the nation’s worst – was lower than California’s, New Jersey’s and Connecticut’s – all famous for their fiscal problems. In contrast, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa were all AAA-rated. Illinois was on its path toward junk way before 2015.

Wilcox Reports

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Senate Week in Review: February 11 – 15, 2019

McHenry, IL – In the news, Illinois’ minimum wage; protecting hard-earned taxpayer dollars; and a growing number of people are reaching out for help with their opioid addiction.

While the Senate scheduled a week for senators to be back in their respective districts, the Illinois House met for three days.

Minimum wage hike heads to Pritzker’s desk

Craig Wilcox

One of the big issues the House considered was finishing the debate and vote on Senate Bill 1, which would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The Senate had already passed the measure Feb. 7. Like the Senate during the previous week, the House approved SB1 on a party-line vote. I voted against SB 1 because of the likely economic problems it will cause for taxpayers, small business owners and for the very people the proponents claim they want to help.

Proponents admitted during the House debate that there will be a taxpayer cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to perhaps a billion dollars over the six-year period, including increases in annual costs for state agencies, local school districts, colleges and universities, human service providers and hospitals.

Additionally, the last time Illinois raised the minimum wage was 2006. A year later, 50,000 jobs were lost, according to Illinois state labor statistics. It should also be mentioned that our surrounding states will have much lower minimum wages, thereby putting additional pressure on the profitability and competitiveness of our businesses compared to their counterparts across state lines.

After passing in the Illinois House, Senate Bill 1 is now on its way to Governor JB Pritzker’s desk. If signed by the Governor, which he previously promised to do, the state’s minimum wage would rise to $15 per hour over the next six years for adults, and to $13 per hour during the same period for those under 18.

Legislation filed to protect taxpayers during consolidation

During the week, I filed an important bill (Senate Bill 1567) with the Senate to protect taxpayers during local government consolidation. As you know, consolidation is a hot topic for debate in McHenry County. I believe voters have the right to choose the level of government they are comfortable with and how much of it they can afford. However, there must be protections for taxpayers to guarantee they are the primary beneficiaries of any smarter, smaller or more efficient government that consolidation brings.

Key provisions of SB 1567 include the following:

  • Only taxpayers within the dissolving township boundaries are responsible for paying any debt transferred to the county. Protects other county taxpayers.
  • Assets of the dissolved township or road district, especially if liquidated, must be used solely for the benefit of residents of the geographic area within the former boundaries of the township.  Protects the taxpayers who previously paid the taxes allowing a township to acquire those assets.
  • Ensures that counties or municipalities will receive Motor Fuel Tax dollars that were dedicated to a dissolving township based on lane miles. Protects local taxpayer dollars, as part of a dissolved township’s lane mile Motor Fuel Tax account from being redistributed state-wide.

The overall goal of government consolidation is to save taxpayers’ money, but it must be fair and equitable. Under my legislation, if a township decides to dissolve itself into the county, the taxpayer dollars paid by those township residents must be for their benefit. At the same time, the contractual obligations of the consolidating township – including its debt – is solely the responsibility of that township and should not become a burden put onto the people of the entire county.

Illinois’ Opioid Helpline reaches 10,000 calls

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) recently announced that the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances has received 10,000 calls. The confidential, 24-hour hotline is designed to help provide support for people dealing with substance abuse, or their families.

The number for the hotline is 1-833-2FINDHELP, and can also be accessed online at HelplineIL.org.

The program launched in December of 2017.

Civic Federation Calculates Some Tax Burdens

The Civic Federation has issued a report entitled, “ESTIMATED EFFECTIVE PROPERTY TAX RATES 2007-2016: Selected Municipalities in Northeastern Illinois.”

For McHenry County, it has calculated effective tax rates for four communities:

  • Woodstock – 3.6%
  • Harvard – 3.47%
  • Algonquin – 3.09%
  • Barrington Hills – 2.4%

One may calculate one’s effective tax rte by dividing the value of one’s home (estimated today’s sales price) into one’s property tax bill.

Utility Cost Saving Clinic Being Held in Algonquin

From State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:


Free utility bill savings clinic.
Join me and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) as we partner to host a free utility bill savings clinic on February 21. The clinic will feature experts to teach you how to save money on your electric, gas and phone bills.

WHO: State Representative Allen Skillicorn & Citizens Utility Board (CUB) Experts

WHAT: Utility Bill Savings Clinic – Space is limited – RSVP to (815) 893-4884 or [email protected]

WHEN: Thursday, February 21 – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

WHERE: Algonquin Area Public Library, 2600 Harnish Dr., Algonquin, IL 60102