Each year a beautiful holiday display fills the rotunda of the Illinois Capitol Building in Springfield. While the legislature is not in session this month, Illinoisans and visitors travel the Capitol every year in December to enjoy the Christmas tree (shown here) and other holiday displays. Local musicians and singers also perform for guests.
Cold, winter weather has arrived, and the snow and wind that is common this time of year often makes travel difficult and dangerous. Please be safe in your holiday travels. You can use this link to access alerts about current road conditions that could make travel challenging.
The countdown to Christmas has begun! You can use this NORAD Santa tracker on Christmas Eve if you would like to follow Santa’s trip around the globe.
Lastly, as we end 2017 and prepare to usher in 2018, I hope you are able to spend quality time these next few weeks with family, friends and other loved ones. While this has indeed been a difficult year for the State of Illinois, we have very much for which we can be truly grateful. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year!
Olsen Joins Governor Rauner for Signing of Bill that Reduces Fees for LLCs
Yesterday I joined Governor Bruce Rauner, a bipartisan group of legislative colleagues and small business owners for the signing of legislation that immediately and substantially reduces fees that limited liability companies (LLCs) must pay in connection with their mandatory State filings. SB 867 reduces LLC fees to levels that match similar fees paid by corporations in Illinois. It provides much-needed relief for the small business owners who drive the Illinois economy. It also sends a clear message to those who provide jobs in our state that we want to ease their burden so they will come, remain and expand their businesses here.
Prior to the signing of the bill, Illinois was tied with Massachusetts for having the highest start-up fee in the country for LLCs. Entrepreneurs in this state were charged $500 to simply file paperwork to organize their new business. Moving forward, the LLC filing fee will be $150. Other fees were also among the highest in the country but will now be more in line with neighboring states. I believe this is a great step in the right direction, but there is much more work to be done to make Illinois a more business-friendly and jobs-friendly state. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to find more comprehensive measures that will provide tangible relief for small businesses across our state. I’m shown in the photo at the top of this article with State Representatives Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) and Carol Sente (D-Buffalo Grove), Governor Rauner, and Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), the Chief Sponsor of the bill.
Over 200 New Bills Take Effect in Illinois on January 1: What You Need to Know
With the arrival of the new year comes a series of new laws enacted by the State of Illinois. This year, over 200 new laws will take effect on January 1. These include bills for small technical corrections as well as major pieces of legislation. Click here to read a summary of these new laws which will be on the books next year. For more information on all the bills in the General Assembly, visit www.ilga.gov.
Lawmakers Attend Variety of Committee Hearings in December
Veto session concluded in early November and members of the General Assembly do not report back to Springfield until the second half of January. However, during these final weeks of 2017 there have been numerous committee, task force, and commission hearings on a variety of topics. Since Thanksgiving, I have attended several hearings, including meetings of the Appropriations-Human Services Committee, the Sexual Harassment Task Force, the Rare Disease Commission, a Department on Aging Task Force, and the Tourism, Hospitality & Craft Industries Committee. Most of these meetings have taken place in Chicago. These are important opportunities to explore and learn more about current issues in our State, and I look forward to continuing the discussions when we return to Springfield in January.
Energy and Heating Assistance Available to Qualifying Households through LIHEAP
Illinois’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps eligible low-income households pay for winter energy services. The program’s heat and electric assistance is a one-time benefit payment per heating season. The amount received depends upon household size, income and energy costs.
A household is eligible for heating assistance through LIHEAP if the combined income is at or below the levels shown in the accompanying chart. For more information on this program, click here.
Many Take Advantage of Prepayment Option for Property Taxes Due in 2018
Due to upcoming changes to the federal tax code in 2018, many taxpayers are pre-paying their property taxes for the 2017 tax year (due in 2018) this year. Speak with your financial adviser to determine if pre-payment will save you money.
The DuPage County’s Treasurer’s Office is accepting prepayments in an amount up to 105% of the last year’s tax obligation (2016 taxes paid in 2017) in the form of cash, check or credit card. Payment must be received in the office by 4:30 PM on Friday, December 29, 2017. The DuPage Treasurer’s Office is open from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM (closed on Christmas Day), and is located at 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton, 60187.
The Will County Treasurer’s Office has a long-standing policy in place that allows for prepayment of property taxes up to two years beyond the current tax year obligation. Payment in the form of cash, check or credit card must be received in their office by the close of business on Friday, December 29. Please note that simply postmarking a payment by the 29th is insufficient. The payment must be in-hand in the DuPage or Will County Treasurer’s Office by 4:30 PM on Friday, December 29. The Will County Treasurer’s Office is located at 302 North Chicago Street, Joliet, 60432. They are open 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM Monday through Friday (closed Christmas Day).
Tollway Director Provides Update for Chamber630
On December 15, Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov shared an informative update with the Chamber630 legislative committee about the tollway’s upcoming projects and legislative priorities. Transportation infrastructure is one of our key regional economic advantages, and I appreciate all the work being done by the tollway to enhance that infrastructure.
Due to the importance of adequate infrastructure, the Illinois Department of Transportation is asking the public to weigh in on our state’s transportation infrastructure condition. The deadline to participate in the survey is December 31. Click here to provide your input.
Family Shelter Service Provides Bright Holiday Season for more than 250 Families
Thanks to an incredible outpouring of community support this year, Family Shelter Service was able to serve over 250 families and ensure they have gifts for the holidays. Through the generosity of people from this area, gifts and toys and more than $13,000 in gift cards were donated to this year’s Holiday Shoppe. If you didn’t have a chance to support this cause, they could always use your donations. I’m pictured here at the Holiday Shoppe with Family Shelter Service’s Annual Giving Coordinator Mary Beth Glenn. A special thank you goes out to Holiday Shoppe sponsors Chicago Southwest Suburban Chi Omega Alumnae and Center for Vitality for your support.
David S. Olsen