CHICAGO - Every year, northwest Chicago-area motorists pay millions of dollars in state gas taxes for road salt, snowplow repair, patching potholes and other road projects and maintenance. After much back and forth between members of the legislature and the governor, that money will finally be returning back to where it belongs.

“This is money that the people of Cook County paid to maintain their communities,” said state Sen. John Mulroe, a Chicago Democrat who represents parts of the city and other northwest suburbs in the Illinois Senate. “With the onset of winter, municipalities are going to start experiencing very harsh conditions that deteriorate infrastructure.”

In 2014, Chicago received more than $66,734,774 in gas tax money. Local governments throughout the 10th District received more than $5.1 million in gas tax money last year.

Other area communities received the following amounts in 2014:

District 10 Motor Fuel Tax Breakdown

The Motor Fuel tax, like other forms of state revenue, requires official authorization in order to spend it. The house voted on a similar bill, SB 2046, and it passed, but not before it was stalled in that chamber. Following last week’s leaders meeting, the house reconvened and passed another effort to get these funds back to the districts that they are owed.

“The unfortunate circumstances of the last five months could have been avoided had Governor Rauner worked with the General Assembly rather than veto the entire budget,” Mulroe said. “The good news is that $3.1 billion is going out the door to help Illinoisans everywhere, from lottery winners to adults seeking continuing education.”

The legislation – SB 2039 – passed today with a 53-0 vote, and now goes to the governor.

Category: Frontpage

Senator Mulroe discussing legislation on the floorSPRINGFIELD – As many state and federal workers prepare for a work holiday on Wednesday to support Veterans Day, many veterans do not have the option to take the day off created in their honor. Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago) is looking to change that.


“Every year, men and women who fought hard for our country’s freedom are required to work a holiday that was created specifically to honor them,” Mulroe says. “That’s just not right, and I think that as a state Illinois can better serve the people who served in the armed forces.”


Under the new legislation, veterans would have the option of taking the November holiday off if they otherwise would have had to work, receiving paid leave. Their employers would need a documented request for the absence. Only Oregon and Iowa currently have similar laws; Minnesota and the U.S. Congress are currently considering similar measures.


“This proposal is a win-win situation, because it doesn’t require a veteran to take the day off, but empowers them through state statute to do so if they wish,” Mulroe says. “We are also looking to protect the employers by placing safeguards in, making this pro-veteran and pro-business.”


Employees who are veterans would not have to take the holiday off; however, they would be required to give 30 calendar days’ notice to their employer that they intend to take the time off and would be required to provide documentation to the employer that they are indeed a veteran.


If the employer would not be able to award the time off due to significant economic or operational disruption, the employer would need to notify the employee within 14 calendar days prior to the holiday and make a good faith effort to award an alternate paid vacation day. In addition, the legislation would create a tax credit for employers for 100 percent of wages paid.


The measure was introduced in the Senate on October 20.

Category: Frontpage

Senators Mulroe, Steans and Hastings address a witness during committeeCHICAGO – The Senate Appropriations I Committee, chaired by Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) and the Senate Public Health Committee, chaired by Sen. John Mulroe (D-Chicago 10th) held a joint hearing today to consider testimony on the public health risks caused by the lack of a state budget.

“Who can argue that public health is not an essential duty of state government?” Mulroe said. “Under the constitution and as elected officials, we are obligated to ensure that the health and safety of the people is protected.  Public health should not be jeopardized by the governor’s obsession with an anti-union and anti-middle class agenda.”

Each year, the state distributes millions in grants to local public health agencies to fund critical community health services: vaccinations, education on topics such as how to care for a newborn or quit smoking, restaurant inspections and more. These resources also allow local authorities to respond quickly and effectively to outbreaks of disease.

Without a budget in place, these Local Health Protection Grants are unavailable this year. Lawmakers on the two committees learned about the challenges faced by under-funded local health departments and considered legislation (Senate Bill 2178) that would release $17.1 million for the grants. Steans, Mulroe, Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) and several public health advocates and professionals also spoke to the press before the start of the hearing.

“As budget negotiations continue, policymakers still have a responsibility to maintain essential services and ensure that communities across the state are ready to respond to public health emergencies,” Steans said. “Local public health grants make up a relatively small portion of the overall budget, but releasing these funds will make a critical difference.”

Category: Frontpage

Senator Mulroe meets with Victoria Prince and other studentsSPRINGFIELD – Students from across the state visited the state capitol building today to encourage legislators to fully fund the higher education and MAP Grant line items for the FY16 budget. Victoria Prince is a University of Illinois student from Chicago. As a MAP Grant recipient, she was one of the students on hand today at the capitol to explain her need for MAP grants.

“My freshman year I received almost $5,000 from the MAP Grant,” Prince said. “It really helped me afford school and I don’t think I would have selected to stay in state without it. I know a lot of stories about how tuition out of state is better just because they have more financial aid than Illinois is currently providing; so that’s why I think higher education is so important, to keep a lot of students in Illinois and keep up Illinois’ economy.”

State colleges and universities have been fronting the bill for MAP Grants for the first semester of the school year, but college and university presidents have advised the General Assembly that their facilities can no longer shoulder that burden as they move into the spring semester.

Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) was an early advocate for higher education funding in the spring.

“As the son of an immigrant, I understand first-hand how difficult it is to pay for higher education,” Mulroe said. “Unfortunately, times have changed and you simply cannot work and go to college anymore. These kids are working two to three jobs on top of the financial aid they receive. We can’t break our promise to them.”

The General Assembly passed HB 4146, but the measure was vetoed by the governor. A second funding measure, SB2043 remains in the House.

 

Click below for audio from Victoria Prince.

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Office Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 10th District
127 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1035
(217) 782-2331 FAX
 
District Office:
5940 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 763-3810
(773) 763-3881 FAX