Representative Dan Swanson’s March 15 Capitol News Update


  • Calling for reform during Ethics Awareness Month
  • Protecting jobs for workers with developmental and intellectual disabilities
  • New report shows some increased revenue for the state in February
  • More news

Calling for reform during Ethics Awareness Month

March is Ethics Awareness Month, a time to renew our call for fighting corruption in government. This year’s commemoration comes right around the second anniversary of the federal indictment of former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan on a list of corruption charges. Madigan will stand trial this fall. Several alleged co-conspirators and other figures tied to the scheme have already been convicted.

House Republicans have been filing common sense ethics reform bills for years, only to have them ignored, even while more and more corruption scandals come to light. This year, House Republican Leader Tony McCombie has introduced House Bill 4119 which would ban elected officials from using their campaign accounts to pay legal fees for criminal defense.

The bill comes in response to former Speaker Madigan using millions in campaign funds to help pay for his legal defense. The legislation is one of about a dozen reform bills filed by Republicans this year, which we will continue to advocate for as the session goes on. Illinois has seen too many state and local officials got to jail for corruption. We need to start cleaning up our state government.

Protecting jobs for workers with developmental and intellectual disabilities

Last week several advocates for Illinois workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities gathered at the Capitol in opposition to legislation which could put their jobs at risk if it were to become law.

House Bill 793 would require the workshops which employ many of these Illinoisans to pay the minimum wage, but without offering the workshops any kind of financial assistance or any way of picking up the extra costs. Illinois should support these workers, but this approach is deeply flawed and will have negative consequences for the people it claims to help.

My colleague, Rep. Charlie Meier of Okawville is a longtime advocate for workers with disabilities. He said, “We need to create opportunities before we close others. These clients need the dignity of having a job as this legislation could result in over 3500 jobs lost for folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities: that’s about three-fourths of these jobs currently filled. We must work on this bill. We need to make some changes. We want to keep everybody with their job and maintain the chance of having a job.”

Current law allows Illinoisans with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work for a subminimum wage, providing them with job opportunities and allowing service providers to offer efficient services to disabled individuals.  You can see the full set of remarks here.

New report shows some increased revenue for the state in February

Information from the Department of Revenue about the overall revenue picture remains mixed. Their latest report suggests that revenue to the state went up in February, but that all of the gains came from two specific line items that may not be all that reliable in the future.

In February the state had an increase of $123 million in personal income tax payments and $24 million in corporate income tax payments. These figures are compared to receipts from February 2023. That these areas were the source of the improvement indicates that Illinois’ budget picture is very dependent on the state’s ability to create new jobs and payroll growth. In January the state’s unemployment rate declined by a tenth of a percentage point, and our unemployment rate trails behind the national rate and the rate in all five neighboring states.

Illinois had 6,155,700 nonfarm payroll jobs in February, a net change of 0.0% from the month before.

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