Crystal Lake, IL – As the right to keep and bear arms is necessary to the security of a free state and shall not be infringed, Representative Allen Skillicorn, a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, is sponsoring FREE Conceal and Carry Training. This training will be available to twelve (12) people in the 66th District on a first come, first service basis. Please email my office at skillicorn@ilhousegop.org or call 815-893-4884 and include your name, address, age and contact information--must be 21 years old to participate. Must respond no later than Friday, June 22!

Two 8 hour training sessions will take place on Saturday July 21 and 28 starting around 9:00am.  The final time and location will be communicated to the participants.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to acquire your CCW Training at no cost!

Crystal Lake, IL – Enough is enough! For Democrat members of the General Assembly to be taken seriously, they must demand that Speaker Madigan resign as another #MeToo scandal erupts. This time it is his Chief of Staff, Tim Mapes. 
A childhood game, “hot and cold,” comes to mind:

•    High profile Democratic Senator Ira Silverstein--Warm
•    Two top lieutenants in Madigan’s political organization--Warmer
•    A domestic battery allegation Speaker Madigan says he can’t recall--Hot
•    Deputy Democratic Majority Leader Lou Lang—Hotter
•    Madigan Chief of Staff, Tim Mapes—On Fire!

Just how many women overcoming their fear and stepping forward to confront the most powerful politicians in the Democratic Majority does it take, before rank and file Democrats recognize the corruption of their leadership and call for Speaker Madigan’s resignation? Will all of the female members who surrounded Leader Lang finally awaken to the stark reality that their “champions of women’s rights” have been revealed as harassers and bullies? Was their “historic” vote to ratify the long expired ERA merely symbolic for political purposes? Will they take action to end the abuse or merely ignore the pattern that has been brought to light? 

The answers will be made obvious in the coming days. Either the Democrats will clean up their house, starting at the top, or the Majority will be revealed for who they really are—champions of power at any cost, no matter how many women they have to step over to keep it. 


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Springfield, IL. – In Illinois nothing is secure. With a sleight of hand, $630 million of overspending is disguised as a “constitutionally balanced budget,” and the transportation “lock box” is picked for a $180 million transfer to Chicago, ultimately destine for the Obama edifice called a library funded on the backs of taxpayers.
Without the official constitutionally mandated revenue estimate, it is anyone’s guess as to how much overspending was just passed, however the Commission on Government Financial Accountability (COGFA) estimated revenue for the 2019 Fiscal Year at $37.87 billion. And while COGFA has been historically high in its estimate, I’ll take that as a best guess.  So taking the approved spending of $38.5 billion less the estimated revenue of $37.87 billion, using Representative Martwick’s calculator he so generously distributed to members, I get about $630 million in overspending.
According to some estimates, Illinois has not had a constitutionally balanced budget since 2001, leaving 2018 as another year where the only thing the Democratic Majority appears to be consistent at is leading the state further into the ground. Lest you think that is an exaggeration, keep in mind that the audited financial report since 2008 graphically illustrates Illinois’ demise.
The tragic part about all of this is it doesn’t have to be this way. With serious reforms Illinois could recover, but time is running out.

 Links above in order:

Wirepoints: Illinois, One Chart Shows How You're Being Lied To Again About This Budget Being 'Balanced' - Wirepoints Original
Springfield, IL – Another session draws to a close, leaving in its wake the continued devastation of Illinois families. After permanently hiking our flat income tax by 32%, the Democratic Majority passed a resolution calling for even higher taxes in the form of a progressive income tax. Day after day bills are passed penalizing businesses, manufacturing mandates and creating onerous regulations, dictated from atop the Capitol mount causing the moving vans to start their engines.

Real reform with real relief must be forthcoming before even more Illinoisans become Hoosiers, Wisconsinites, or Minnesotans. Here are just a few of the bills I have introduced to do so:

•    Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the nation driving families out of their homes. Recently the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago proposed a 1% property tax increase to pay for the bloated unfunded pension liability estimated at upwards of $250 billion. How about solving the pension crisis with 401K-style retirement accounts for public employees (HB4060), eliminating pensions for new members of the General Assembly (HB363) and a constitutional 1% hard cap on property taxes (HJRCA45) instead.  For those that gasp at the thought, take a look at Indiana. They seem to be doing just fine.
•    There are some estimates that government spending has increased as much as 25 times faster than personal income over the last decade. Government spending needs a speed brake, HJRCA38 amends the Finance Article of the Illinois Constitution to tie spending to the growth of the Illinois economy.
•    People have a right to earn a living (HB3319) and a right to work (HB672) without being forced into associations they do not freely choose.
•    As our property values continue to experience volatility, taxing bodies raise their levies with impunity. HB824 would limit the taxing body’s ability to levy based on the valuation of our properties. HB2727 would apply the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to all taxing districts.
•    For those who spent a lifetime saving for their retirement, it is inexcusable to now tax their income. HJRCA44 amends the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution and provides that there shall be no tax imposed by the State upon retirement income.

And finally, HB475 would implement Term Limits for the General Assembly. It is painfully obvious that no one should be able to spend over 30 years gathering power and ruling unchallenged over a state of 12 million people, as Speaker Madigan has done.

Rep. Allen Skillicorn is encouraging kids to read this summer by joining his Summer Reading Club. 

Students in kindergarten through 5th grade are encouraged to read over the summer. For a little extra incentive, those who complete 8 or more books will be recognized at a special ice cream party just for them. 

For more information, call the district office at (815) 893-4884 or download the brochure.

Springfield, IL - Fresh off reports of a recent proposal by three economists of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago recommending a 1% property tax levy on the actual value of all Illinois homes to pay for state pensions, I am introducing House Resolution 1091 (HR1091) calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve System.


Enough is enough! Despite having some of the highest property taxes in the nation, the Chicago Fed has the audacity to recommend a massive property tax hike to pay for Illinois’ unsustainable pensions on the backs of middle class taxpayers who are already taxed enough.



I am calling on my colleagues to co-sponsor HR1091 in support of U. S. Congressional H.R. 24, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2017.



Currently the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is prohibited by law from auditing four areas of the Federal Reserve:



•    Transactions for or with a foreign central bank, government of a foreign country, or no private international financing organization;


•    Deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters, including discount window operations, reserves of member banks, securities credit, interest on deposits, and open market operations;


•    Transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; or


•    A part of a discussion or communication among or between members of the Board and officers and employees of the Federal Reserve System.



The “Audit the Fed” bill would remove these four exemptions and is supported by nearly 75 percent of the American people.



The economic trio of the Chicago Fed offer three options as their only solution—increase sales taxes, income taxes or property taxes.  How about three of my own: restructure government spending; amend the Illinois Constitution to end the pension protection scheme; or have government employees contribute more to their retirement–no economics degree required.



It is beyond ironic that as a part of the Federal Reserve—a major contributor to the circumstances that caused the Great Recession by keeping interest rates too low for too long, along with crushing those on fixed incomes and savers with Zero Interest Rate Policy for a decade--the Chicago Fed looks to Illinois homeowners to once again bail out reckless government spending. Time to Audit the Fed!
As opposed to cutting expenses and rooting out waste, Springfield once again discusses another tax on the already burdened citizens of Illinois to "solve" a funding issue.  This time it's gas tax hikes, as if the people don't already pay double at the pump--sales tax and motor fuel tax. The following from the Heartland Institute offers a compelling counter-argument: 
Hiking Illinois’ Gas Tax Will Not Solve the State’s Transportation Funding Problem 
Funding transportation projects has become a major problem for Illinois, as it has for many other states. In 2017, Illinois passed its first budget in years, yet the record $5 billion income tax hike did not include basic funds for infrastructure. Traditionally, Illinois has funded new infrastructure projects through a separate capital bill, which generates a different series of dedicated funds and liabilities for the state. The last capital bill in Illinois passed in 2009, when state legislators allocated $31 billion for infrastructure projects.
 Now, several proposals to generate new funds for Illinois’ transportation network have been put forward by organizations across the state. One plan introduced by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (IEPI) would move the state in the wrong direction by increasing the state’s motor fuel tax to $0.85–$1.00, up from the current gas tax rate of 34 cents per gallon, which ranked 11th-highest among all states in 2017, according to the Tax Foundation.
 IEPI’s proposed hike would make Illinois’ gas tax the highest in the nation, at least one-and-a-half times Pennsylvania’s 58-cents-per-gallon rate – the highest in 2017. The IEPI proposal would also increase Illinois’ annual vehicle registration fee from $101 to $578. Another of the plan’s misguided ideas is a vehicle-miles-traveled fee of 4–5 cents per mile.
 One of the main reasons Illinois’ gas taxes are amongst the highest in the nation is Illinois is one of only seven states that also applies a sales tax to gasoline purchases, which is added on top of state and local motor fuel taxes. In 2011, residents in the Prairie State paid the third-highest combined local, state, and federal gas tax in the nation.
 Any proposal that would increase Illinois’ gas tax ignores the mounting evidence showing gasoline levies are a regressive form of taxation that shortchange transportation networks. In recent years, the rise of fuel-efficient cars has decreased motor-fuel-tax coffers and disproportionately shifted the burden to low-income drivers, a group that typically owns older, less-fuel-efficient vehicles.
 On the other side of the debate, the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) argues legislators should consider the inflated costs of public construction projects in Illinois before they hike taxes or fees. Austin Berg, a writer for IPI, points to Illinois’ high workers’ compensation costs – Illinois has the highest workers’ compensation costs in the Midwest – and prevailing-wage requirements as key cost drivers for Illinois transportation projects. As an example, Berg compared Illinois to Indiana and found Indiana’s average workers’ compensation insurance premium costs made up only four percent of an average payroll, compared to 22 percent in Illinois.
 It is not practical to increase taxes or fees on households that are already cash-strapped. A tax hike would raise prices on goods and services throughout the economy, not just on gasoline because virtually all consumer goods are transported using gasoline-powered transportation. Businesses will simply pass the added costs on to consumers.
 Illinois should explore more modern and efficient methods to fund road construction and other infrastructure projects. Illinois lawmakers ought to consider options such as privatizing roads or establishing toll systems. In several cities, transportation agencies are also implementing congestion pricing – varying toll prices based on congestion – to manage demand and limit traffic problems. A similar approach in the notoriously congested streets of Chicago is another viable option Illinois policymakers should carefully consider instead of simply increasing the already onerous taxes on Windy City residents and commuters.

The Pet Adoption Fair that was scheduled for Saturday, April 21, has been cancelled.
We are rescheduling for later this year and will let you know the new date as soon as possible where caring people can rescue pets and offer them loving homes.
As a volunteer for Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus, I urge people to “Never Shop, Always Adopt!”
Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) gave a shout out Tuesday on the House floor to all Hustle Up the Hancock participants.
Skillicorn used his point of personal privilege to acknowledge fellow representatives who attended the annual winter fitness fundraiser Feb. 25 at the John Hancock Center in Chicago, which has been held for 21 years and raised more than $16 million for lung disease treatment and research.
“Sunday was the Hustle Up the Hancock and I heard a couple other legislators joined us that do the stairs,” Skillicorn said, pointing to Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview). Skillicorn also mentioned other lawmakers including Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Hillside) and Rep. Kelly Burke (D- Oak Lawn) and said, "If I forgot someone, please feel free to shout and let us know.”
Skillicorn said the “good cause” that brought together the legislators regardless of political party promotes a positive atmosphere.
“I also want to point out that many state employees and state aides did the similar event here at the Wyndham and say that people who sweat together can work together,” Skillicorn said.
Join the Kane County Farm Bureau for their 13th annual Touch-A-Tractor event. This family friendly event will feature new and antique tractors and farm equipment, as well as raffles and activities for all ages.

What:
Touch-A-Truck

When:
April 6th-8th
Friday, 12pm-4pm
Saturday, 10am-4pm
Sunday, 10am-3pm

Where:
Kane County Farm Buraeu
2N710 Randall Road
St. Charles, IL 60174
Tomorrow at noon, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his annual Budget Address. The address will provide a blueprint to the General Assembly of how the Governor would like to see the state appropriate taxpayer dollars. 

You can watch it live online, Click Here.
Before you pick a "free" tax filing software, make sure you know which options will actually be free for you. The IRS provides an easy to use tool to help you find a tax filing service that may allow you to file both your Federal and State tax returns for free.

If your adjusted gross income was $66,000 or less in 2017, you will find one or more free software options available through Free File at IRS.gov. Review each company's offer to make sure you qualify for your free federal return. 

Some companies offer free state tax returns; some charge a fee. For more information, Click Here to see software offers and detailed information on company websites. The following states provide a free state tax return in partnership with private software companies via the Free File Alliance: AR, AZ, DC, GA, IA, ID, IN, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NY, OR, RI, SC, VA, VT, WV. All the listed tax software companies provide a free federal return to active military personnel with an AGI of $66,000 or less.
Whether scam artists use your information to file tax returns in hopes of getting your refund or pose as IRS agents and threaten legal action if payments aren’t immediately made – there are preventative steps you can take to ensure a smooth tax season. The Illinois CPA Society outlines key points than can help you avoid becoming a target and what to do if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam.

Tax ID Theft Warning Signs
The IRS estimates that recent crackdowns in 2016 on ID theft scams stopped more than 785,000 fraudulent returns, but that $239 million in “suspect” refunds were paid out. Tax ID theft is still very prevalent and some warning signs to look for if you think you may be a victim are:
  • Your electronically filed tax return is rejected because a return with your SSN already has been filed. 
  • Receiving a letter from the IRS asking for confirmation on submission of a tax return being held for review. 
  • Being informed by the IRS that that records of wages were received from an employer that you did not work for. 


Today at noon, Governor Rauner will deliver his State of the State Address.

You can watch it live online, Click Here.
The map below shows in stark contrast that other than the most prosperous areas in downtown Chicago and the North Shore, Illinoisans are struggling to make ends meet. With so little prosperity, middle class families in the red regions would be hurt the worst by any new utopian tax scheme, such as the progressive income tax.

While the headlines occasionally flare with the latest fight over some large corporation locating in the Chicago area, the rest of Illinois is left to compete with surrounding states for what little business they can attract. If you were the head of a large corporation or manufacturer looking for a new location to set up your business, would you even consider coming to a state with only a thousand square miles of prosperity surrounding Chicago? FoxConn didn’t, and I suspect Amazon won’t either.
Hustle Up the Hancock takes place on Sunday, February 25, 2018 and is Chicago’s premiere winter fitness event. Each year more than 4,000 people climb to the top of the John Hancock Center to raise funds for Respiratory Health Association’s lung disease and clean air education, research and policy change efforts.

Some climb for the individual fitness accomplishment. Others dedicate their efforts to honor or remember a loved one. More than 55% of our participants indicated they or someone they know has been touched by asthma, COPD, lung cancer or other lung diseases.
The Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, “Invest in Kids,” provides a 75 percent Illinois state income tax credit to individuals and corporations that contribute money to a non-profit Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO). The SGOs award scholarships to eligible students from low-income families. These scholarships allow schools across the state to provide quality educations to young students who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend the quality school of their parents choosing.

Through this program:
  • An individual or corporation will receive a 75 percent credit on donations to an SGO. For example, if a person donates $100,000, they will receive a state tax credit of $75,000. 
  • Individual donors can designate their donations to a specific SGO. 
  • The credit can be rolled over for five years. 
  • Donors are prohibited from receiving a federal tax deduction for these donations. 
  • The program is capped at $100 million in donations, resulting in $75 million in total tax credits issued.