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State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) commends the recent efforts by the Governor and Comptroller to approve and use proceeds from Illinois' recent General Obligation bond sale to begin paying down a major portion of the state's current $16.7 billion backlog. This move stops the clock on a mountain of interest payments accruing on Illinois' late bills, some dating back to 2015.

“After years of fiscal mismanagement, it’s important that the state look realistically at our situation and assess what can be done,” said Bourne. She added, “The sale of bonds to stop the accrued interest is a step in the right direction. The next step is to control spending and look at how we as a state can grow our economy. Illinois can’t continue down the same failed path of unbalanced budget after unbalanced budget. We need planning and the stability that it brings.”

The Comptroller’s office estimates that the state owes $900 million in late payment interest penalties on its bill backlog. The bond sale effectively refinances future interest costs on the state's existing debt, saving taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade.

These payments will help to stop the bleeding of late payment interest penalties on this portion of the backlog. There is still a long, hard road ahead of us, but this is a vital first step toward smart planning for FY2019 and beyond.

In total, the Office of the Comptroller expects to receive about $6.48 billion in bond proceeds, including a $480 million premium from the sale on top of the $6 billion initially offered, an indicator of the strong market demand for the bonds.

Through the use of federal matching funds, it is expected this will turn a $6.48 billion bond offering into a nearly $9 billion investment which initially targets our state's struggling healthcare system and medical providers, many of whom have had to turn to third parties for loans just to stay afloat.
According to the Office of Management and Budget, the state of Illinois’s fiscal year 2018 budget is out of balance by $1.7 billion. State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), who voted against the out-of-balance budget believes that the imbalance could have been avoided through tough financial decision making, structural reforms, and a true, fair budget-making process.
 
“Clearly, the path that we continue to follow- passing unbalanced budgets, is not working for the state of Illinois. We will never dig ourselves out of this fiscal mess if we continue the culture of overspending without any meaningful reforms,” said Representative Bourne. “I am also opposed to the permanent income tax increase that this budget relied upon. It will not solve our long-term problems and is not the way to grow our economy.”
 
The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Policy Report presents a five-year economic outlook based on the budget along with state and national growth forecasts. The GOMB compiles the report, which is available for public view at https://www.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Pages/PolicyReports.aspx.

In the report, GOMB Director Scott Harry asserts that with stronger economic growth accompanied by spending controls, Illinois could achieve budget surpluses and reduce its bill backlog to an estimated $500 million by the end of fiscal year 2023.

Enacting the republican 2018 budget proposals, according to Harry, would have saved the state enough to balance this year’s budget. The plan proposed savings through reforms in government group health insurance programs ($600 million); Medicaid ($525 million); and issuing revenue rather than general obligation bonds to pay down the state’s bill backlog ($60 million in interest this year, and $390 million over the 12-year life of the bond).

“Balancing the budget and enacting reforms would let us grow the economy, control spending, pay down our debt, and invest in jobs,” Harry said. “It is time for the political leaders of our state to come together to build long-term fiscal stability so we can expand our economy,” he added. “The only way to resolve our fiscal issues is to grow the economy faster than our spending.”



On Thursday, the Illinois House voted on a piece of legislation labeled by many as a gun control measure. House Bill 4117, would have, among other provisions, outlawed all trigger modification devices intended to accelerate a firearm’s rate of fire. State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) voted against the bill, which failed to pass in the House. 

“This bill was another example of a knee-jerk response to a complex issue. We will not curb gun violence by further regulating and criminalizing those who responsibly and legally own and use firearms. House Bill 4117 would have made felons out of 40 to 50 percent of our law-abiding gun owners," Bourne said. She added, “The bill was both an infringement on our Second Amendment rights and a disservice to those concerned with the proliferation of violence and illegal gun activity in our society.”

Proponents of the bill acknowledged that the legislation was drafted in response to the events that took place in Las Vegas.

The bill needed 2/3rds majority (or 71 votes) in order to pass and failed 48-54. Not dissuaded by this setback, Illinois Democrats have filed another so-called assault weapons ban and have advanced a restrictive and duplicative gun dealer licensing bill to the House floor for a final vote in the near future.
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) announced on Thursday that she signed on as a co-sponsor of HB 4114. This bill, by prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion, seeks to reverse key provisions of the recently enacted House Bill 40. House Bill 40 was recently signed into law in Illinois, legalizing taxpayer funded abortions at any stage of pregnancy for any reason. 

"I am pushing for the House to consider this bill and vote on it during the upcoming fall veto session before HB40 becomes effective at the start of 2018," Bourne said. "The majority of Illinoisans are strongly opposed to their taxpayer dollars funding abortion. This new bill, HB 4114 will end that unconscionable use of tax dollars."

Bourne says the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" is based on the model of the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions other than in cases of rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother. Abortions under these circumstances constitute roughly 1% of all abortions. Federal law already requires states to provide Medicaid abortions under these three conditions, and the proposed Act recognizes those federal provisions.

Additionally, while the federal government typically matches a state’s Medicaid expenses, it will not do so for elective abortions. Based on the estimated direct cost to the state of $30 million for abortions, the true impact to the Medicaid system is actually double that, $60 million in lost medical services.
House Leader Jim Durkin announced that he is appointing Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) to fill seats in a recently established task force that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. A new law, sponsored by Bourne, created the task force to study the costs and benefits of using the latest scrubber technology to allow Illinois coal mined in our home state to be burned here as well.

“Coal is one of Illinois’ most abundant resources. We should be able to utilize that resource here,” said Representative Bourne. “Through this taskforce we are working to take a different approach that promotes clean coal and good-paying jobs.”

The vast majority of Illinois coal is being sold and burned out of state because of the sulfur content, which burns off at a higher rate than federal and state air quality standards allow. A way to prevent, or reduce, sulfur escaping into the air when the coal is being burned is to install costly “scrubbers” that help remove sulfur before leaving the stack.
 
This newly formed bipartisan task force’s members’ primary responsibility is to study the costs and benefits of the construction of new stacks or conversion of existing stacks at coal-fired power plants with flue gas desulfurization scrubber technology. The task force’s work begins immediately and they will be reporting their findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.


Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) issued the following statement after Governor Rauner’s press conference today announcing that he will sign House Bill 40, making the legislation law.

“Allowing state taxpayer dollars to pay for elective abortions is unconscionable. I was strongly opposed to House Bill 40 and am extremely disappointed that Governor Rauner plans to sign it into law. It has been a longstanding policy in Illinois and in our nation that we should not require our citizens to pay for abortions. House Bill 40 requires Illinois citizens pay for abortions for those on Medicaid and for state employees through the full nine months of pregnancy, for any reason. I wholeheartedly disagree with this legislation and will work for its repeal.”


Governor Rauner was at Blackburn College on Tuesday signing legislation into law that changes the way intoxicated minors are processed and ultimately released. This new law, Sponsored in the Illinois House by Representative Bourne, stems from the tragic death of a local young man, Conor Vesper.
Attending the signing, are from L-R: Alice Vesper (mother), Hannah Vesper (sister), Senator Andy Manar, Governor Bruce Rauner, Jack Vesper (father), Lori Zenner (family friend), Representative Avery Bourne, and John Comerford (President of Blackburn College).

Mark your calendars!  
Representative Avery Bourne will be holding an Open House at her new Litchfield District Office, 207 North State Street, on Monday, October 16th. The Representative is inviting citizens from the district to drop by and meet her and her staff. Open House hours will be held from 8:30am to 10am and later in the day from 1pm to 3pm. Coffee and donuts will be provided for morning guests.

In an effort to save state dollars, Bourne only operates one district office in Litchfield (central location) and holds monthly Traveling Office Hours in Carlinville and Taylorville to help increase access for constituents in such a large district. The 95th District includes Montgomery County, much of Christian and Macoupin Counties, and a small section of Madison County.
“Everyone is welcome at our Open House. Please stop by, see where our new office is located, and say ‘Hello’,” said Bourne. “If you need assistance or information about state programs, we would be happy to help. We take pride in our constituent service and the ability to help individuals navigate state government.” 

The new office is located in downtown Litchfield, just off of the south-west side of the square and is open to constituents.  Normal office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

What's Coming Up?

September 26th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville at Congressman Rodney Davis' Office, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R from 10:30am to 1pm.

October 10th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Carlinville at Carlinville City Hall, 550 North Broad from 10:30am to 1pm.

October 10th, Tuesday- Extended Office Hours (open until 6pm) at our current District Office, 301 N. Monroe in Litchfield.

October 16th, Monday- Open House at our new District Office, 207 N. State St. in Litchfield from 8:30am to 10am and from 1pm to 3pm. Refreshments will be served.

October 31st, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville at Congressman Rodney Davis' Office, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R from 10:30am to 1pm.


November 14th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Carlinville at Carlinville City Hall, 550 North Broad from 10:30am to 1pm.

November 21st, Tuesday- Extended Office Hours (open until 6pm) at our new District Office, 207 N. State St. in Litchfield.

November 28th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville at Congressman Rodney Davis' Office, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R from 10:30am to 1pm.
 
December 5th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Carlinville at Carlinville City Hall, 550 North Broad from 10:30am to 1pm.

December 12th, Tuesday- Extended Office Hours (open until 6pm) at our new District Office, 207 N. State St. in Litchfield.

December 19th, Tuesday- Traveling Office Hours in Taylorville at Congressman Rodney Davis' Office, 108 West Market Street, in the US Bank Building on Floor 2R from 10:30am to 1pm.
On July 29 the credit rating company Equifax was victim to a data breach that jeopardizes the sensitive and personal information of 5.4 million Illinois residents. Information stolen in this breach are: social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, names, addresses and date of births. The Illinois Attorney General’s office is now investigating this cyber-attack.
 
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from having your identity stolen. First, you can place a freeze on your credit. Most credit freezes cost $10 each and you may have to pay a fee to unfreeze your credit. Some exceptions apply to senior citizens who are 65 years old or older, and to active military members.

Second, inspect your credit reports and all financial statements. You should contact your financial institution immediately if you find an unauthorized charge on your account(s).

Third, do not open or answer any emails you may receive from any unknown senders who are threatening or trying to coerce information from you about the Equifax data breach. Those emails are scams.

You will receive a letter in the mail from Equifax if your credit card number has been stolen. They will not email.

Finally, please contact Equifax at 866-447-7559 or visit their website
www.equifaxsecurity2017.com if you any questions. You may also contact the IL Attorney General’s office at 1-866-999-5630 or visit her website at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.