State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) has signed on as Chief Co-Sponsor of House Resolution 766, a resolution that voices opposition to taxing Illinois drivers per mile traveled. HR 766 was filed this week in anticipation of new legislation that attempts to do just that. 

In 2016, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) proposed the new tax on miles traveled on public, non-tolled Illinois roads using GPS tracking technology and a Chicago Daily Herald article stated that the sponsor of the new tax wanted Illinois to be the first state in the union to make the changes statewide and that the concept is inevitable.


“Previous statements about this new tax have prompted this Resolution. The vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax would bring financial burden to Illinoisans and make our state even less competitive. Rural residents, especially, would be hit hard because of the longer miles driven between home and work,” said Representative Bourne. She added, “The privacy issue is yet another reason that this type of legislation is bad for Illinois.” 

One previously proposed plan, which would impose a fee of 1.5¢ per mile driven, would report miles traveled on public, non-tolled Illinois roads by using GPS tracking technology in a smartphone app or a tracking device similar to the I-Pass (or EZ-Pass). With this tracking, individuals would be monitored to calculate how many miles were driven in Illinois each month. Another plan would impose a fee of 1.5¢ per mile driven, based on monthly odometer readings instead of GPS tracking technology, and another would plan would be a flat rate plan of an annual fee of $450. 

Illinoisans currently pay over 34 cents per gallon in state and federal taxes for gasoline.
Following the announcement of planned power plant closures, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) will be holding hearings statewide to discuss the current downstate electricity-distribution system and what can be done to ensure downstate electricity reliability. The ICC will be holding a hearing in Hillsboro this Tuesday, January 16, 2018, from 1-2 p.m., at the Montgomery County Courthouse, #1 Courthouse Square, in the old court room on the second floor. The hearing is open to the public.
 
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and other local leaders will be in attendance, as well as representatives from Dynegy, the largest downstate energy producer. Dynegy owns the Coffeen Power Plant and an additional seven other power plants in central and southern Illinois.
 
The company has stated that under downstate Illinois' current electricity-distribution system, it may have to close at least four power plants by 2021 or sooner. The economic impact of these closures would mean the loss of almost 550 jobs and threaten approximately 4,000 indirect jobs.
 
“I would like to encourage people to attend this hearing and be informed on this issue that is vitally important to our area’s economy. I have introduced legislation, House Bill 4141, to prevent plant closures by reducing the competitive disadvantage faced by downstate energy producers,” stated State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond). She added, “But public input is needed, as well, to ensure that downstate communities and energy consumers benefit from the changes proposed to restructure the market.”
 
Bourne’s bill is a result of meetings with Dynegy Inc. and is currently in the beginning stages of the legislative process.  
 
If unable to attend the hearing, there is a website where community members can submit comments - www.powerillinoisjobs.com. If you have further questions or would like more information, please call Representative Bourne’s District Office in Litchfield at (217) 324-5200.
Did you know that January is "National Blood Donor Month"?

Donating regularly is a good way to ensure that blood is available in an emergency for someone in need. The need for blood donors is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable supply.

You’ll feel good knowing you've helped change a life!
Below is a link that you can use to find all the blood drive in your area:
 
http://www.redcrossblood.org/rcbmobile/drive/driveSearch.jsp