I delayed sending my monthly President’s Message (for five days now) in hopes that I could report good news on the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner reaching a fiscally-sound comprise on the state’s first budget in three years, but…
On our nation’s birthday, the Senate voted to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of a House of Representative’s $36.1 billion budget that include income tax hikes on both businesses (from 5.25% to 7%) and individuals (from 3.75% to 4.95%). Without any tax increases, state revenues projected at only $31.5 billion.
Unfortunately, the political games—particularly between Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and Gov. Rauner—have continued well past the June 30 Fiscal Year End, despite the surprising June 29 resignation of Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, who felt wedged between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
As I forecasted in my May President’s Message, negotiations by both chamber with Gov. Rauner failed to reach a “Grand Bargain” on a state budget by the 100th Spring Session’s May 31 conclusion, requiring a three-fifths majority to pass bills in an extended session.
Instead of a simple majority, a budget plan now required Republican support to reach the 71 votes needed to pass out of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which adopted a resolution to remain in “continuous session” to work on a budget deal.
Stop-gap funding for social service agencies and state universities ran out January 1 and the state’s backlog of unpaid bills has now grown to $14.7 billion.
Last week, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed three budget-related bills negotiated with their Republicans counterparts that stalled in the House, although a revenue bill featuring an income tax hike and a new sale tax on business services meant to generate $5 billion in additional income cleared a House Committee earlier last week.
Illinois has now “operated” without a budget in place for more than 700 days.
Elmhurst Cycling Classic
Our Chamber is a Gift-In-Kind Sponsor of the DuPage Cycling Foundation-organized Fifth Annual Superior Ambulance Elmhurst Cycling Classic, which will return around the Elmhurst College campus on Friday, July 21, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Race organizers are seeking volunteers to work individually or as part of a fundraising group, with 2 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. the most needed times to fill.
If you can make it out to the event, Elmhurst Our Kind of Town will provide videotaped cable TV coverage on Comcast Channel 6 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99, with Ken Bartels of Community Bank of Elmhurst and yours truly serving as emcees.
New Chamber Website On Tap
Jennifer Speaker of SMB Advantage Group is completing work on the redesign and reformatting of the Chamber’s new responsive website, which will go live this month.
Explore Elmhurst Express Trolley
Since its June 2 start, the Explore Elmhurst Express Trolley—a 16-week summer program providing FREE rides to residents and visitors travelling between Elmhurst City Centre and the Spring Road and York and Vallette Business districts—has enjoyed increased ridership from 2016’s debut campaign.
Each Friday and Saturday from 12 noon to 12 midnight, the trolley connects those three business districts, with pick-ups and drop offs every 30 minutes at six street-signed locations, with convenient public parking available near each of the stops.
A special Holly Trolley will run this Friday and Saturday, July 7-8, from 12 noon to 6 p.m. to serve Elmhurst City Centre’s Christmas in July promotion.
Starting in downtown Elmhurst at York Street and Park Avenue on the hour and half hour, the trolley will move in five-minute intervals to stops at York and Schiller streets, Second Street and Addison Avenue, Cottage Hill and Virginia Street (Wilder Park), Spring Road and the Illinois Prairie Path, and then York and Vallette.
New for this year is a GPS “Trolley Tracker,” linked to the Explore Elmhurst website, that allows riders to find the trolley’s exact location along the route. Riders can also enter to win weekly prizes donation by Elmhurst businesses and organizations. For riders active on social media, they can share their trolley photos by tagging #ExploreElmhurst.
Six members are celebrating Chamber anniversaries in July, as follows: 45 years—Fruitful Yield; 20 years—Vital Signs USA; 15 years—Chicago Records Management; 10 years—Illinois Spinal Care of Elmhurst; and 5 years—Hamburger Jones, Simplex System Controls, United Community Concerns Association and York Township.
1911 Club, Home of the Elmhurst Knights of Columbus, Live Well Chiropractic, Peters & Associates reactivated their Chamber memberships in June.
No Longer Members
The Chamber said goodbye to the following eight members in June: Chiro One Wellness Center of Oak Brook, Elmhurst Garage Door Service, Engler Callaway Baasten & Straga, LLC, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, LaSalle St. Securities, LLC, Mathnasium of Elmhurst and Pie Five Pizza and The PrivateBank.