04252017CM1305rPLAINFIELD- In light of the most recent spate of chaos created by Gov. Bruce Rauner, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is calling for a pause on the award of tax credits to scholarship donors.

“If our schools are not receiving state funding, scholarship donors should not receive tax rebates on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Bertino-Tarrant, chairwoman of the Senate’s education committee.  “It is concerning that the tax program is up and running while our schools have not received funding or even been informed how many state dollars they can count on for the next school year.”

Funding clarity has been denied to public schools because Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 444, a technical piece of legislation previously requested by the governor’s administration to help clarify and quickly implement school funding reform. His veto of the measure will do just the opposite of that.

“The chaos and uncertainty created by the governor’s administration is mind-boggling,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “If there was an issue with this legislation, Governor Rauner should have made it known months ago instead of sitting on his hands until the last possible minute.”

In November, the House and Senate worked quickly to address the governor’s concerns regarding the education funding overhaul which passed with bipartisan support, and Rauner has been touting the legislation as his greatest gubernatorial accomplishment ever since.

But because of this veto, Rauner has once again plunged education funding into uncertainty, removing clarity as to how much funding Will County schools will receive and raising the possibility of yet another delay in the disbursement of those funds.

“The governor’s office may work on whims, but it is unacceptable that Will County schools are once again subject to the uncertainty that legislators from both parties worked so hard and so long to relieve,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “School administrators need time to calculate and implement sound financial decisions for the next school year, yet this veto strips them of their ability to make these decisions with any certainty.”

Bertino-Tarrant is working with staff and the Senator Andy Manar, the senate sponsor of the legislation, to make sense of the governor’s veto and take the necessary steps to expedite the release of school funding levels for the 2018-2019 school year.

“The lack of guidance from our governor is staggering,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Now more than ever we need stability and certainty for Will County schools. Sadly, this veto threatens to take all of that away in favor of more in-fighting and political posturing.”

JBertino Tarrant2016cOLIET- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) this week joined other legislators at a town hall meeting aiming to lower the number of fatalities and serious crashes on the I-80 corridor from New Lenox and Joliet to Shorewood and Minooka.

“My number one concern is that driving conditions are safe along the I-80 corridor,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This meeting is another example of our communities working together to solve problems and institute a long-term plan to ensure safe traveling conditions.”

People who attended this community meeting heard from Mary Craighead, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, Secretary of Illinois Transportation Randy Blankenhorn and Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Tollway, Kevin Artl.

Scott Slocum from Will County radio station WJOL moderated the event, and Bertino Tarrant said she was impressed with his professional and firm demeanor.

Key findings from the meeting include:

• A total of 37 fatal crashes occurred between 2001 and 2016.

• About 20 percent of the total traffic along the I-80 corridor consists of heavy trucks and semis.

• The Illinois State Police are currently short staffed. They are in the process of recruiting new troopers, and once the new hires are trained and stationed within a region, ISP hopes they will be able to further enforce and observe traffic among the corridor.

On top of those findings, a group of community leaders, stakeholders, and state and local transportation agencies formed a working group to produce a long-term infrastructure and safety plan to accommodate for the rapid population growth and added traffic within the region.

IDOT will continue to look into short-term solutions as the working group develops recommendations such as no-change lanes, barriers to high-risk areas near Richard Street and additional signage.

The report discussed during the meeting can be found here.

“The continuous population growth within our communities demands a long-term plan to upgrade and improve infrastructure along the I-80 corridor,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to make sure our transportation infrastructure meets the needs of our region to encourage safe travel conditions, economic development and convenience for residents.”

Bertino-Tarrant looks forward to seeing a long-term transportation infrastructure strategy for the region.

“Investing in our roads, highways and bridges encourages economic development for our region,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Every dollar we spend to improve our infrastructure is an investment in safety for area residents and another incentive for companies to grow and make our community their home.” 

03142017AM4965rPLAINFIELD- As the temperatures drop this winter season, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) reminds Will County residents to check and change batteries in household smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

“The new year is a perfect opportunity for residents of the 49th State Senate District to test safety devices to reduce home fire fatalities,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “While changing calendars and organizing for the new year, please take a second to change and check batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.”

The National Fire Protection Association reports that heating is the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries across the nation. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires.

Residents should remember to consider home safety while using space heaters during the winter months. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, and account for two of every five fires. Keeping heating equipment away from flammable household items is essential.

“While we battle dangerously low temperatures this winter, it is important that we exercise proper safety precautions to keep our families safe,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Please don’t forget to check on elderly neighbors or friends to ensure they have a warm place to stay. There are warming centers open throughout Will County to serve area residents and keep them safe and warm during these harsh winter months.”

Residents can click here for a list of warming centers in the area or reach out to her Plainfield Office at (815) 254-4211 for more information.

Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD- Starting a new business in Illinois will be much more affordable, due to a law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

Bertino-Tarrant co-sponsored Senate Bill 867, which will reduce startup fees for businesses to register in Illinois and was signed into law today.

“This new law will assist economic development and job opportunities in our communities,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Cutting filing fees is a meaningful step in showing Illinois business owners that we want to be partners in growing our economy. Illinois businesses are investing in our communities; we must show them the state is investing in them.”  

This new law will adjust LLC fees across the board to update charges to bring them in line with what corporations pay in fees.  For example, the current filing fee to create a new LLC in Illinois is $500. SB 867 would fix it at $150. The current annual filing fee for LLCs is $250, and SB 867 would lower it to $75.

“Small businesses have always played a major role in the Joliet region’s economic growth,” Mary Jaworski, President of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “The new law to lower the startup fees for small businesses is a great step in improving the perception of the business climate in the State of Illinois.  In addition, those who have thought of becoming entrepreneurs now have one more solid reason to consider this region as a place to start up and conduct business.”

This bipartisan legislation was supported by over 50 chambers and business development organizations throughout the state.

“Senator Bertino-Tarrant is a true advocate for our community,” Margaret Westlove, President of the Romeoville Area Chamber of Commerce said. “She understands that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and create new jobs every day in our communities. This new law is testament to the Senator’s hard work and dedication to supporting small businesses in Will County.”

Bertino-Tarrant states this new law will give small businesses in Will County a chance and serves as a symbol of the importance of businesses across the state.

"This new law will eliminate hurdles and make it more affordable for inspiring first time business owners to start their business in Will County,” Tasha Marsaglia, President of the Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce said.

The new law will go into effect immediately.

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