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By Kevin Barlow Herald & Review

CLINTON — State Rep. Bill Mitchell was only half joking when he told a group of seniors at the DeWitt County Friendship Center in Clinton that because there was not enough parking available, he had to park illegally.

On future visits, however, that shouldn’t be a problem as Mitchell, R-Forsyth, announced during his visit that the center would receive a $100,000 grant from the state to build a new parking lot.

“This project was started several years ago,” Mitchell said. “But sometimes, these projects take a little bit of time.”

Springfield – The Illinois House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would provide much-needed property tax relief to Illinois homeowners.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) voted in support of Senate Bill 851, legislation that would provide property tax relief and level the playing field with Cook County when it comes to property taxes.

“High property taxes continue to be one of the biggest concerns of working families and seniors in my district,” Rep. Mitchell said. “They are demanding relief from ever-increasing property taxes and rightfully believe that property taxes should not continue to rise while home values are stagnant or decreasing.”

Senate Bill 851 puts Downstate Illinois on a level playing field with Cook County by increasing the senior homestead exemption to $8,000 and the general homestead exemption to $10,000 statewide. It also allows voters in Downstate counties the flexibility to choose whether or not they wish to enact a two-year property tax freeze.

“Working families and seniors are being forced from their homes. Not because they can’t afford their mortgages, but because they can’t afford their property taxes increasing each and every year. I was proud to support legislation that will provide real property tax relief to my constituents and treat all homeowners fairly, regardless of where they live,” said Mitchell.

Senate Bill 851 passed the Illinois House Wednesday on a vote of 75-32-1 and was sent back to the Illinois Senate for final action. If the Senate concurs with the House amendment, the bill will be sent to Governor Rauner for his signature.
State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) issued the following statement Thursday in response to Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to sign House Bill 40, controversial legislation that provides for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand:

“To say I am disappointed in Governor Rauner is an understatement. Using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions is, in my opinion, immoral.

But beyond the morality lies the simple fact that Illinois is broke. We have $15 billion in unpaid bills, taxes were just raised, and now the State is going to pay for elective abortion on demand. Where is the Governor going to find the money? He has already said this budget is out of balance. Now he’s going to spend taxpayer funds to pay for abortions?

I cannot adequately express how disappointed I am with Governor Rauner. He told House Republicans last spring that he was going to veto this bill and that turned out to be a falsehood.”

With the State of Illinois owing $15 billion in unpaid bills, a Central Illinois lawmaker is reiterating his opposition to the use of taxpayer funds for the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is urging fellow lawmakers to not spend State funds on the Library.

“My message is simple: just say no to taxpayer funds for the Obama Library,” Mitchell said. “Illinois is still dealing with the fallout from two years without a budget, which directly led to the $15 billion backlog of unpaid bills. Yet once again, Speaker Madigan is pushing to spend $100 million in State funds on the Obama Library. This is an outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars which should be rejected by the legislature.”

NBC Chicago reported this week that House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) proposed spending $100 million in capital funds for the Obama Presidential Library during a recent legislative leaders meeting. Republicans believe the proposal may take money earmarked for IDOT construction projects to help fund the library.

“The Speaker’s latest proposal is even worse than usual,” Mitchell added. “Not only does Speaker Madigan want to spend our tax dollars on the Obama Library, but he wants to take that money away from projects to fix our crumbling roads and infrastructure. This is just another crony deal that benefits political insiders at the expense of hard-working taxpayers.”

In 2014, Rep. Mitchell sponsored House Resolution 1118 in opposition to a proposal that would spend $100 million in taxpayer funds to help build the Obama Library in Chicago.

Representative Mitchell believes private funds should be used to build the library.

“Presidents Clinton and Bush used private donations to build their libraries,” Mitchell said. “President Obama has proven himself to be a prolific fundraiser over the years. Let his foundation raise the money needed to build the Obama Library in Chicago. I am adamantly opposed to using taxpayer funds for this project, especially at a time when Illinois can’t pay its bills.”

CLINTON – State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election to the Illinois House of Representatives in 2018. He will continue to focus on serving his constituents and representing their interests in Springfield until the completion of his current term in January 2019.

“I am here today to announce that I will not be running for re-election to the Illinois House,” Rep. Mitchell said. “It has been an honor to serve the people of Central Illinois in the General Assembly. I want to thank my constituents for allowing me the privilege of serving them for nearly two decades now. I also want to thank my family, friends and neighbors for their support over the years and all those who worked with me to make a positive difference for our community.”

Since first being elected in 1998, Bill Mitchell has represented the following counties: Macon, Champaign, Christian, Cumberland, DeWitt, Effingham, Logan, McLean, Piatt, Sangamon, Shelby and Tazewell.

“The people of Central Illinois have given me more than I could ever repay: the honor to serve them,” Mitchell said. “During my remaining time in office, I will continue to fight for good-paying jobs for our working families, a high-quality education for every child, and the protection of vital services for our seniors.”

Representative Mitchell has served in the Illinois House since 1999. He previously served on the Decatur City Council and was Decatur Mayor Pro Tem from 1997-1998.

During his time in office, Bill Mitchell made job creation his top priority. He helped lead the effort to pass the Future Energy Jobs bill, legislation that will allow the Clinton Power Station to remain open for another 10 years, protecting thousands of good-paying jobs. Rep. Mitchell served as the Republican Spokesman for the House Bipartisan Job Creation Task Force and previously served as Chairman of the House Republican Task Force on Rural Economic Development.

On July 1, Illinois entered its third fiscal year without a balanced budget in place. The budget impasse has caused devastating harm to our social services, hospitals, schools and universities, and put Illinois on the brink of fiscal collapse.

The State’s backlog of unpaid bills tripled in the past three years, to an all-time high of $15 billion owed to our schools and universities, hospitals, doctors, dentists, and service providers. Illinois’ credit rating teetered on the edge of “junk bond” status and we risked defaulting on pension and debt payments by August.

Many of our schools were at risk of not opening this fall and the State still owes them more than $1 billion for last fiscal year. On July 1, IDOT shut down 900 transportation projects totaling $3.3 billion, affecting 20,000 construction workers. And in a final embarrassment, Illinois was suspended from the multi-state Mega Millions and Powerball lottery games.

For these reasons, I voted this week in support of a balanced budget that will finally put an end to Illinois’ fiscal crisis. The $36.5 billion Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes nearly $3 billion in spending cuts and is $800 million less than the Governor’s introduced budget. This budget contains significant spending reforms and reprioritizes programs of vital importance to Downstate. It includes funding for our schools, universities and community colleges and ensures that road construction projects will continue. This budget begins to pay down Illinois’ massive backlog of unpaid bills.

After two years without a budget, which saw the State spending nearly $40 billion on court-ordered programs, consent decrees and mandates, the stark reality is that Illinois could not begin to dig out of this hole without new revenue.

The budget agreement includes a 1.2 percentage point increase to Illinois’ individual income tax rate to balance the budget and begin paying down past due bills. The new 4.95 percent income tax rate is the same rate that Governor Rauner signed off on in May and is less than the 5 percent rate that expired in 2015. There are no new services taxes included in this budget.

This vote was the most difficult decision I have made in my career in public service. I am a fiscal conservative. I don’t like taxes and had never supported a tax increase before. But as a fiscal conservative, I believe we have an obligation to pay our bills and provide essential services to our citizens. Continuing the fiscal insanity of the past two years was not an option. I could not let our State collapse into insolvency.

I was elected to represent the interests of my constituents and to make the tough choices necessary to ensure government continues to serve our citizens. The budget I supported is far from perfect and I completely understand the outrage over higher taxes. However, there were no easy decisions left that could end the longest budget impasse in our nation’s history. Therefore, I made the difficult and politically unpopular decision to support a balanced budget that includes spending cuts and new revenue.

As your state representative, I will continue to support much-needed reforms to improve our economy, create good-paying jobs for working families, and get Illinois back on track. The balanced budget that I supported is a step in the right direction. Working together, we will keep moving Illinois forward.

Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) represents the 101st House District, which includes all or portions of the following counties: Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, McLean & Piatt.

Decatur, IL – State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) issued the following statement Thursday in response to Governor Bruce Rauner’s call for Special Sessions of the Illinois General Assembly starting Wednesday, June 21 through the end of the month:

“It’s unfortunate that since the first of June, Speaker Madigan has not kept us in Springfield to do the job we’re elected to do. Speaker Madigan is once again negligent in his duties to the people of the state of Illinois.

I am glad that the Governor is calling us back for Special Session to pass a truly balanced budget. I’m hopeful that we will get a real balanced budget – no gimmicks – where expenses meet our revenue, so we can get Illinois back on track.

The people of Illinois are absolutely sick and tired of the shenanigans over in Springfield. I applaud the Governor for taking action. We need to stay in session, do our job and pass a balanced budget.”