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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.”

Rep. Mitchell (third from left) takes the oath of office with House Colleagues
The members of the 100th Illinois General Assembly were sworn into office in Springfield last week.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) will again serve as an Assistant Republican Leader for the Illinois House of Representatives.

Representative Mitchell was reappointed to the position by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).

“Bill Mitchell is a passionate advocate for downstate Illinois,” Leader Durkin said. “Bill stands up for the priorities and values of his constituents. He continues to provide me with a perspective that is much needed in the General Assembly. I am confident that Bill will serve the people well as a member of my leadership team.”

“I want to thank Leader Durkin for putting his trust in me to help lead our caucus,” Mitchell said. “It is an honor and privilege to again be appointed Assistant Republican Leader. This is an influential position that gives me a stronger voice in Springfield for Central Illinois families.”

Representative Bill Mitchell has served in the Illinois House since 1999. Mitchell has been a leader on the issue of job creation. In the 96th General Assembly, he served as the Republican Spokesman for the House Bipartisan Job Creation Task Force. He previously served as Chairman of the House Republican Task Force on Rural Economic Development.

Representative Mitchell took the oath of office Wednesday to represent the 101st House District, which includes all or portions of Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, McLean and Piatt counties.

Future Energy Jobs bill also supports renewable energy, energy efficiency, and invests in low-income communities

CLINTON – Governor Bruce Rauner today signed Senate Bill 2814, the Future Energy Jobs bill, at a ceremony at Clinton High School in Clinton. The bipartisan legislation ensures the Quad Cities and Clinton power facilities remain open for another 10 years, saving thousands of good-paying jobs, while protecting working families, seniors, and thousands of other high-quality, good-paying jobs throughout the state by capping residential and business energy rates.

“When this legislation was originally drafted, it was a Christmas tree loaded with special interest goodies that would have skyrocketed energy costs on families and businesses across the state,” said Governor Rauner. “So we needed to find a balance, because I was unwilling to gamble with these communities, gamble with thousands of good paying jobs and gamble with our energy diversity. While this legislation isn’t perfect, it allows us to protect jobs, ratepayers and taxpayers.”

Before Governor Rauner’s involvement, the legislature was poised to pass a massive bill with demand rates that could have skyrocketed energy bills for consumers. Governor Rauner laid out a pathway for a deal with his statement of principles which outlined any energy agreement should preserve jobs while protecting ratepayers and taxpayers.

“Thank you to those who negotiated in good faith to help make this bill a reality, and most importantly, thank you to the people of the Quad Cities and Clinton for your persistence, your patience, and hard work,” Governor Rauner added.

Senate Bill 2814 ensures the Clinton and Quad Cities power facilities remain open for another 10 years. It contains a guaranteed cap that energy prices cannot increase more than 25 cents on the average residential home, and cannot increase more than 1.3 percent on commercial and industrial users over the next ten years. Rates are projected to decrease for the first several years due to the utilities being able to amortize energy efficiency. It also promotes unprecedented wind and solar expansion and preserves zero-emission generation, maintaining Illinois’ status in leading the nation in zero-carbon generation.

“A joint study conducted by the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Power Agency, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity found that allowing several nuclear plants to prematurely close would cause our electric rates to increase by as much as 26% during stress events while grid reliability and capacity would significantly decrease. Closing the plants would also cost Illinois approximately 7,800 jobs and $1.8 billion in economic activity,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Burr Ridge). “At the end of the day, had we failed to take action Illinois and Illinois consumers would suffer, and our electric rates would get dramatically out of hand.”

"Gov. Rauner continues to be an advocate for downstate Illinois, and without his help, this bill would still be languishing in committee and thousands of good paying jobs would now be lost," said State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), who represents Clinton. "Moreover, this new law protects energy consumers from massive rate hikes, ensures reliable, clean, and cheap power for years to come, prevents the construction of more power lines, and, as mentioned, protects a vital sector of Illinois' economy. I was honored to host then candidate-Rauner for a tour of the Clinton plant back in 2014 - and now, to have a Governor who spends so much time in downstate Illinois and cares about what is important to us is incredibly refreshing."

“This is a great day for Central Illinois and the state as a whole. We have fought for several years now to save the Clinton Power Station, the economic engine of DeWitt County,” said State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth). “This legislation will preserve our nuclear plants and protect thousands of good-paying jobs for working families. I want to thank our local leaders for their tremendous efforts and I especially want to thank Governor Rauner and Leader Durkin for their support and leadership. This was not an easy bill to pass and they moved mountains to help get it done.”

Springfield, IL – State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) filed legislation Friday to create an “In God We Trust” Illinois license plate. The idea was suggested to Mitchell by local Cub Scout Aidan Baker.

The Baker family accompanied Rep. Mitchell Friday at the Capitol to file House Bill 6617 on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives. The legislation would create an “In God We Trust” license plate with proceeds going to assist Illinois Veterans’ Homes.

“Aidan and his father approached me with the idea of creating the ‘In God We Trust’ license plate at a recent town hall I was hosting,” Rep. Mitchell said. “I think it’s a great idea and I’m especially pleased that proceeds from the sale of these plates will help fund our Veterans’ Homes. I’d like to thank Aidan and the Baker family for coming to Springfield to file the bill with me.”
For the second year in a row, the Illinois General Assembly missed its deadline to pass a balanced state budget. However, unlike last year, no budget for elementary and secondary education has been passed, threatening the opening of schools across Illinois this fall.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is blasting the Democrat majority’s failure to pass an education budget and is urging Governor Rauner to call a special session of the General Assembly to resolve this crisis.

“I am sending a letter to Governor Rauner, Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton urging them to call a special session to debate education funding and pass a budget that will ensure our schools open on time this fall,” Rep. Mitchell said. “While the House is currently scheduled to be in session once a week in June, that is not enough time to find a workable solution to this crisis. The Governor should demand lawmakers return to Springfield and work around the clock to pass a balanced budget that takes care of our schools.”

The budget passed by Illinois House Democrats two week ago weighed in at approximately $40 billion in spending with only $33 billion in estimated revenue. The Democrats unbalanced, unconstitutional proposed budget was $7 billion out-of-balance and would require a 47% tax hike to pay for all the additional spending. Their fellow Democrats in the Illinois Senate refused to pass such a massively unbalanced budget and the General Assembly adjourned on May 31 without any approved budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which beings July 1.
“Illinois continues to be the laughingstock of the nation with its fiscal mismanagement by the Chicago politicians,” Rep. Mitchell said. “We’ve gone almost 12 months without a balanced budget and have gone way past the breaking point. The Democrats who control the General Assembly couldn’t even agree amongst themselves on a spending plan for next fiscal year. The lunatics are truly running the asylum.”