Decatur… With Amazon announcing plans to bring 1,000 jobs to Illinois, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is urging the online giant to consider locating in Decatur.

“Amazon is one of the premier online retailers,” Rep. Mitchell said. “Landing one of their distribution centers in Illinois is very good news. But what’s lost in these discussions is the urgent need to create good-paying jobs for working families in areas with high unemployment. Decatur has the transportation infrastructure and the skilled workforce to compete for Amazon’s siting. I am urging state officials to push Decatur as a prime location for this new facility.”

The Decatur metropolitan area had a September 2014 unemployment rate of 7.9%, well above the state and national averages. Decatur has been plagued by high unemployment due to the loss of manufacturing jobs over the past two decades.

According to news reports, Amazon officials have not decided on a location in Illinois but will begin site visits soon. Representative Mitchell wants the State to promote Decatur as a great location for Amazon’s new facility.

“I am encouraging Amazon to come to Decatur to see our infrastructure capabilities and highly-skilled workforce we have ready to get to work,” Mitchell said.
Decatur… A Central Illinois lawmaker believes the State’s misplaced spending priorities are hurting local school districts.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) held a press conference Thursday at Parsons Elementary School in Decatur where he highlighted examples of pork-barrel spending that is leading to state spending cuts to local schools.

“The State budget approved by Democrats this year is riddled with pork for Chicago,” Mitchell said. “There’s a $50 million bailout of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund and $35 million to build a school in Speaker Madigan’s district. Another $10 million is going to renovate a long-closed theatre owned by a Chicago promoter. These are just a few examples of wasteful spending in the Democrats’ unbalanced budget.”

Recent reporting by local media indicated that the tentative budget for Decatur schools showed that operations will be down by about $2 million. For the third year in a row, the State of Illinois is prorating general state aid to schools at 89 percent of the full entitlement. Rep. Mitchell described the negative effect this proration is having on local schools.

“Decatur schools lose $4.7 million in state aid under the 89 percent proration,” Mitchell said. “Mt. Zion loses nearly $700,000. Instead of blowing hundreds of millions in tax dollars on Chicago pork projects, the General Assembly should be using that money to fully fund general state aid for schools throughout Illinois. There’s only so much money to go around. Anytime Chicago gets a bigger piece of the pie, Downstate loses.”

Representative Mitchell pointed out other areas of wasteful spending in the unbalanced State budget, including $50 million for health insurance for illegal immigrants and $7 million for state planes to fly Governor Quinn and other officials back and forth from Chicago to Springfield.

“The Chicago politicians that control state government have their priorities all wrong,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got to cut all the wasteful spending and pork out of the budget. That money should be going to fund our schools, senior services and infrastructure. Downstate legislators from both parties need to work together to fight for our fair share of State tax dollars.”
Decatur, IL – On the cusp of a new fiscal year, Governor Pat Quinn has ordered the sale of nearly half of the State’s $22 million fleet of aircraft.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), a long-time critic of the state planes, was encouraged by the Governor’s decision but believes the State should go even further.

“I think the Governor’s order is a step in the right direction but it doesn’t go far enough,” Mitchell said. “The State is spending millions each year on executive aircraft to fly the Governor and top leaders between Chicago and Springfield. We found out this spring that state planes are being used to fly prairie chickens into Illinois. These flights are a waste of taxpayer dollars and should be stopped altogether.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) maintains a fleet of sixteen aircraft, including six executive aircraft, worth an estimated $22 million. In Fiscal Year 2014, IDOT spent more than $7 million to operate and maintain the State’s fleet of aircraft. IDOT has spent nearly $33 million over the last five years on the air fleet, while costs have gone up by 35 percent.

“I have repeatedly filed legislation to sell the state air fleet,” Mitchell said. “I haven’t seen specifics on the Governor’s plan beyond a press release. If it’s his intention to only sell half of the executive fleet, I would urge further action to sell all non-emergency aircraft owned by the State. It’s time to put an end to these perks of political power.”
The new state budget, that is set at $35.7 billion, is taking effect today. Gov. Pat Quinn signed it into law Monday after tweaking bits and pieces with his veto pen.

One of the biggest cuts eliminates nearly half the state's air fleet.

"In the state of Illinois, we have the largest air fleet in the nation," said Republican Lawmaker, Bill Mitchell. "We also have one of the worst budget situations."

Quinn's cut means the state will sell nine of its 21 aircraft, but Mitchell says that's not enough.

"That's $7 million you can spend other places, in education, for seniors, or for whatever, so this is an action that's long overdue," Mitchell said. "Its a little too late, but its a step in the right direction."


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Decatur, IL – On the cusp of a new fiscal year, Governor Pat Quinn has ordered the sale of nearly half of the State’s $22 million fleet of aircraft.

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), a long-time critic of the state planes, was encouraged by the Governor’s decision but believes the State should go even further.

“I think the Governor’s order is a step in the right direction but it doesn’t go far enough,” Mitchell said. “The State is spending millions each year on executive aircraft to fly the Governor and top leaders between Chicago and Springfield. We found out this spring that state planes are being used to fly prairie chickens into Illinois. These flights are a waste of taxpayer dollars and should be stopped altogether.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) maintains a fleet of sixteen aircraft, including six executive aircraft, worth an estimated $22 million. In Fiscal Year 2014, IDOT spent more than $7 million to operate and maintain the State’s fleet of aircraft. IDOT has spent nearly $33 million over the last five years on the air fleet, while costs have gone up by 35 percent.

“I have repeatedly filed legislation to sell the state air fleet,” Mitchell said. “I haven’t seen specifics on the Governor’s plan beyond a press release. If it’s his intention to only sell half of the executive fleet, I would urge further action to sell all non-emergency aircraft owned by the State. It’s time to put an end to these perks of political power.”