State Roundup: Officials want Schock to pick up tab

From Illinois News Network

Officials in Marshall County want former Congressman Aaron Schock to pick up the tab for the special election scheduled for later this year. GateHouse Media reports the Marshall County Board wants Schock to pay the unbudgeted $76,000 for the special elections.

The board voted unanimously Thursday to send the Peoria Republican the request. The letter will also be sent to various other officials including more than a dozen other voting entities in the 18th Congressional District.

Other counties have estimated the cost for the special elections to be upwards to $200,000 or more. After working with the state, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the primary for July 7 with the general election for the seat will be September 10th.

IMA: Illinois jobs will be impacted by Buy North American bill\

A measure to bar the state of Illinois from purchasing vehicles for their fleet that aren’t made in the U.S. or Canada will hurt Illinois manufacturers. That’s according to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

The sponsor of the bill begs to differ. House Bill 3438 passed a committee last month and could hit the House floor as early as next week when lawmakers come back to Springfield. Chief sponsor Representative Mike Smiddy says the bill opens up for more North American goods to be purchased with state dollars.

“It doesn’t even have to be made by a United Auto Worker, or a union worker, but as long as the final assembly is in the United States or in Canada we’re okay with it.”

But IMA’s Mark Denzler says the bill is shortsighted.

“It’s gonna have a dramatically negative impact on more than a hundred manufacturers in the state of Illinois that produce parts for these vehicles that are assembled outside the United States and Canada.”

Denzler says that the real goal should be to make Illinois more business friendly to ensure the state attracts more manufacturers. The bill originally only included vehicles assembled in the U.S. but Smiddy says he amended the measure to include Canada, but not Mexico, because of what Smiddy says are poor labor practices south of the border.

More points and counterpoints in gas tax revenue debate

One group says a recent fund sweeps to fill a budget hole in the current fiscal year is evidence Illinois does not need an increase in the motor fuel tax. Another group begs to differ, saying there needs to be more revenue. And even another group says the state gas tax should be removed altogether.

A joint press release from the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association, the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores and Americans for Prosperity says recent fund sweeps to the tune of $50 million from the motor fuel tax fund indicates there’s enough money in the fund for road projects.The money was swept to assist in filling a $1.6 billion dollar budget hole.

However, the Transportation for Illinois Coalition says they support a modest gas tax increase because vehicles are more fuel efficient which means less gas is being consumed and in turn less gas tax revenue is being generated.

Then there’s the the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Todd Maisch in a statement saying the Chamber supports an overall lowering of taxes paid for gas in Illinois.

The Chamber says they are actually committed to removing the sales tax on gasoline, something Maisch says only nine other states impose on motorists.

Walgreens plans closure of 200 stores

Illinois based Walgreens plans to close around 200 stores in various U.S. markets in what the company says is an initiative to reduce costs and restructure their retail organization.

In a release for investors the Deerfield-based company says there will also be a reorganization of corporate and field operations along with streamlined information technology. It’s unclear when or where the planned closures will take place.

The announcement was part of the first earnings report for Walgreens since it joined with Alliance Boots in December.

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