Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sen Mark Kirk on Senate's Vote to Keep Tax Rates As They Are

"I voted for the bill to prevent a massive tax hike from hitting Illinois families and hurting our economy during this Great Recession. President Obama and Senate leaders agree that this legislation will help end the recession, adding jobs and restoring tax-rate certainty to this fragile economy. You can see a three-page summary of the legislation here. After enactment of this legislation, I will turn my attention to cutting federal spending, reducing the cost of Congress and the Executive branch to bring down the debt."

Gov Quinn's Statement on the Death of Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin

Today’s news of the death of Mayor Tim Davlin is truly a tragedy. Tim was a great public servant who loved Springfield and its people. The city of Springfield is a better place because of his leadership. As Mayor, Tim led the community through some of its most difficult times and worked hard to revitalize the city. He was not only a champion for Springfield, but also for the entire state, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with the Davlin family during this most difficult time.”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

US Senator Mark Kirk Comment on the Tax Rate Agreement

“The agreement negotiated between the Administration and Senate Republicans reflects an important step towards protecting Americans from a tax increase on January 1st and the risk of another recession. It’s time to put partisanship aside and do what’s best for American families and small business employers. This centrist compromise will help us spur economic growth and create good-paying jobs in Illinois and across the nation.”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gov Quinn Statement on the Passing of Rep Rich Myers

SPRINGFIELD – December 2, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today issued a statement regarding the passing of State Rep. Rich Myers (R-Colchester).

“Today I share in the sadness of many as we learned of the passing of Representative Rich Myers. Rich was a good man who served the people of Illinois for many years with a servant’s heart. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

“Rich fought a courageous battle against cancer with his wife Chris and his daughter Alison at his side every step of the way. They are in my prayers, and I offer my condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Murkowski Wins Alaska Senate Race as Write-In Candidate


Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has become the first Senate candidate in more than 50 years to win a write-in campaign, the Associated Press reports.

Murkowski emerged victorious after a painstaking, two-week count of write-in ballots showed she has overtaken tea party rival Joe Miller.

Sen Durbin Comments on "Stan the Man" Musial's Receiving the Medal of Freedom

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today offered his heartfelt congratulations to Baseball Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial for being chosen by President Obama to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Musial, widely recognized as one of the greatest baseball players in history, dedicated 22 years to the game of baseball, served in the Navy during World War II and has dedicated the rest of his life to public service and the St. Louis community.

“As a young kid in East St. Louis my most prized possession was my first baseball glove: a Stan Musial Rawlings Special. I rubbed that leather glove with Gloveoleum until I was the only one who could still see his name burned in the leather. I know if I would dig deep in my closet I could still find that Musial glove,” said Durbin. “It is rare in history to find such a public person without a detractor. On the field and off, Stan Musial was always a gentleman, always a champion.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award bestowed by the President of the United States to recognize individuals who have made an exception contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Only 257 Americans have received this honor.

After playing 22 seasons in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1941 to 1963, Musial was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969. Over that time, he compiled a lifetime batting average of .331, with 3,630 hits, 475 home runs and 1,951 RBIs appearing in 23 World Series games and 24 All-Star Games. He is one of only three players to have run over 6,000 bases in his career, the other two being Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

“A sign of his great sportsmanship, Stan was never once ejected during his career spanning more than 3,000 games. Both in and out of a Cardinal uniform, Stan exemplifies the values of sportsmanship, discipline, hard work, grace, consistency, excellence and humility. He is truly deserving of a Medal of Freedom.”

Musial served in the United States Navy during World War II, but his service to our nation did not end there. From 1964 to 1967, he served as a Consultant to President Lyndon Johnson on his Council on Physical Fitness. In that position he was able to encourage better fitness among Americans through sports and exercise.

Proud of his Polish-American heritage, Musial has shared his love of baseball with Poland both before and after the fall of Communism. He has received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit. Back in the United States, Musial has dedicated himself to his community and public service. He has served as a board member for the United Service Organizations (USO), the Boy Scouts, the Senior Olympics, the Crippled Children’s Society of St. Louis and the Shelter for Children. Recently, he chaired an effort to raise more than $6 million for the renovation of the Soldier’s Memorial in St. Louis.




[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was today re-elected to the Senate's second highest ranking leadership post -- Assistant Majority Leader, also known as Majority Whip. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) was elected as Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was elected as Vice Chair of the Democratic Conference and Patty Murray (D-WA) was elected Democratic Conference Secretary in today’s balloting.

“I am honored that my Senate colleagues have again entrusted me with this responsibility,” Durbin said. “Our party is a diverse one, as is my home state of Illinois. Those lessons I have learned representing my state will help me to serve as Assistant Leader of this extraordinary Caucus.”

Durbin, 65, will be the lead person in the day-to-day action on the Senate floor. The modern day version of the whip, besides being the second ranking party leader in the Senate, is responsible for counting votes and monitoring legislation on the Senate floor.

Only four other Illinoisans have served as leaders for their parties in the Senate. Shelby Moore Cullom served as Republican Conference Chairman from 1911-1913; J. Hamilton Lewis became the first Democratic Whip of the Senate in 1913, and was again elected Whip in 1931; Scott Wike Lucas served as Democratic Whip from 1947 to 1949 and Majority Leader from 1949 to 1951; and Everett McKinley Dirksen was elected Republican Whip in 1957 and Minority Leader in 1959, a position he held for ten years.

Neither the position of whip nor majority leader is mentioned in the United States Constitution. The term "whip" comes from "whipper-in," a fox-hunting term for the person charged with keeping dogs from straying during a chase. According to the Senate historian’s office, it was not until the latter part of the 19th century that senators of each political party “organized and assembled separately for the purpose of electing certain members from among their own to act as agents in helping to run the legislative machine.” And it was not until the 20th century that the posts of majority and minority leaders and whips became official political positions.

Durbin said he believes that his role will continue to benefit his home state. “Illinois will always be at the table for any discussion of legislation involving the leadership,” Durbin noted.

Durbin said he believes that with House of Representative under Republican control and the Senate in the hands of the Democratic Party, Congress will continue to be the most important forum in America to debate the great issues and to address the challenges facing our country.

“I look forward to working with members of both parties and the President to improve the quality of life for the middle class and for all Americans,” he said. “We need to remember why the American people have elected us. They want a strong and prosperous America, but they want economic fairness as well and they want us to empower families and individuals to reach their maximum potential. That's our challenge; that's our responsibility.”


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sara Lee Sells Bakery Unit to Mexican Firm

WSJ Reports Sara Lee Corp.'s fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 32% on a prior-year divestiture gain as the company announced plans to sell its North American fresh bakery business to Mexican bakery giant Grupo Bimbo for $959 million


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brady Statement on Election Results

As I said last night, I have a penchant for close elections.

Having been through this process before, I know the importance of making sure every voice is heard, and every vote is counted. I believe we will win. Our campaign continues to wait for the results from local election officials.

The people of Illinois cast 3.6 million votes in this election. As of right now, there is a difference of less than one vote per precinct. We must allow election authorities to do their job as we wait for official results, which are then certified by the State Board of Elections.

In addition to the ballots cast in the precincts, absentee and military ballots remain to be counted, and I believe we will win.”

Peoria Journal Star: Brady Won't Concede, Expects to Win

BLOOMINGTON — Republican Bill Brady isn't conceding in the extraordinarily tight race for Illinois governor against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

Brady told reporters Wednesday in Bloomington that he believes he will win. He says he's going to wait for the official results after all of the absentee ballots are counted.

Quinn has predicted victory in a year that saw many other Democratic governors tossed out of office.

Brady is trailing Quinn by the thinnest of margins. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Quinn's lead was just more than 8,300 vote of the 3.6 million cast. Quinn has nearly 47 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent for Brady.

Friday, October 29, 2010

President Obama's Statement on the Terrorist Threat


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release October 29, 2010


James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

4:22 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to briefly update the American people on a credible terrorist threat against our country, and the actions that we're taking with our friends and our partners to respond to it.

Last night and earlier today, our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, working with our friends and allies, identified two suspicious packages bound for the United States -- specifically, two places of Jewish worship in Chicago. Those packages had been located in Dubai and East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom. An initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material.

I was alerted to this threat last night by my top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan. I directed the Department of Homeland Security and all our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps are necessary to protect our citizens from this type of attack. Those measures led to additional screening of some planes in Newark and Philadelphia.

The Department of Homeland Security is also taking steps to enhance the safety of air travel, including additional cargo screening. We will continue to pursue additional protective measures for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens.

I've also directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages and their connection to any additional terrorist plotting. Although we are still pursuing all the facts, we do know that the packages originated in Yemen. We also know that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a terrorist group based in Yemen, continues to plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies.

John Brennan, who you will be hearing from, spoke with President Saleh of Yemen today about the seriousness of this threat, and President Saleh pledged the full cooperation of the Yemeni government in this investigation.

Going forward, we will continue to strengthen our cooperation with the Yemeni government to disrupt plotting by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and to destroy this al Qaeda affiliate. We'll also continue our efforts to strengthen a more stable, secure and prosperous Yemen so that terrorist groups do not have the time and space they need to plan attacks from within its borders.

The events of the past 24 hours underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism. As usual, our intelligence, law enforcement and Homeland Security professionals have served with extraordinary skill and resolve and with the commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand. We're also coordinating closely and effectively with our friends and our allies, who are essential to this fight.

As we obtain more information we will keep the public fully informed. But at this stage, the American people should know that the counterterrorism professionals are taking this threat very seriously and are taking all necessary and prudent steps to ensure our security. And the American people should be confident that we will not waver in our resolve to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates and to root out violent extremism in all its forms.

Thank you very much.

END 4:26 P.M. EDT

Statement of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Terror Threat

Last night, intelligence and law enforcement agencies discovered potential suspicious packages on two planes in transit to the United States. Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in London and one in Dubai. Both of these packages originated from Yemen. As a result of security precautions triggered by this threat, the additional measures were taken regarding the flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International Airports.

The President was notified of a potential terrorist threat on Thursday night at 10:30, by John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism. The President directed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security, to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plotting. The President has received regular updates from his national security team since he was alerted to the threat.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Bailout Could Cost Twice As Much

The federal bailout for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could more than
double in size during the next three years, according to projections
from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The federally controlled mortgage giants will likely need at
least another $73 billion and perhaps as much $215 billion from
taxpayers in the next three years to meet their financial obligations.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mike Labno, Libertarian Candidate for US Senate (IL) Responds to Partial Senatorial Debate


Last night, two of the four candidates for the US Senate were invited
to debate before the cameras by The League of Women voters which, to
its discredit, prevented viewers from hearing all the options
that will be available to them on the ballot, Nov 2.

The two candidates who were allowed to appear mostly traded jibes and
misleading half-truths, which gave voters no real idea of their
positions on the issues, which are clearly less important to them than
their images.

While Mark Kirk's views are hard to pin down, Alexi Giannoulias'
mistaken idea that the Constitution of the United States, and the
principles of strictly limited Federal power and checks and balances
central to it, are open to review and revision was alarming.

It is hard to say whose interests are served by "debates" like this
one, but it is clearly not the Illinois voter's.

Rasmussen Poll Shows Kirk Leads Giannoulias by 4 points

NOTE -- This is from Rasmussen, but the poll was taken before the Ch 7 televised debate. Clearly, this is one of the most competitive Senate races in the nation this year... Illinois Channel


Republican Congressman Mark Kirk is now barely ahead of Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois’ up-and-down race for the U.S. Senate.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Kirk picking up 44% of the vote, while Giannoulias, the current state treasurer, draws 40% support. Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones earns the vote from four percent (4%) of voters, and eight percent (8%) prefer some other candidate. Five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The race is still a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings. The survey was taken the night before their second head-to-head debate.

The race was a virtual tie last week, when Giannoulias picked up 44% of the vote to Kirk's 43%. Highlighting the closeness of this contest is the fact that Kirk and Giannoulias have now run within four points or less of each other in 10 surveys since early June. Jones' support has held steady at four percent (4%) for the last three surveys.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Green Party Suggests Chicago Ballot Spelling Error, May Be Intentional


Green Party Chair Phil Huckelberry will be on hand at a Chicago Board
of Elections press conference to take questions from the media
regarding a spelling error with the city's electronic voting machines.
It was discovered earlier this week that the last name of Green Party
gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney was spelled "Whitey" on
electronic voting machines throughout the city.

"We have been a victim of election shenanigans in the past in Chicago,
especially in the 2008 primary when voters were denied Green Party
ballots throughout the city. We are looking forward to hearing how
this problem was caused, and what solutions the Board of Elections has
come up with to fix this, so all voters and candidates can be assured
a fair election," said Huckelberry.

The press conference will be held at the 69 W Washington, 8th Floor
Conference Room, 3 p.m. (subject to change without notice).
Huckelberry, along with Cook County Green Party Chair Alberto
Bocanegra, and candidate for Treasurer Scott Summers, who is also an
attorney, will be available during and after the press conference to
take questions.

Author on John Wilkes Booth, to speak at the Lincoln Presidential Museum

SPRINGFIELD - Thanks to Nora Titone, Abraham Lincoln’s assassination will never be viewed the same way again.

Titone has penned her first book, My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy, and will appear for her first public book discussion and signing Thursday, October 28 at 7 p.m. in the Union Theater at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. The event is free, but advance reservations must be made by calling (217) 558-8934.

Titone, a former researcher for famed Lincoln historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, has provided readers with a new perspective on what caused John Wilkes Booth to pull the trigger that fateful night at Ford’s Theater. By looking through the Booth family’s letters, journals and artifacts, Titone has uncovered the long-hidden struggles John Wilkes Booth faced leading up to the assassination. He struggled to live in the shadows of his famous yet troubled father, the actor Junius Brutus Booth. This set the stage for another battle between John and his brother, the equally famous actor Edwin Booth, the climax of which lead John turn the gun on Lincoln.

Titone’s book features a foreword by Goodwin and will show readers that while the Civil War may have played a part, it was not the sole factor in John Wilkes Booth’s decision to assassinate Lincoln.

Titone studied American History and Literature at Harvard University and went on to earn her M.A. in History at the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked previously as a historical researcher and currently lives in Chicago.

John Wilkes Booth is featured in several areas of the Lincoln Presidential Museum. He lurks by the White House in the Museum’s central plaza area; he can be seen sneaking into the Presidential booth at Ford’s Theater; and he plays a role in “Lincoln’s Eyes,” one of two theater shows in the Museum. In addition, original artifacts from the assassination are on display on a rotating basis in the Museum’s Treasures Gallery.

For more information about programs and exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit www.presidentlincoln.org.

# # #

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sen Brady Supports DOJ Investigation Into IL's Failure to Send Ballots to Military Service Members

Chicago – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady tonight [Oct 13 ]released the following statement regarding news of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the delay of absentee ballots to overseas members of the United States Military:

“I am deeply concerned about today’s disturbing report that Illinois may have failed to mail absentee ballots to our military members serving overseas in a timely manner, and in accordance with the law,” Brady said. “The U.S. Department of Justice is right to conduct a full and immediate investigation.

“The Federal Government and the state of Illinois have the responsibility to take any and all action to ensure the right of those who defend our freedom overseas to cast their votes in this important election. Failure to act on this disturbing report threatens the integrity of this election, and our democratic process.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pensions -- The Issue that Can No Longer Be Swept Under the Rug

by Terry Martin

One of my biggest mistakes was NOT writing the book I began in 1994 on the coming collapse in publicly funded pension systems. Called "The Pension Eclipse" and based on my Masters Thesis, it was going to lay out how there were far too many promises made to ever be realized. This was long before I ever knew I was coming to Illinois.

The largest point is that one must factor in the cost of ALL of the taxpayer supported pensions, and what that means to one taxpayer. A citizen of Chicago for example, pays taxes to support Soc Sec, Federal workers retirement, State workers, County workers, and local Fire, Police and civil servants. In addition, they have to underwrite the govt's bailout of private pensions that go bellyup.

When you add it all up -- that taxpayer would have to be taxed at such a rate to make good on those obligations, that he/she wouldn't be able to support themselves! Thus, publicly funded pension will Eclipse all other spending issues, until govts reform them, and quit trying to finance their way out of the insatiable black hole, that are our publicly funded pension systems T'aint enough money to around to make it possible. It's simply an issue of fishes and loaves... and too large a crowd.

Pretending we can pay full pensions, to all that have had promises made to them at the Federal, State, and local level -- is to continue the lie of the last 40 years. It doesn't help those who are expecting a pension, to have their system go under. The fact is -- we can make adjustments to decrease benefits, while asking taxpayers to pay a bit more. We can make some other tweaks that spread the pain out over more years. But there is no escaping that pain is on the way. And the longer we wait to face these inescapable facts... the greater the pain will be to those who were promised benefits beyond financial reason... or simple math.

UIS to Host Author James Swanson to Discuss His Book on Lincoln

WHAT: Author James L. Swanson will speak about his new book Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln 's Corpse. The discussion will be hosted by Dr. Michael Burlingame, Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at UIS.

WHEN: Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Brookens Auditorium on the lower level of Brookens Library

DETAILS: In Bloody Crimes, James L. Swanson the Edgar Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Manhunt - brings to life two epic events of the Civil War era: the thrilling chase to apprehend Confederate president Jefferson Davis in the wake of the Lincoln assassination and the momentous 20 -day funeral that took Abraham Lincoln’s body home to Springfield. A true tale full of fascinating twists and turns, and lavishly illustrated with dozens of rare historical images - some never before seen - Bloody Crimes is a fascinating companion to Swanson’s Manhunt and a riveting true-crime thriller that will electrify civil war buffs, general readers, and everyone in between.
Swanson has degrees in history from the University of Chicago, where he was a student of John Hope Franklin, and law from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has held a number of government and think-tank posts in Washington, D.C., including at the United States Department of Justice. He serves on the advisory council of the Ford’s Theatre Society.

His other books include the acclaimed photographic history Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution, as well as Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. James L. Swanson was born on Lincoln’s birthday.

For more information contact Dr. Michael Burlingame at 217/299-9306 or email mburl2@uis.edu. This event is free and open to the public.

White House Says Moratorium on Gulf Drilling to be Lifted Soon

WASHINGTON -- The White House said Tuesday the government will lift a moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico "very soon" - likely this week.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the government is close to having the plans in place to lift the ban that was imposed after the massive Gulf oil spill.

Monday, September 27, 2010

GOP Sen Candidate Mark Kirk Statement on Moody's Downgrading Illinois' Credit Rating


Northbrook, Ill. – The Kirk for Senate campaign today released a statement regarding last week’s decision by Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade Illinois’ credit rating to a negative outlook.

“From Springfield to Washington, we need to elect fiscal conservatives who will cut spending, get our debt under control and turn our economy around,” Kirk spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said. “Last week’s credit warning by Moody’s Investors Service should be a major wake-up call to the citizens of Illinois that we need to change direction in November. As our state’s treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias is akin to the first mate on the Titanic. The last thing he deserves now is a promotion.”

Last week, Moody’s downgraded Illinois bonds from A1 with a stable outlook to A1 with a negative outlook. In June, Moody’s lowered the state’s rating to A1 from Aa3 with a negative outlook.

Background on the Small Business Bill President Obama Will Sign today

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary


September 27, 2010


Today, President Obama will sign the Small Business Jobs Act, a bill that will give our nation’s small businesses support and incentives to help them grow and hire. The bill includes a series of small business proposals that the President put forth earlier this year, and small businesses will start benefiting from the bill on day one.

The President will be joined at the signing today by a group of small business owners who will benefit from the new legislation, some of whom the President has previously met with as he fought to pass this bill (their bios are below). He will also be joined by Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and Members of Congress. The signing is today at 1:45 pm ET in the East Room at the White House. The signing is open press.

The Small Business Jobs Bill Will Provide Immediate Support for Small Businesses:

The bill immediately extends successful SBA Recovery Act provisions, meaning that within a few days, it will restart the SBA’s Recovery lending, beginning with the more than1,300 small businesses that have been waiting to get the credit they need – with thousands more benefitting in the coming weeks.

And the bill includes eight new small business tax cuts – all effective as of Monday, and applying to small businesses’ taxes for this year – providing an immediate incentive for businesses to make new investments and expand.

For example:

· if you are a small business and you buy new equipment, you can immediately write off the first $500,000 of your investments;

· if you are one of over one million eligible small businesses, key long-term investments in your company will be subject to zero capital gains taxes;

· if you are an entrepreneur and take a chance on a new idea, you can deduct the first $10,000 of your start-up costs;

· and if you are self employed you can deduct 100 percent of the cost of health insurance for you and your family from your self-employment taxes.

Eight Small Business Tax Cuts – Effective Today, Providing Immediate Incentives to Invest: The President had already signed into law eight small business tax cuts, and on Monday, he is signing into law another eight new tax cuts that go into effect immediately.

1. Zero Taxes on Capital Gains from Key Small Business Investments: Under the Recovery Act, 75 percent of capital gains on key small business investments this year were excluded from taxes. The Small Business Jobs Act temporarily puts in place for the rest of 2010 a provision called for by the President – elimination of all capital gains taxes on these investments if held for five years. Over one million small businesses are eligible to receive investments this year that, if held for five years or longer, could be completely excluded from any capital gains taxation.

2. Extension and Expansion of Small Businesses’ Ability to Immediately Expense Capital Investments: The bill increases for 2010 and 2011 the amount of investments that businesses would be eligible to immediately write off to $500,000, while raising the level of investments at which the write-off phases out to $2 million. Prior to the passage of the bill, the expensing limit would have been $250,000 this year, and only $25,000 next year. This provision means that 4.5 million small businesses and individuals will be able to make new business investments today and know that they will earn a larger break on their taxes for this year.

3. Extension of 50% Bonus Depreciation: The bill extends – as the President proposed in his budget – a Recovery Act provision for 50 percent “bonus depreciation” through 2010, providing 2 million businesses, large and small, with the ability to make new investments today and know they can receive a tax cut for this year by accelerating the rate at which they deduct capital expenditures.

4. A New Deduction of Health Insurance Costs for Self-Employed: The bill allows 2 million self-employed to know that on their taxes for this year, they can get a deduction for the cost of health insurance for themselves and their family members in calculating their self-employment taxes. This provision is estimated to provide over $1.9 billion in tax cuts for these entrepreneurs.

5. Tax Relief and Simplification for Cell Phone Deductions: The bill changes rules so that the use of cell phones can be deducted without burdensome extra documentation – making it easier for virtually every small business in America to receive deductions that they are entitled to, beginning on their taxes for this year.

6. An Increase in the Deduction for Entrepreneurs’ Start-Up Expenses: The bill temporarily increases the amount of start-up expenditures entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes for this year from $5,000 to $10,000 (with a phase-out threshold of $60,000 in expenditures), offering an immediate incentive for someone with a new business idea to invest in starting up a new small business today.

7. A Five-Year Carryback Of General Business Credits: The bill would allow certain small businesses to “carry back” their general business credits to offset five years of taxes – providing them with a break on their taxes for this year – while also allowing these credits to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax, reducing taxes for these small businesses.

8. Limitations on Penalties for Errors in Tax Reporting That Disproportionately Affect Small Business: The bill would change, beginning this year, the penalty for failing to report certain tax transactions from a fixed dollar amount – which was criticized for imposing a disproportionately large penalty on small businesses in certain circumstances – to a percentage of the tax benefits from the transaction.

Extension of Successful SBA Recovery Loan Provisions— Immediately Supporting Loans to Over 1,300 Small Businesses : With funds provided in the bill, SBA will begin funding new Recovery loans within a few days of the President’s signature, starting with the more than 1,300 businesses – with loans totaling more than $680 million – that are waiting in the Recovery Loan Queue.

· In Total, Extension of Provisions Which Have the Capacity to Support $14 Billion in Loans to Small Businesses: Extending these Recovery loan enhancements – which increase guarantees for SBA’s largest loan program (the 7(a) program) to 90% and reduce fees for the 7(a) and 504 program – has the capacity to support $14 billion in lending to small businesses. Already, SBA Recovery loan provisions have supported $30 billion in lending to over 70,000 small businesses.

· Within Coming Weeks, the Bill Will Allow SBA to Support Larger Loans As Well: The bill also increases the maximum loan size for SBA loan programs, which in the coming weeks will allow more small businesses to access more credit to enable them to expand and create new jobs. The bill:

o Permanently raises the maximum loan size for the SBA’s two largest loan programs, increasing maximum 7(a) and 504 loan size from $2 million to $5 million and the maximum 504 manufacturing related loan size from $4 million to $5.5 million.

o Permanently raises the maximum loan size for SBA microloans, increasing it from $35,000 to $50,000 and strengthening a critical tool for entrepreneurs and business owners in underserved markets to access start-up capital.

o Temporarily raises the maximum loan size for SBA Express loans from $350,000 to $1 million, providing greater access to working capital loans that small businesses use to purchase new inventory and take on their next order – allowing them to create new jobs.

· Treasury Is Working to Quickly Implement the Small Business Lending Fund and State Small Business Credit Initiative: In addition to these SBA provisions, Treasury is working to quickly implement two new programs designed to support private-sector lending to credit-worthy small businesses, and expects to release further details in the coming weeks concerning applications for these programs.

o The Small Business Lending Fund would make available $30 billion in capital to small banks with incentives to increase small business lending, potentially supporting several multiples of that amount in new credit.

o The State Small Business Credit Initiative will support at least $15 billion in new lending by strengthening state small business programs – many of them facing budget cuts – that leverage private-sector lenders to extend additional credit.

Bios of the Small Business Owners Scheduled to Attend the Signing Today:

Terry Dunlap, Jr., Owner, Tactical Network Solutions (Columbia, MD)

In 2007, Terry Dunlap founded Tactical Network Solutions, which provides offensive network warfare support to the military and the intelligence community, located in Columbia, Maryland. Terry is currently on the waitlist for an SBA Recovery loan – once the funds are made available he plans to hire three to five new employees in order to better meet current and potential defense contract needs.

Carla Eng, Abstract Displays, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH)

In 2000, with the help of an SBA loan, Carla Eng started Abstract Displays, Inc., which specializes in trade show and event marketing, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Carla is optimistic about the future of the economy and is determined to grow and assist clients with growth in their marketplace.

Joe Fugere, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria (Seattle, WA)

Joe Fugere is the founder of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzerias located in Seattle, Washington. The first Tutta Bella opened in 2004 and has since grown to four locations, employing 180 employees. Joe funded his first restaurant personally and later opened two additional locations funded by loans from a large commercial bank. In mid-2009 Tutta Bella’s fourth location opened as the result of a loan from a community bank and currently employs 50 people. Recently, a SBA loan under the Recovery Act has helped him improve the company’s cash flow.

Ruth Gresser, Pizzeria Paradiso (Washington, DC)

Owner and Chef Ruth Gresser has helped open four restaurants in Washington, DC: Pizzeria Paradiso Dupont Circle, Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown, Blue Plate, and Obelisk. Ruth used a SBA 504 loan to purchase the retail store front in Dupont Circle and is currently in the process of expanding with a new location in Old Town Alexandria that will open next month.

Cherrelle Hurt, As We Grow Child Care & Learning Center (Richmond, VA)

Cherrelle Hurt is the owner of As We Grow Learning Center, a day care center which also offers child care business consulting, located in Richmond, Virginia. She currently employs five people, three were hired between May and August and qualified for the Federal New Hire Act, and is looking to hire an additional three by the end of October. The additional employees will allow Cherrelle to double the size of her operation. Cherrelle currently has a Richmond Economic Development Corporation loan pending that will allow her to expand her business and hire additional employees.

Noel and Glen Mouritzen, Greystones Maritime International, Inc. (Vienna, VA)

Noel and Glen are in the process of transitioning to a new company, Greystones Aviation Worldwide, which will perform warranty repair work on fuel systems for helicopters, located in Vienna, Virginia. They are currently on the waitlist for an SBA Recovery loan – once the funds are made available Noel and Glen plan to set up their repair station and hire four to five workers.

Stephen Neal, K. Neal International Trucks (Hyattsville, MD)

Stephen Neal is President and CEO of K. Neal International Trucks, Inc., a full service commercial truck dealership, employing more than 90 employees at four locations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. In the second quarter of this year, Stephen hired four people and has hired another five in the last 40 days.

Brad Ohlemacher, EMC Precision Machining (Elyria, OH)

EMC Precision Machining is now in the fourth generation of Ohlemacher family ownership – Brad Ohlemacher serves as the company’s President. Over the years, the company has provided components for the defense, automotive, and appliance industries, and currently employs over 40 employees.

Larry Poltavtsev, Target Labs, Inc. (Vienna, VA)

Larry Poltavtsev is the CEO of Target Labs, Inc., which offers technology solutions, located in Vienna, Virginia. Target Labs, a green, 100% wind powered company, has experienced recent steady growth and employs over 50 people. Twelve employees have been added since July as a result of an SBA backed loan. Larry is currently hiring for five positions and hopes to add 15 more before the end of the year, however, in order to further expand Larry will need additional access to capital.

Tony Scovazzo, AJS Consulting Engineers (Alexandria, VA)

In 1989, Tony Scovazzo formed AJS Consulting Engineers to provide quality, energy efficient HVAC engineering services to architects and building owners. Tony is currently on the waitlist for an SBA Recovery loan – once the funds are made available he plans to use the SBA loan to purchase a larger facility and hire three new workers.

Eleni Sica, Crossroads Wine and Spirits (Grand Junction, CO)

In 2004, Eleni Sica opened Crossroads Wine and Spirits located in Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2009, Eleni was able to expand and build a new facility with the assistance of a SBA 504 loan. The new location is a freestanding 8,500 square-foot building that now also includes a specialty food store on site.

Guy Brami, Gelberg Signs (Washington, DC)

Gelberg Signs, a commercial, full–service sign company located in Washington, DC, was founded in 1941 and is owned and operated by the Brami family. Gelberg Signs has received two SBA loans – one in 2004 and recently in June a 7(a) loan with a Recovery Act supported 90% guarantee, and waived fees that saved the company over $23,500. Both of these loans supported expansions and new investments in equipment and technology – allowing Gelberg Signs to secure new projects, which in turn resulted in new hires. Gelberg Signs has hired 16 people since the start of year, of which six qualified for the Federal New Hire Act, and are currently hiring for two positions.

Herb Caudill, Caudill Web (Washington, DC)

In 2004, Herb Caudill founded Caudill Web, a company that builds websites for international development projects and government agencies, located in Washington, DC. The company has grown steadily and has three employees. Caudill Web is currently having trouble keeping pace with demand but has not been able to hire additional programmers and designers due to the difficulty of obtaining credit. Caudill Web is currently on the waitlist for a SBA loan – once the funds are made available Herb will have access to the line of credit necessary to bring on one or two new employees.

Prachee Devadas, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (Silver Spring, MD)

In 2003, Prachee Devadas founded Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), which provides information technology and management consulting services, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. Since inception the company has grown from one to over 120 employees – adding 20 employees in the second quarter of this year alone as a direct result of Recovery Act contracts. Since June, SEI has successfully secured nine new government and commercial contracts, which will result in SEI hiring at least another 12 employees in the next month or so.


IL GOP Launches website "Madiganville" Depicting House Speaker as Political Puppet Master


Speaker Portrayed as “Pulling the Strings”

(CHICAGO) – Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady today announced the Party has unveiled a new web site entitled “Madiganville,” a site that will track the long political history and negative impact of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

“We want to make sure voters are aware of the death grip Madigan has on Springfield,” said Chairman Brady. “As a result of Madigan’s entrenched power we think the more appropriate name for the state is 'Madiganville.'”

Chairman Brady said the election is as much about Madigan as it is about the dismal performance of Governor Pat Quinn. “Voters have come to accept corruption and lack of progress as normal,” Chairman Brady maintained. “That’s got to change, and this is the year.”

There is also a characture of Madigan as a puppeteer controlling the strings of Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton and Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Berrios.

“It should be clear that while we’re having some fun, the issue is deadly serious,” Chairman Brady continued. “With momentum building for our legislative candidates this year, Republicans have a great chance of winning a majority in the House.”

The “Madiganville” site will include frequent “News from Madiganville” updates and links to useful information about the Speaker’s lengthy tenure in the House. Madigan was first elected to the House in 1970. He has served as Speaker for 25 of the last 27 years.

The website can be found at Madiganville.com.

# # #

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nation's Governors: Rasmussen Poll Shows Meg Whitman with 8 Pt Lead Over Jerry Brown in CA Gov's Race

The tie is broken for now, with Republican Meg Whitman, coming off last weekend’s state GOP Convention, moving out to her best showing yet in the race to be the next governor of California.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in California finds Whitman earning 48% support, while Democrat Jerry Brown picks up 40% of the vote. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) are undecided.

These new numbers move California from a Toss-Up to Leans GOP in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard.

Early this month, Brown was slightly ahead 43% to 41% in a contest that has been neck and neck since last September. Brown, currently the state’s attorney general, bounced briefly ahead immediately following the state Democratic Convention in April, but the race tightened again in June after Whitman's Republican primary win.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CRAINS REPORTS: IL Teachers' Retirement System Sells Assets to Pay Current Benefits

(Crain's) — Illinois Teachers' Retirement System, Springfield, plans to sell $3 billion in investments, or about 10% of its $33.1 billion in assets, in the current fiscal year to pay pension benefits, according to Dave Urbanek, public information officer.

The system is the fifth Illinois statewide defined benefit plan to sell off investments this fiscal year to pay benefits.

Illinois State Universities Retirement System, Champaign, expects to sell $1.2 billion in investments from its $12.2 billion defined benefit fund this fiscal year to raise liquidity to pay benefits to participants.

The Illinois State Board of Investment, Chicago, could sell $840 million investments from its $9.9 billion fund to pay benefits of the Illinois State Employees' Retirement System, Illinois Judges' Retirement System and Illinois General Assembly Retirement System. ISBI oversees the investments of the three systems.

The liquidity stress from the investment sales at the five plans could force each of them to restructure their strategic asset allocations, terminate investment managers and search for new managers.

Illinois Teachers sold $290 million in investments so far this month and $200 million last month because of a lack of state contributions.

“Without the monthly state contribution, TRS estimates sales of roughly $3 billion for the entire fiscal year, or approximately $250 million every month,” Mr. Urbanek said in a statement in response to an inquiry.

So far, TRS has accomplished the investment liquidation through “appropriate rebalancing,” Mr. Urbanek said in the statement. “As the year progresses, this approach will no longer be sufficient to cover the total amount of benefit payments and more targeted asset sales will need to be considered.

“TRS staff continues to study the impacts of the current liquidity situation on the total portfolio and recommendations will be made as necessary to adjust targets. These changes could include revisions to the system's target asset allocation and termination of investment manager relationships as 10% or more of the portfolio is liquidated to pay benefits this fiscal year,” he said.

Mr. Urbanek said the investment sales could force changes in the system's current asset allocation impacting whether it could meet its current 8.5% target rate of return.

“In the current market environment, there are significant market opportunities to institutional investors with available capital. In the absence of the required contribution from the state, TRS and the other Illinois pension systems will no longer be able to participate in these opportunities,” he said.

R.V. Kuhns, the system's investment consultant, is evaluating possible allocation changes for liquidity needs as they arise, Mr. Urbanek added. He said it was “impossible” to know details of possible searches or terminations at this time.

Since the start of the fiscal year on July 1 through Aug. 20, the system has received only $8.1 million in contributions from the state. For the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2011, the system requested $2.35 billion in contributions from the state, Mr. Urbanek said.

In the last fiscal year, the system sold $1.3 billion in assets to pay pension benefits; it received $170.4 million in employer contributions and $899 million in member contributions, while requesting $2.08 billion in employer contributions alone.

TRS' current asset allocation is U.S. equities, 30.5%; international equities, 20.3%; fixed income, 17.5%; real estate, 9.6%; real return, 9.3%; private equity, 8.3%; absolute return, 3.6%; and short-term investments, 0.9%.

Gov Quinn Picks Michelle Saddler as His New Chief of Staff


Governor Pat Quinn today named Michelle R.B. Saddler as his Chief of Staff. Saddler previously served as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). Prior to serving as Secretary of DHS, Saddler was the Director of Policy for the Quinn Administration and has held a number of key management and policy positions in the public and private sectors.

“Michelle Saddler is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated members of my cabinet, and I look forward to having her serve as my Chief of Staff,” said Governor Quinn. “There is no one better-suited to continue my mission of creating jobs, supporting Illinois’ economic recovery and protecting our most vulnerable residents.”
Saddler was appointed by Governor Quinn to be Secretary of DHS on Oct. 11, 2009. The agency, one of the state’s largest, provides integrated services to individuals, families and communities for developmental disabilities, mental health, rehabilitation services and alcoholism and substance abuse, among others.

While at DHS, Saddler was charged with implementing a number of Governor Quinn’s top initiatives, including the Put Illinois to Work program. The program was one of the largest and most successful in the nation and has put more than 26,000 people to work in subsidized temporary jobs. Additionally, under Saddler’s leadership, the agency drew down an additional $250 million in federal funds for human services.
Before being named policy chief for the Quinn Administration, Saddler served in a number of policy and management positions in both the public and private sectors. Her past positions include Vice President for International Adoptions for the Lifelink Corporation and Executive Director of the Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund. She also served as Director of Investments with then-Illinois State Treasurer Quinn and is a Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Protestants for the Common Good.
Saddler earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and has a master’s in management from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, where received the F.C. Austin Scholarship – the school’s highest merit award. (Additional background information is attached.)

“I look forward to continuing to serve and care for the people of Illinois as Governor Quinn’s Chief of Staff,” said Saddler. “I will work to continue the important partnerships with our legislators, employees, providers and advocacy groups.”

Current DHS Assistant Secretary Grace Hou will serve as the agency’s Acting Secretary. Prior to her work at DHS, Hou was Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, a non-profit social service agency that serves Chinese immigrants and refugees.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pictures of This Week's Political Rallies at the State Fair


Atty-General Lisa Madigan Chides her father, Speaker Mike Madigan, for his feeding ice cream to her children for breakfast. This was one of the lighter moments, as Illinois Democrats tried to lift their spirits in the wake of Rod Blagojevich's conviction the day before, and polls showing Republicans ahead in a number of key races.


Republicans were far more upbeat this year, where they believe they have a strong opportunity to pick up Barack Obama's US Senate seat, and to win back the Governor's office, and several other statewide offices. Steve Kim, is one of those with a very difficult race -- running against Sec of State Jesse White. But he told the crowd of his pride in being the first Asian-American to be nominated for a statewide office.

BELOW: A Massive Confetti spray fell upon the GOP rank 'n file, and visually captured their mood as the Republicans launch their fall campaigns.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gov Quinn Speaks on Gov Blagojevich's Conviction

 Gov Quinn responds to conviction of Blagojevich by Urging Passage of Recall Amendment on Fall ballot for IL Constitution. Says Honesty is the ONLY policy that counts in the Governor's office.

Quinn says it was shocking at some of what Gov Blagojevich said on tape. Quinn says he thinks the people know he fights for honesty everyday, and that he continues to fight for those principles. He wants stronger ethics laws in Illinois, giving the people reforms that are needed.

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Brady on Blago Conviction

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady today released the following statement in response to the Blagojevich trial verdict;

“The people of Illinois are grateful to the men and women of the jury for their hard work. While we hoped this decision would mark the end of an unfortunate chapter and put this embarrassing episode behind us, today’s conviction of Rod Blagojevich for lying to federal law enforcement officials will likely result in further action in the pursuit of justice.

But one thing is clear - the people of Illinois are rightly frustrated about the unchecked power of politicians like Rod Blagojevich who put the special interests before taxpayers. This important election in November marks the single best opportunity in our lifetime to finally clean house in Springfield.”

Statement of IL GOP Chair Pat Brady, on Blago's Conviction

CHICAGO - Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady issued the following statement today regarding the decision of the jury in the trial of Rod Blagojevich:

“We extend our gratitude to the men and women of the jury for their sacrifice and hard work. They had a difficult job, as demonstrated by their many days of deliberations. The fact that Rod Blagojevich was convicted on only one of the counts against him does not take away from his serious breach of the Public’s trust.

“From his infamous “bleeping golden” remark to his attempt to shake down Children’s Memorial Hospital, Blagojevich was all about pay-to-play. The lack of any real defense and Blago’s refusal to testify spoke volumes.

“The entire case was a black eye for Illinois, but made even worse by the fact that Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan and the Democrats stood by this man, supported his re-election and later denied the public the right to a special election for the U.S. Senate seat Blagojevich had tried to sell. The trial also showed that Blago’s scheming was going on in the earliest days of his administration, and yet Quinn, Madigan and the Democrats were silent.”

# # #

Sen Brad Burzynski (R) Statement on Blago's Conviction

SYCAMORE, Ill. – State Senator Brad Burzynski (R-Rochelle) gave this statement in response to the outcome of the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial on Tuesday, August 17:

“While the outcome of the trial is disappointing, I am glad to hear the prosecution plans to pursue a retrial and it is important to remember that Blagojevich is now a convicted felon. However, most importantly, we as legislators and public officials must now make an even greater effort to bring true and effective ethics reforms to state government and hold ourselves to a higher standard than ever before. We must send the signal to the people of Illinois that accepting actions like those of Blagojevich and his enablers as ‘business as usual’ is unacceptable. This isn’t a time to succumb to apathy or disenfranchisement, but rather an opportunity to realize how greatly we need to set a new standard for those who represent the people’s interests.”

Fed Judge Says Laws Prohibiting Demonstrations at Funerals are Unconstitutional

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A federal judge ruled Monday that Missouri laws restricting protests near funerals are unconstitutional.

Missouri legislators passed two laws in 2006 in response to protests at soldiers’ funerals by members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The church contends soldiers’ deaths are God’s punishment on the U.S. for tolerating homosexuality.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan on Monday ruled that the Missouri law violates the right of free speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The primary law had barred protests near any funeral, procession or memorial service from an hour before until an hour after the service. The secondary measure specifically stated protesters needed to stay back at least 300 feet. Both provisions levied the same penalty: up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense and up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for repeat offenders.

Gaitan’s ruling affected both laws. State lawmakers said they approved two laws so there was a fallback position in case one was challenged in court.
Numerous states have passed laws restricting protests at funerals, and some have been challenged. Missouri’s law was sponsored by two St. Joseph lawmakers after members of the Kansas church protested outside the 2005 funeral of a soldier from their legislative district.

Monday, August 16, 2010

President Obama's Remarks on Manufacturing Jobs in Clean Energy Field

Remarks of President Barack Obama-As Prepared for Delivery

Clean Energy Manufacturing

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

It’s good to be here with the folks of ZBB Energy. I just had the chance to see some of the batteries you’re manufacturing here – and talk to the men and women who build them. The reason I’m here today is because, at this plant, you’re doing more than just making high-tech batteries. You’re pointing the country towards a brighter economic future.

That’s not easy. We’ve been through a terrible recession – as bad as we’ve seen since the Great Depression. And this recession was the culmination of a decade that fell like a sledgehammer on middle-class families. For the better part of ten years, people faced stagnant incomes, sluggish job growth, skyrocketing health care costs and tuition bills, and declining economic security.

Few parts of the economy were hit harder than manufacturing. Over the last ten years, the number of people working in manufacturing shrank by a third. This has left millions of skilled, hardworking people sitting idle as the plants that they once worked in shut their doors. And that was before the recession left them and millions of others struggling in ways they never imagined.

Now, there are some who suggest this decline is inevitable. But I don’t see it that way – and neither do you. Yes, times are tough. But we have been through tough times before. And we’ve made it through because we’re resilient – because we have never given in to pessimism or cynicism. We fight for our future and we shape our own destiny. Well, that’s what we’ve been doing over the past year and half. We have been fighting on all fronts – inch by inch, foot by foot, mile by mile – to get this country moving forward again, going after every job we can.

We’re investing in 21st century infrastructure – in roads and bridges, in faster internet access and high-speed railroads – projects that will lead to hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs. We’ve cut taxes for small businesses that hire unemployed workers, and I’ve signed seven other small business tax cuts to help folks expand, buy new equipment, and add employees. And we’ve taken emergency steps to prevent layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other critical public servants in our communities. These are folks who would have otherwise lost their jobs because of state and local budget cuts.

At the same time, we’ve been jumpstarting a homegrown, clean energy industry – building on the good work of your governor and others in this state. That’s why I’m here today. Because of the steps we’ve taken to strengthen the economy, ZBB received a loan that’s helping to fund an expansion of their operations. Already, it’s allowed ZBB to retain nearly a dozen workers. Over time, the company expects to hire about 80 new workers, too. And this is leading to new business for your suppliers, including MGS Plastics, another manufacturer here in Wisconsin.

ZBB is also planning to take advantage of a special tax credit to build another factory in Southeastern Wisconsin to create more jobs. They are confident they can expand because they are seeing rising demand for advanced batteries. This is in part a result of steps we’ve taken in clean energy – steps that have led to jobs manufacturing wind turbines and solar panels, building hybrid and electric vehicles, and modernizing our electric grid so that it can use more renewable sources of energy.

We expect our commitment to clean energy to lead to more than 800,000 jobs by 2012. And this isn’t just creating work in the short term – it’s helping to lay a new foundation for lasting growth. Just a few years ago, for example, American businesses made only 2 percent of the world’s advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. But in just a few years, we’ll have up to 40 percent of the world’s capacity. Here at ZBB, you’re building batteries to store electricity from solar cells and wind turbines. And you’ve been able to export batteries around the globe, helping us to lead in this new industry. For years, we’ve heard about manufacturing jobs disappearing overseas. Companies like this one are showing us how manufacturing jobs can come back.

Now, obviously, the progress we’ve made isn’t nearly enough to undo all the damage that was done by the recession. Too many of our family members, our friends, our neighbors are still unable to find work – often for long stretches of time. I’ve said since I took office that my administration will not rest until every American who is able and willing to work can find a job, and a job that pays a decent wage with decent benefits to support a family.

But what’s clear is that we are heading in the right direction. Just a year and a half ago, the economy was shrinking rapidly. Now the economy is growing. We were bleeding 750,000 jobs each month. Now the economy has added private-sector jobs for seven months in a row. The worst mistake we could make now would be to turn back. We’ve got to keep moving forward.

But some folks in Washington argue we should abandon these efforts. These are the same folks in Washington who made the political calculation that it was better to stand on the sidelines than work as a team to help the American worker. They said no to small business tax cuts, no to rebuilding infrastructure, no to clean energy projects. They even voted against getting rid of tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.

Well, my answer to the folks who have played politics the past year and a half is to come to this plant. They should go to any of the dozen new battery factories, or the new electric vehicle manufacturers, or the wind turbine makers, or solar plants that are popping up all over this country. I want them to explain why they think these clean energy jobs are better off in other countries instead of right here in the United States.

See, when folks lift up the hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines stamped “Made in America.” When new batteries to store solar power come off assembly lines, I want to see printed on the side, “Made in America.” And when new technologies are developed with the potential to unleash new businesses – and even whole new industries – I want those products to be made in America. That’s how we’ll create jobs. That’s how we’ll strengthen this economy.

These have been a very hard couple of years for America. And there will be some more difficult days ahead. It would a mistake to pretend otherwise. But we are headed in the right direction. And I am confident about our future. Because of what I have seen at this plant. Because of what I have seen taking place across this country. And because, when the chips are down, it is always a mistake to bet against the American worker.

This nation is home to the most skilled and industrious people on this earth. There is nothing we cannot achieve when we set our minds to it. All we need to do is harness the potential that has always been central to our success. That’s not only how we’ll come through these storms – that’s how we’ll emerge stronger than ever before.

Thank you.

Friday, August 13, 2010

VP Biden Statement on the Death of former Sen Ted Stevens of Alaska

"My thoughts and prayers go out to Catherine and all the Stevens children, as well as to the families of those also lost today in Alaska. Jill and I had genuine affection for Ted. As Senators, he and I bonded over shared similar family tragedies, but we also celebrated life's great moments together too, like the births of our daughters a few days apart. We served together for more than 30 years, but more than that, he was my friend and I will miss him."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

EDITORIAL: Let the Debates Begin Shall We ?

The Illinois Channel does not take sides in partisan elections. Our role is to connect elected officials or candidates for office to citizens, so we may facilitate a greater understanding among the electorate of the issues and candidates' positions.

But we do take sides on whether candidates should or should not debate. THEY SHOULD. Now we hear that there is much foot dragging among the various political camps about getting their candidate to appear in a debate. We hear that behind the scenes the candidates for the US Senate are still dilly-dallying, hemming and hawing, and offering delay upon delay as to whether they will or will not meet in a public forum to debate their opponent.

As we sit here with one former governor in prison, and another awaiting his fate at the hands of a jury. When the state and nation are facing bankruptcy and citizens are marching in the streets for new leadership -- We would hope that anyone who says they are a leader, that they are motivated by a call to public service, would be willing and eager to share their ideas on what they would do if elected.

This is a critical time. It therefore is a critical election. Among the items citizens should consider when looking at a candidate's qualifications for office -- is how much they believe in your right to know where they stand. If they won't bother to debate their positions before the election, how open will they be after the election?

So woe to those who fail to debate. We'll be watching, and reporting on those dragging their feet, instead of signing up to debate.

State Treasurer Giannoulias Proposes Greater Transparency on Banks


Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias today will recommend tougher federal accountability and transparency measures for banks to meet community reinvestment act guidelines.

Giannoulias will submit written testimony, telling federal bank and thrift regulators that when the Community Reinvestment Act ratings of banks were first made public in 1990, one in 10 financial institutions failed their CRA exam. Today, the number is less than 2 percent, yet millions of Americans are still unbanked or victims of predatory lending.

“On one hand, we have almost every bank in the nation receiving a ‘Satisfactory’ rating when it comes to community reinvestment, while on the other hand we have millions of Americans who have no access to safe mortgages or low-cost checking accounts,” Giannoulias wrote. “CRA ratings may look good on paper, but in reality they are falling short.”

Giannoulias will submit testimony during the third of four national public hearings jointly sponsored by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

“While there is much to do on the legislative side of this important law, including passage of a fair, safe, and more relevant version as proposed in the Community Reinvestment Modernization Act of 2009, (H.R. 1479), my focus today is the importance of establishing transparency within CRA, specifically with regard to qualifying activities, ratings, and reporting,” Giannoulias added.

He recommended regulators improve transparency and accountability in three ways:

Give banks a numeric grade on a scale of 1 to 100 so that consumers can tell if a bank is fully committed to community reinvestment or barely passing, just like a standard report card. Currently, banks are ranked on a 0 to 24 scale which is less intuitive for consumers.

Modernize the weighting system for various financial products, so that it is clear how banks are being measured. Products and services that complement a bank’s lending activities, such as low-cost checking accounts and payday alternative loans, should count toward CRA, but should be weighted according to their impact.
Make it easier for the public to acquire full-length CRA reports from bank and thrift regulatory agencies on a single, searchable online database on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council website. This level of transparency is not available today.

The State Treasurer’s Office only wants to do business with financial institutions that show commitment to their communities, so it took matters into its own hands last year, Giannoulias said.

Since June 2009, the Treasurer’s Office has required all banks that received or renewed state deposits to pledge to provide non-predatory foreclosure prevention products, conventional banking services to the unbanked and small business loan products.

“We’re doing what we can at the state level to hold financial institutions accountable to their neighborhoods,” Giannoulias wrote. “But federal reforms are needed to clearly differentiate between the financial institutions that are going the extra mile and those that achieved ‘Satisfactory’ by the skin of their teeth.”

Sen. Durbin Has Surgery for Intestinal Tumor -- Noncancerous

CHICAGO, IL] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today underwent surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center to have a small gastro-intestinal stromal tumor (GIST) removed from his stomach. The tumor was not present in the lining cells of the stomach; it was completely removed and preliminary biopsy results demonstrate a favorable prognosis. According to Durbin’s doctors, there was no evidence that the tumor had spread beyond the site from which it was removed.

Durbin discovered the problem a few weeks ago during a routine medical check-up. Subsequent examinations of Durbin’s esophagus and stomach showed no cancer. The small size of the abnormality on the senator’s stomach lent itself to complete removal through a procedure known as laparoscopic partial gastric resection. Following his recovery from surgery, doctors do not expect Durbin to require further treatment.

“Senator Durbin went through today’s surgical procedure with flying colors and is resting comfortably,” said Durbin spokesman, Joe Shoemaker. “He expects to be released from the hospital and resume a light schedule in the next couple days, and should be able to resume a full schedule as soon as next week.”

Partial gastric resections are seen as safe and appropriate treatments for patients with gastro-intestinal stromal tumors. The procedure involves the removal of part of the stomach, completely excising the potentially affected area. As in the case of Sen. Durbin’s surgery, many of these operations can be performed through a minimally invasive procedure known as laparoscopy.

GIST occurs in approximately 4,000-6,000 people each year in the United States and account for about 1% of tumors of the stomach and small intestine; more than 150,000 gastric resections were performed in the United States in 2009.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gov Quinn Signs New Law Prohibiting Credit Checks on Job Applicants

CHICAGO – August 10, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that prohibits Illinois employers from discriminating based on a job seeker or employee’s credit history. The new law will remove a significant barrier to employment for the growing segment of the population whose credit history has been affected by the historic national recession.

“A job seeker’s ability to earn a decent living should not depend on how well they are weathering the greatest economic recession since the 1930s,” said Governor Quinn. “This law will stop employers from denying a job or promotion based on information that is not an indicator of a person’s character or ability to do a job well.”

House Bill 4658, sponsored by Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) and Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), creates the Employee Credit Privacy Act. Under the act, Illinois’ employers may not use a person’s credit history to determine employment, recruiting, discharge or compensation.

The new law forbids employers from inquiring about an applicant or employee’s credit history or obtaining a copy of their credit report. The law does not affect an employer’s ability to conduct a thorough background investigation that does not contain a credit history or report.

Employers who violate the new law can be subject to civil liability for damages or injunctive relief.

Under the new law, employers may access credit checks under limited circumstances, including positions that involve: bonding or security per state or federal law; unsupervised access to more than $2,500; signatory power over businesses assets of more than $100; management and control of the business; access to personal, financial or confidential information, trade secrets, or state or national security information.

Pre-employment credit screenings are on the rise throughout the nation. The Society for Human Resources Management recently found that 60 percent of employers run a credit check on at least some applicants. That is an increase from the 42 percent in 2006 and 25 percent in 1998.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2011.

Monday, August 9, 2010

White House Press Officer Takes Questions Aboard Air Force One on President's Policies



Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release August 9, 2010



Aboard Air Force One

En Route Texas

10:29 A.M. EDT

MR. BURTON: All right, thank you for joining us on our trip to Texas. Any questions?

Q Bill, I do -- a couple quick questions about today. How does the President view a day like this, in which he spends a lot of his time raising political cash? Does he actually enjoy fundraising, or is this more of just a necessary part of the job?

MR. BURTON: I would say the President -- a couple things. For starters, the President is doing a couple different things today. He’s going to be raising some money. He’s going to be talking about the importance of education for our long-term economic outlook.

And as it pertains to campaigning, I would say that the President -- what the President does like about it is having the opportunity to go out to the American people and explain the choice that they’re going to have this November between some of the policies that the President and Democrats have been putting forward to get our economy back on track, and what the Republicans stand for, which is the same policies that got us into the economic crisis to begin with.

So he does like talking plainly to the American people about the issues that we face and the choices that they have. But he’s President of the United States, so every day there’s something new and several different challenges he has to take on, and he takes them on as they come.

Q As for the education speech itself, from the White House perspective, will the education community, will college students hear anything today from the President that they haven't heard before?

MR. BURTON: What they’ll hear is the President talking about the goal to, by 2020, to get America -- to have America as the country with the largest share of college graduates of any country in the world. He'll talk about some of the steps that we've taken to get there, for example, taking $60 billion that would have gone to big banks and lending institutions and putting it towards -- directly towards helping students complete their college educations. And he'll talk about Race to the Top. He'll talk about what we need to do in order to improve community colleges, where a lot of students are getting their higher education.

So in that sense, yes, there will be some new things that maybe folks have not heard before.

Q Bill, two quick questions. Can we expect the President to make an announcement on Christy Romer’s replacement before he goes to Martha’s Vineyard? And two, who are the candidates? Who’s on your short list?

MR. BURTON: There’s no -- the timeline that we're on is that by September 3rd, when Dr. Romer leaves her post is to have that position filled. She’ll obviously have a big say in who gets that position.

Q She’ll have a big say in it?

MR. BURTON: Yes, she’ll have a big say. But right now the President is examining candidates and taking a look at who the right person is.

Q So we don't expect an announcement before Martha’s Vineyard then?

MR. BURTON: I don't know about that necessarily. There won’t be one this week, though.

Q On the Texas visit, what do you make of the fact that Bill White, the nominee for governor, is making himself scarce? What does that say about the President’s coattails and image and popularity?

MR. BURTON: I don't think that it says anything broadly about the President’s coattails. I think it says that Bill White had something else going on today that he would rather do than campaign with the President.

Q Well, does the President take that as an insult?

MR. BURTON: No, he thinks that candidates should make their own decisions about how best to spend their time. He definitely does not take that as an insult.

Q How do you respond to the Republican argument coming out of Texas that Texas is in such better shape than most of the country because it has lower taxes, lower spending, run by Republicans? I mean you’re not going into friendly political turf today exactly.

MR. BURTON: Well, Texas is obviously a great state, one of the greatest states in the country. But like every other state, they’ve gone through this economic crisis, and they’ve lost a lot of jobs, which the President is doing everything he can to help create an environment where more jobs are being created.

They're a state that also has had a very tough time with the issue of health insurance. I know it has one of the lowest rates of health insurance in the country. So health insurance reform that the President signed into law this year I know will have a big impact on helping Texans get insured.

So I would say that you can have different competing economic philosophies, but the President is doing everything he can to help the Texas economy, just like the United States economy, get back on track.

Q Bill, the President has told Democratic candidates that he’ll do what he can for them, and if you want me by your side, I’ll be there with you, but if you want me to stay away, I’ll also stay away. Is he sort of reconciled to the fact that some Democrats like Bill White just really don't want to be seen with him?

MR. BURTON: I think that there has never been a President in the history of this great country who has been wanted by every single candidate across the country to come and campaign for them. President Obama has said plainly that he is going to go out and be helpful where he can be most helpful and spend his time doing things that are helping Democratic candidates across the country. And in the sense that he’s come to grips with that, it’s a historic fact of life.

Q But how does he balance those needs? Because he’s being helpful by raising money for Democrats in Texas, but he may also, in fact, be hurting the White campaign by showing up there at this time. So how do you sort of balance those competing needs?

MR. BURTON: I don't think anybody’s campaign is being hurt by the funds that the President is raising for the effort today. The President balances his time by taking a look at a map and seeing where he can be most helpful and when.

Q The President this morning at his event talked about the success of the cement plug. Who is briefing him? Did he receive his briefings over the weekend or this morning on the cement plug?

MR. BURTON: He -- I missed the last part of your question, but if I don’t answer it just let me know. He’s been briefed regularly by Carol Browner and other staff, and he continues to receive updates every single day even on the weekends.

Was there any other part to your question?

Q Well, a food-related Gulf question. Number one, he -- there’s two events where they’ve served seafood from the Gulf -- the shrimp last night and then I guess po’ boys at an event today. Can you tell us like where exactly those two things came from?

MR. BURTON: I had that same question and I’m tracking it down. I will let you know as soon as I hear.

Q Do you have any update on who will head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? And what’s the White House’s reaction to Senator Dodd last week saying that Elizabeth Warren will cause a fight if she’s the nominee?

MR. BURTON: Well, for starters, I would say that there is no update on the timing. It’s not going to happen this week.

But in terms of Senator Dodd, I think that we’ve litigated what he has had to say, and a lot of folks have opinions about Elizabeth Warren and other candidates. It’s the White House’s view that Elizabeth Warren would be confirmable. And I think that -- I think we’ve addressed that.

Q Can we expect an announcement before -- again, before he goes to Martha’s Vineyard?

MR. BURTON: Check back at the beginning of next week.

Q And of the actions of North Korea firing 110 rounds of ammo in disputed waters, any White House reaction?

MR. BURTON: Well, obviously the President wants to make sure that everybody is doing what they can to make sure that region is stable and there’s security for folks all over the region. But on that particular incident, no, not particularly.

Q The President is going to have a brief conversation with Governor Perry about border security. What is he going to tell the governor, and does he feel like -- that enough is being done to secure the border?

MR. BURTON: For starters, the President has done -- the President has put more assets on the border to secure the border than has ever previously been there. That includes National Guard troops, technology, things he has done on enforcement. That’s something that he is working very hard on.

I think that -- you know these tarmac greets with elected officials, Governor Perry will be there. It will probably be a very brief conversation.

Q Why not a substantive conversation of an issue of tremendous importance to border states?

MR. BURTON: This is something the President has been working hard on. And we’ve been in contact with Governor Perry. I know that our staff has contacted him for meetings and briefings to discuss the matter, and it’s something that we will continue to work on with them. Today, the schedule just didn’t allow it.

Q Any other announcements for Texas, anything specific? We’re still waiting for U.S. Attorneys.

MR. BURTON: No, nothing in particular on that, not at this point.

Q What’s the holdup?

MR. BURTON: I think we’re working with the delegation on the appropriate nominees.

Q And one last question. In some of his fundraising speeches, the President has been quite critical of George W. Bush. Can we expect him to criticize the former President today again on his home turf?

MR. BURTON: I think you’ll hear from the President on a lot of the messages that you’ve heard in the past about the kind of policies that he and Democrats have been promoting, and about what Republicans have been promoting, which are some of the same policies that got us into the situation that we’re in right now. So I don't think that there will be a marked difference from what you’ve heard in some of the other events.

Q Why no meeting with President Bush? He’ll only be a couple of miles away.

MR. BURTON: You know -- I think that the President will obviously see him at some point in the future. I don't know if there was a request for a meeting.

Q The Justice Department says negotiations with BP had been completed to establish the $20 billion fund. Do you have any details on those arrangements?

MR. BURTON: There’s going to be some more details this morning, maybe even happening on the ground right now, but I would check in with the Department of Justice on that.

Q Anything you could tell us?

MR. BURTON: Not at this point.

Q Bill White had suggested that if the President wants to talk to him he can call him. Does the President have any plans to call Bill White, or has he called him?

MR. BURTON: There are no plans to call him, no.

Q Okay. And can you talk a little bit about why the choice of education as the topic today?

MR. BURTON: Sure. Education is a critically important issue as it relates to the competitiveness of our country with other countries. And as the President has said before, people who out-educate us today are going to out-compete us tomorrow, and we simply are not going to be in a position where the United States is falling behind other countries as it relates to higher education. So the President thinks this is an important economic issue, and thought it was important to talk about it today.

Q I’m just wondering, is there a feeling that it’s gotten kind of lost in the shuffle with all the talk we’ve had this year about health care reform and financial regulatory reform, that people haven’t been paying attention?

MR. BURTON: Well, there’s a lot of things that the President focuses on every single day that the average American probably doesn’t have the time to pick up the newspaper and read about every single thing that’s happening. And reporters don’t even have time to cover all the things that we’re doing every single day. And we’re respectful of the fact that people are busy and average Americans are trying to get their bills paid on time, get their kids ready for school in the fall, and this is just an opportunity for the President to talk about something that's very important to him.

Q Thanks.

MR. BURTON: All right, thank you.

END 10:41 A.M. EDT

Friday, August 6, 2010

Disappointing Jobs Report Shows Loss of 131,000 Jobs in July, Leaving Unemployment Rate 9.5%



Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 131,000 in July, and the unem-
ployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statis-
tics reported today. Federal government employment fell, as 143,000 temporary
workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector
payroll employment edged up by 71,000.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 14.6 million, and the unemployment
rate, at 9.5 percent, were unchanged in July. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (9.7 per-
cent), adult women (7.9 percent), teenagers (26.1 percent), whites (8.6 per-
cent), blacks (15.6 percent), and Hispanics (12.1 percent) showed little or no
change in July. The jobless rate for Asians was 8.2 percent, not seasonally
adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In July, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and
over) was little changed at 6.6 million. These individuals made up 44.9 per-
cent of unemployed persons. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force participation rate (64.6 percent) and the employment-
population ratio (58.4 percent) were essentially unchanged in July; however,
these measures have declined by 0.6 percentage point and 0.4 point, respec-
tively, since April. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes re-
ferred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged over
the month at 8.5 million but has declined by 623,000 since April. These in-
dividuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or
because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

About 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in July,
an increase of 340,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally ad-
justed.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were avail-
able for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They
were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the
4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers
in July, up by 389,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally ad-
justed.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because
they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons
marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the 4 weeks
preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsi-
bilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 131,000 in July, reflecting the
departure of 143,000 temporary Census 2010 workers from federal government pay-
rolls. Total private employment edged up over the month (+71,000). Thus far this
year, private sector employment has increased by 630,000, with about two-thirds
of the gain occurring in March and April. (See table B-1.)

Manufacturing employment increased by 36,000 over the month. Motor vehicles and
parts had fewer seasonal layoffs than normal for July, contributing to a season-
ally adjusted employment increase of 21,000. The industry had added 32,000 jobs
in the first 6 months of the year. In July, employment in fabricated metals rose
by 9,000. Manufacturing employment has expanded by 183,000 since December 2009.

Health care added 27,000 jobs in July. Over the past 12 months, health care em-
ployment has risen by 231,000.

In July, employment in transportation and warehousing edged up by 12,000. Since
a recent low in February, transportation and warehousing has added 56,000 jobs.

Mining employment rose by 7,000 in July, with the gain concentrated in support
activities for mining. Mining has added 63,000 jobs since October 2009.

Employment in professional and business services was little changed (-13,000)
in July. The number of jobs in temporary help services showed little movement
(-6,000) over the month.

Employment in financial activities continued to trend down in July, with a
decline of 17,000. So far this year, monthly job losses in the industry have
averaged 12,000, compared with an average monthly job loss of 29,000 for all
of 2009.

Construction employment changed little (-11,000) in July; 10,000 construction
workers were off payrolls due to strike activity.

Employment in other private-sector industries, including wholesale trade, re-
tail trade, information, and leisure and hospitality showed little change in

Government employment fell by 202,000 in July, largely reflecting the loss of
143,000 temporary workers hired for Census 2010. Employment in both state and
local governments edged down over the month.

In July, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
increased by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours. The manufacturing workweek for all em-
ployees increased by 0.1 hour to 40.1 hours, following a decrease of 0.5 hour
in June. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on
private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.5 hours in July.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

US Dept of Energy Moves Forward with Scaled Back FutureGen Clean-Coal Project

CHICAGO – August 5, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today responded to Secretary of the Department of Energy Steven Chu’s announcement that the Department will be moving forward with FutureGen 2.0 in Illinois. FutureGen 2.0 will be a cutting-edge, clean coal repowering program and a carbon dioxide (CO2) storage network that can be a model for the nation.

Governor Quinn and Senator Durbin released the following statement:

“Three years ago, Illinois was announced as the national winner, today we are announcing that Illinois will still be in the lead when it comes to cutting-edge coal research and creating jobs.

Secretary Chu today confirmed that more than $1 billion in federal Recovery Act funding will be invested in Illinois to break ground on FutureGen 2.0 – a project centered in Mattoon with new projects in Meredosia and other parts of the state.

Advances in other large scale carbon sequestration projects since then have required the Department of Energy to re-tool the project in order to keep the United States on the cutting-edge of clean coal technology.

The people of Illinois have overcome attempts to kill this program, delays and extensions since FutureGen was originally proposed six years ago.

FutureGen 2.0 allows Illinois to remain a leader in innovative technology that will serve as a model for the nation. The new project stays true to the original goal of 90 percent CO2 capture and will provide thousands of good paying jobs in our state.

We would like to thank Coles Together, the Department of Energy, the FutureGen Alliance, Congressman Tim Johnson and the Illinois Congressional Delegation for working hard with us to keep this project alive for so many years.”

FutureGen 2.0 will bring more than 1,000 construction jobs to downstate Illinois and another 1,000 jobs to suppliers across the state. The technology for repowering and retrofitting plants derived from FutureGen 2.0 will lead to a decade-long project of repowering and retrofitting many coal-fired power plants in Illinois, creating more than 30,000 jobs in our state over the next ten years.

Across the country, 594 coal-fired plants could be candidates for retrofitting and repowering and thousands more globally. The technology and the training center for those efforts will be centered in Illinois.

The more than $1 billion that was set aside for the original FutureGen project will be reprogrammed and awarded to the FutureGen Alliance, Babcock & Wilcox, Ameren and Air Liquide Process & Construction, Inc. to build FutureGen 2.0. The funding will support four primary areas of work in the state of Illinois:

1) The Department of Energy and its partners will establish a regional deep saline injection CO2 storage facility in Mattoon, Illinois;

2) The Department of Energy, in cooperation with the Department of Labor and the Illinois Building Trades Council, also plan to develop a regional training center on the Mattoon site to train workers in building and repowering coal-fired power stations with advanced technologies;

3) The Department of Energy’s partners will retrofit and repower Ameren’s idle coal-fired power plant in Meredosia, Illinois with advanced Oxy–combustion technology, which will dramatically reduce CO2, and other pollutants and create 700 construction jobs and more than 50 permanent jobs; and

4) The Department of Energy will support the construction of a first-of-its-kind Midwest regional CO2 transportation pipeline from the Meredosia facility to Mattoon, Illinois for sequestration.