Archive for August, 2018

Gov. Rauner Takes Action on Several Bills

Friday, August 31st, 2018

The last two weeks have been a busy two weeks for bill action by the Governor.  Tuesday marked the 60-day deadline for the Governor to act on many pending bills on his desk.   Currently, there are only two bills remaining that need action — most notably the Wage History bill (HB 4163).

Bills Vetoed or Amendatory Vetoed by the Governor

This week, Gov. Rauner issued an amendatory veto on SB 904 (Hastings/Hoffman).  This bill would have allowed medical providers to pursue the 1% per month interest penalty on unpaid workers’ compensation medical bills in circuit court.  While there are elements of the legislation that merit attention, other provisions will work against the employer community in assuring medical services are necessary and the charges are reasonable. As Governor Rauner aptly noted in his AV message, “SB 904 is not reform, does nothing to assist injured workers and dramatically tips the balance in favor of medical providers in a system where Illinois has the second highest medical fee schedule in the country for overall professional services and the highest in the country for major surgery services.”

This week the Governor also amendatorily vetoed SB 1737 (Muñoz/Hoffman).  As sent to the Governor, this bill does several things, among them include: updating the captive insurance regulatory structure to help Illinois overcome its competitive disadvantage in this area; adds new rate regulation for workers’ compensation insurance; increases clarity for domestic stock companies undergoing corporate divisions; establishes new regulations for short-term limited-duration health plans (STLDs) and workers’ compensation insurance; and made changes in collateral requirements to bring Illinois in equivalence with international regulatory frameworks.  The Governor’s amendatory veto eliminated from the bill the new workers’ compensation rate regulation changes and the new regulation of STLD health insurance policies.

Last Friday, Gov. Rauner vetoed SB 2332 (Morrison/Lilly).  This bill would raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. The bill also eliminates the penalties for underage possession of tobacco products.

Bills Signed by the Governor

Hailed as one of the Chamber’s legislative victories this year, the Governor signed SB 20 (Steans/Currie).  This bill contains extensive procedural changes to the Illinois Humans Rights Act and significant structural changes to the Illinois Human Rights Commission to provide for full-time, professional commissioners.

Last week the Governor signed SB 3285 (Sims/Bristow).  This bill creates the Illinois Home Grown Business Opportunity Act and provides that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall develop an economic plan to assist businesses and municipalities located geographically close to bordering states.

The Governor also signed SB 2999 (Van Pelt/Conyears-Ervin).  This bill requires an employer to reimburse an employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee directly related to services performed for the employer. It requires that the expenditure must be within the scope of employment, authorized or required and appropriate documentation is provided.

HB 1595 (Stuart/Haine) was also signed last week.  This bill amends the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act and provides for reasonable break time (instead of “unpaid break time each day”) during the first year after the child’s birth each time the employee needs to express milk. The break time may run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee and an employer may not reduce an employee’s compensation for time used for the purpose of expressing milk or nursing a baby. An employer shall provide reasonable break time as needed by the employee unless to do so would create an undue hardship as defined by the Illinois Human Rights Act.

And lastly, this week the Governor signed SB 336 (Harmon/Cassidy).  This bill expands medical cannabis as a pilot program for patients who have received a physician certification for a medical condition that an opioid has been or could be prescribed for by a physician.

Historical Society to Honor Cultural Champions

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

A lifetime Auroran whose German immigrant ancestry led him into the sausage business and a Mexican immigrant with an admirable determination to honor everyone he meets will be honored as Cultural Champions at the 2018 Roots Aurora Festival to be held Friday, Sept. 7, in downtown Aurora.

Edward Schleining will be honored for continuing the tradition of German-style sausage making at The Wurst Kitchen Sausage Company on Aurora’s near east side.  The business began as a meat market in the 1870s, and moved to its present location at 638 Second Avenue (corner of Union Street) in 1895.   Schleining makes sausages from scores of old ethnic recipes as well as new items with unexpected, trendy tastes.  He also will, on a custom basis, reproduce secret family recipes and process game meat brought in by hunters.

Gonzalo Arroyo will be honored for his commitment to all the many ethnic traditions of Aurora by founding the Roots Aurora festival in 2013 as a showcase for every kind of talent, art, food, and music in the city.  A community leader and educator, Arroyo’s favorite element of the festival has been the Cultural Champions awards given to those who preserve and pass on the heritage of their homelands and ancestors.   Now retired, Arroyo divides his time between Aurora and his childhood home in San Miguel Epejan in Michoacan, Mexico, where he is working to develop American models of social support agencies.

The Roots Aurora Festival will be in the area of the Water Street Mall and run from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2018.  Cultural champions will be honored at 6 p.m., following the youth talent show.   The festival coincides with the monthly First Fridays downtown art walk.  There will be entertainment from dance and music groups, ethnic food vendors, live art, children’s activities, and souvenir sales.  Admission is free.

Over the last five years, Roots Aurora has honored 25 citizens who have heritage from 12 nations and three cultural communities.

For further information, visit rootsaurora.org or Roots.Aurora on Facebook.

Landmark Agreement Reached on Old Copley Hospital

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Last night, the Aurora City Council approved a landmark redevelopment agreement regarding the historic former Copley Hospital campus that will facilitate an immediate environmental remediation of the property and its transfer to a new ownership group, Fox Valley Developers, LLC.

“After decades of decay and delay, we are moving forward with a partner who will immediately improve the campus by removing the environmental hazards and toxic debris, so that the property can completely redeveloped,” said Mayor Richard Irvin. “This property has been a detriment to the community for far too long and its repurposing is of economic significance to all of Aurora.”

Fox Valley Developers, LLC is an Aurora-centric group of business leaders who have come together with the shared vision of preserving, restoring and repurposing the historic campus. Members of the development and investment group include Jason Konrad, Russell Woerman, Paul Konrad, Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, Ronald Woerman and Michael Poulakidas.

“As business leaders invested in Aurora already, we know there is tremendous value and untapped potential in our community,” said Michael Poulakidas, a local attorney, business owner and member of Fox Valley Developers. “We couldn’t sit around any longer waiting for someone else to come forward. We realized it’s time to step up and help the City solve this problem by improving this property in a way that the entire community benefits.”

The campus has devolved from a neighborhood nuisance to a threat to health and safety of the public. The walls, ceilings and floors were ravaged by vandals and exposure to the elements as the buildings sat unsecured for years. As a result, toxic debris such as asbestos and lead paint, is commingled and scattered across the property’s buildings and is not properly secured.

“This partnership and redevelopment agreement is equal parts environmental justice and economic development,” said Ward 4 Alderman Bill Donnell. “We are helping a group of dedicated and visionary Aurora business leaders finally clean up this mess so that the community can benefit from a complete transformation of the property.”

Under the terms of the redevelopment agreement, Fox Valley Developers will be responsible for the environmental remediation of the property. During this time, the group will also undertake interior demolition and preservation work to prepare and preserve the buildings for future redevelopment. The estimated cost for this phase is $12-16 million.

After the campus has been deemed clean of environmental hazards to the satisfaction of local and state environmental regulators, the developers will be eligible for up to a $3 million reimbursement from the City. The City is not obligated to reimburse any costs until the remediation work has been successfully completed by Fox Valley Developers.

While this initial phase is completed, the new owners will complete the final architectural and engineering plans for the adaptive reuse of the property. The group has identified an innovative and in-demand concept that works within the footprint of the campus, which will bring new medical and residential uses to the neighborhood. The historical visages of the buildings will be retained.

Recognizing that a public-private partnership is necessary to remediate and repurpose the campus, there have already been preliminary discussions with the Fox Valley Park District about establishing new public parkland as part of the completed development.

“We will immediately remediate, preserve and secure the buildings, so the neighborhood and school don’t have to live with a health hazard next door,” said Russell Woerman. “In parallel with this important work, we will finalize and fine-tune our plans for the complete transformation of the campus so that it is once again a source of pride and prosperity in the neighborhood.”

Before starting the public zoning and approval process, Fox Valley Developers will meet with neighbors and the community to discuss and review plans. The development team expects to start the formal approval process by the end of spring 2019.

Fox Valley Developers has assembled a team of experts to help plan and refine their reuse concept. Konrad Construction Company will serve as general contractor for the remediation, preservation and redevelopment. Kluber Architects is the architect of record on the project.

Mayor Irvin Appoints Simon Rodriguez as City’s New Youth Manager

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Mayor Richard C. Irvin has appointed award-winning teacher Simon Rodriguez as the new youth services manager for the City of Aurora.

Born and raised in Aurora, Rodriguez is a graduate of East Aurora High School and Illinois State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Social Sciences Education, with secondary and bilingual education teaching certifications. For the past four years, he has taught bilingual social studies and led co-curricular activities at East Aurora High School.

In his new role, Rodriguez will manage the City’s youth leadership development programs, implement new initiatives to help prepare youth for lifelong success, evaluate the City’s outsourced youth programs, and develop collaborations with area stakeholders that benefit all youth in Aurora.

“This position is key to rebuilding Aurora’s youth division and certainly Simon Rodriguez has the proven results to do just that,” said Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “We’ve watched him work in the schools and in the community for a number of years. His ideas are innovative and his passion is unmatched. Simon is a role model for our youth and an example of what dedication, education and a commitment to excellence can produce.”

Following in the footsteps of his mentor and longtime educator Arlene Hawks, Rodriguez made an impact on the lives of his students in and out of the classroom. In addition to his teaching duties, Rodriguez was an advisor for the school’s drama club where he directed musicals and prepared competition-level productions.

In 2017, Rodriguez made headlines when he led students on a study abroad trip to Cuba. Rodriguez brought the trip idea to the East Aurora School District 131 board for approval months after the U.S. and Cuba officially restored diplomatic relations in 2015. He and his students spent two years raising tens of thousands of dollars and completing the required paperwork and necessary procedures for the unprecedented trip, a first for high school students in Illinois.

He plans to use his classroom, co-curricular and community development experiences to help develop a world-class youth services division.

“I am extremely excited to bring my passion for youth development to a citywide level,” said Rodriguez who began his new role this week. “As a proud product of Aurora and as an educator, it is an honor to be given the task of expanding services for our youth and fostering partnerships that will help to empower them in the present and the future.”

A former program counselor for Communities in Schools of Aurora, Rodriguez previously organized summer school programs, worked with parents and supervised summer staff. Earlier in his career, he also served as a summer camp counselor for the City of Aurora working alongside and learning from former City youth director Fred Rodgers, the namesake of the Fred Rodgers Magnet Academy in Aurora.

Rodriguez served in the United States Army after high school and currently serves as a mentor for youth in Aurora, a board member on the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board, director of communications for the Illinois State University Latino Alumni Network and an elected precinct committeeman for Aurora’s 3rd Ward, 4th Precinct.

In 2012, he was named a Mary Wyman Scholar at Illinois State University. Two years later, he earned the 2014 Phenomenal Man of the Year Award in Aurora. Earlier this month, he was featured on the WGN Morning News as he provided back-to-school advice for parents in the greater Chicago area.

Rodriguez spent the first days at his new job touring schools with Mayor Irvin, distributing school supplies and meeting with stakeholders.

“There’s going to be even more amazing things happening for our Aurora youth in the very near future,” said the new youth services manager.

#AuroraChamber News for 08.27.2018: Tariffs, Member News, Internships

Monday, August 27th, 2018

Applications for Export Assistance Now Open

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

Tariffs Could Cripple Illinois Economy »
Future IT Careers »
Member News »
Premier Investors »
Elite Members »
New Members »
Calendar of Events »

Tariffs Could Cripple Illinois Economy

According to media and business organizations, American businesses and consumers may bear the brunt of the emerging global trade war. These reports continue that tariffs are not the answer and can inflict great harm on our economy. The United States Chamber of Commerce stresses the U.S. needs free and fair trade; imposing tariffs to get there is the wrong approach.

Tariffs on steel, aluminum, and Chinese imports — as well as additional tariffs on automobiles and auto parts — have impacted business operations across the country. Long-standing trade partners, including Canada, Mexico, the European Union, and China, have already (or express plans to) respond with billions of dollars in tariffs on American-made products.

The U.S. Chamber estimates current and proposed tariffs could cost Illinois more than $4.3 billion. Did you know, Illinois exports annually:

  • More than $156 million dollars of bread, pastries, cakes, etc., to Canada?
  • More than $128 million in herbicides and antisprout chemicals to Canada?
  • More than $56 million in food preparations to Mexico?
  • More than $445 million in passenger vehicles to China?
  • More than $57 million in cooking appliances to Europe annually?

Millions of American jobs depend on our ability to trade with other companies. Did you know that more than 1.7 million Illinois jobs are supported by global trade?

How does (or will) the global trade tariffs impact you and your business? Share your experiences with us here. This brief survey should take less than three minutes to complete.

Join Us in Support of Future IT Careers

The City of Aurora, in partnership with the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, has submitted a grant application to Illinois DCEO in support of creating IT pathways opportunities for out-of-school youth (between 18 and 24 years of age) who hold either a high school diploma or GED.Participating youth will develop skills sets in data entry, word processing, help desk functions (hardware and software), as well as other administrative tasks.Short-term paid internships will be covered by the grant. It allows employers to “try before you buy” similar to the current Manufacturing Careers Internship Program. For either program, there is no further obligation to the employer upon completion of the internship.

Internships are 160 hours – either four weeks of 40 hours or part-time. Again, the $13.29 wage per hour plus associated benefits (as applicable) will be covered by the grant.

For more details, please visit our blog post.

Member News

If you have news to share with your fellow members, please forward to info@aurora-chamber.com. Be sure and check out our blog and social media for what’s happening in our region.

Face To Face Beauty Studio

Congratulations Face To Face Beauty Studio on your Ribbon Cutting Celebration.Applications for Export Assistance Now Open »
Copy King Announces Kyocera Named Most Reliable Color Copier »
Denise Sousa Joins VNA Health Care »
Aurora Area CVB Releases FY2018 Highlights »
September: National Preparedness Month »
IMSA Promise Receives Insight Into Diversity Award »
Join Us in Support of Future IT Careers »
Exhibit at Illinois Governor’s Mansion Features Aurora Item »
My Place Hotel-Chicago West/North Aurora, IL Now Open »
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit »
EEI Announces the Addition of Two Staff Members »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Elite Members

 +Intention      95.9 The River      Aaron’s      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora Limousine      Aurora University      Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Beans Greens Proteins      Caterpillar, Inc.      Chicago Steel Hockey Team      City Segment      ComEd      Company 251      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      CyrusOne      Do or Dye Designs      Dolan & Murphy      Downtown Auroran Magazine      Endiro Coffee      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      ganc.io      Gateway Mortgage Group      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Magick Woods, Inc.      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group, LLC      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.      Old Second National Bank      New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC      OnLight Aurora      Painters District Council 30      Palo Creative, PLL      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Presence Mercy Medical Center      Pure Skin Solutions, LLC      R.C. Wegman Construction Company      Rasmussen College      Rich Harvest Farms      Rush Copley Medical Center      S&S Metal Recyclers II      Scientel Solutions      ServPro of Aurora      Sign*A*Rama      SmithAmundsen, LLC      Staffing Network, LLC & QPA       Staffmark      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      T-Mobile     Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation      WSPY 

New Members

North American Industrial, Inc.
Michael Carroll
2501 Simon Drive, Montgomery
(630) 907-7891
Importers & ExportersNatural Paths for Lymphatic Wellness
Sylvia Washington
205 W Galena Blvd, Aurora
(630) 690-5420
Health ServicesMichele Williams-Keller Williams Premier Properties
Michele Williams
45 S. Park Blvd., Suite 300, Glen Ellyn
(630) 803-2354
Real Estate

GlowZone
Amanda Ellis
301 S. Route 59, Aurora
(630) 697-7611
Entertainment

Calendar of Events

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, Aug. 30, 8 – 9:30 a.m.
NEW LOCATION FOR AUGUST
Aurora Country Club, 1548 Prairie Street, Aurora
Sponsored by Caton Commercial Real EstateGrand Opening: My Place Hotel
Thursday, Sept. 6, 4 – 6 p.m.
1000 Kilbery Lane, North Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 4:30 p.m.Grand Opening: M14 Hoops
Friday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
2414 Church Road, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 11:30 a.m.

Coffee & Connections
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 8:30 a.m.
Painters District No.30
1905 Sequoia Drive, Aurora
Sponsored by New York Life

50th Anniversary: Gateway Foundation
Thursday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
400 Mercy Lane, Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 11:30 a.m.

Facebook    Blog    TwitterAurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189
www.aurora-chamber.com

‘Honor 200′ Deadline Approaches to Nominate Illinois Veterans

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Eligible are all persons who live in Illinois and have received an honorable discharge from the U.S. military. Their family and friends are invited to submit the names of eligible Illinois veterans who have accomplished significant things for their communities. The nomination form, due Friday, Aug. 31, gives the person submitting the nomination the chance to write down a list of (a) the prospective honorees’ dates of military service; (b) his or her military service commendations, awards, and decorations; and (c) his or her significant community accomplishments.

Both military commendations and community service will be taken into account in selecting a final group of honorees. The goal of the “Honor 200” campaign is to demonstrate a straight line of correlation between the abilities of Illinois service personnel to work as members of their military units and their ability and desire to use these life patterns of teamwork on behalf of the Illinois communities in which they live. “Honor 200” nominations should be sent to the Chicago office of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The nomination may be submitted online. “Honor 200” veterans will be recognized at Illinois’ Bicentennial Birthday Party and Gala to be held on Dec. 3, 2018.

 

Governor Signs Bill to Transition to Multi-year Vehicle Registration Opportunity

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Illinois law previously required owners of motor vehicles plated in Illinois to register and re-register their vehicles every year. Rep. Mark Batinick sees this as a potentially onerous mandate upon busy Illinois households. He sponsored an innovative proposal to allow (but not require) Illinois residents the option to buy a two-year license sticker.

The Office of the Secretary of State (the agency that registers Illinois motor vehicles) asked Batinick and the Senate sponsor to amend their bill to create a 2-year transition program into the new multi-year registration cycle. Therefore, multi-year registration stickers will be available no later than January 1, 2021. Nothing in the new State law will require motorists to buy a multi-year sticker; this is meant to be a voluntary option for Illinoisans. HB 4259 was unanimously approved by the House and was signed into law as P.A. 100-986 on Monday, August 20.

Governor Signs Legislation to Help Keep Illinois Students in Illinois

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation Tuesday creating a merit-based scholarship program for Illinois students and a task force to help share college and career interest data between high schools and higher education institutions. Both initiatives are products of the Higher Education Working Group focused on making the state’s colleges and universities more affordable and accessible for Illinois students.

“Our future as a state is dependent upon people wanting to live, work and attend school here in Illinois,” Rauner said. “We want to create a place where our young people want to learn and put what they have learned into practice through careers that enrich our economy and make Illinois a better place to live.”

From 1991 to 2014, enrollment at Illinois public universities and community colleges declined by 50,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. From 2011 to 2016, undergraduate enrollment at Illinois public universities fell 5,127 students, a decline of more than 8 percent.

Senate Bill 2927 creates the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program, a merit-based scholarship for Illinois students who attend college in-state.

“We’ve enacted $25 million in state funds from the FY19 budget for the program that will then be matched by universities for a total scholarship pool of at least $50 million in merit-based aid,” Rauner said.

The funds will be disbursed by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to Illinois’ public universities in proportion to their enrollment of undergraduate, in-state students.

“We have world-class institutions here in Illinois,” Rauner said. “AIM High will make them more affordable for Illinois families and allow us to better compete with out-of-state institutions offering robust financial aid packages.”

Many students in Illinois have family incomes that fall above the threshold necessary to be eligible for MAP and Pell grants but still cannot afford the full sticker price for in-state institutions.

“An initiative of our Higher Education Working Group, this pilot program is another way to encourage those furthering their education to stay here in Illinois attending our public universities,” said Rep. Norine Hammond. “In this program, participating universities will match the number of funds received by the state with their institutional financial aid.”

Institutions will have discretion over the metrics used to award merit-based scholarships to students to meet the individual needs of their campus populations.

“The AIM High grant program is one of several new initiatives designed to slow the out-migration of Illinois students,” said Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Al Bowman. “It makes sense, given competition from out-of-state schools, to offer additional merit-based scholarships so that more families see our universities as affordable. This will also help us attract some of the state’s high school graduates who are contemplating not going to college at all because of cost.”

No mechanism is currently in place to easily share information about students’ college or career interests between high schools and higher education systems in Illinois.

House Bill 4781 creates a task force to study how students’ college or career interest data can be collected and shared between high schools and higher education institutions.

“Our state has long been the second largest exporter of high school students in the country, and when Illinois high school students leave us for college, they seldom return,” said Rep. Dan Brady, the legislation’s chief House sponsor. “This is an important improvement that will bring together educational institutions and interest groups to determine how Illinois can better share information on students’ needs and goals so we can keep our brightest here.”

This data will also allow colleges and universities to enhance their programs and services to support the specific needs of their incoming student cohort through more targeted degree advising and counseling for students.

“When students attend schools that support their interests, they are more likely to persist and earn credentials or degrees,” Rauner said. “We don’t want them to have to go out-of-state because they couldn’t find an Illinois program that fits their goals and interests. Sharing this data will better prepare our Illinois institutions for our new enrollees.”

The task force is required to submit the findings of the study to the General Assembly on or before Jan. 30, 2019, and will be dissolved following the submittal.

Both bills are products of the bipartisan Higher Education Working Group, whose work includes legislation signed by Rauner earlier this month that gives priority to returning MAP grant students and streamlines licensing for teachers.

State of Illinois Sells $965 Million in Bonds

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

On Wednesday, the State of Illinois sold $965,770,000 in General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series A and Series B of September 2018. The $641,160,000 Series A of September 2018 was a takeout of the State’s $600 million in 2003B variable rate bonds and the termination of five swaps associated with those bonds.

The refunding will eliminate all the variable rate exposure and remove the highest-cost debt from the State’s capital market programs. Proceeds from the $324,610,000 Series B Bonds of September 2018 will be used to refund several series of previously issued general obligation bonds of the State. Total debt service savings of $33,643,047, or 5.89 percent of present-value savings were derived from the Series B Bonds, and each individual bond selected for refunding in this series had in excess of 3 percent present-value savings to the State. The State received bids from 87 institutional investors totaling $4,166,070,000 in orders or a 4.3 times subscription for the bonds.

This bond issue has an all-in borrowing cost for the combined series of 4.19 percent. The bonds are being issued as fully exempt from federal taxation and are rated BBB by Fitch Ratings, Baa3 by Moody’s Investor Service and BBB- by S&P Global.

“We are very pleased with the strong investor response to today’s bond sale. By refunding the $600 million in variable-rate debt, the State eliminates its highest-cost debt and replaces it with traditional fixed-rate bonds carrying a much lower overall rate of interest,” said Hans Zigmund, budget director for the State. “By refunding other outstanding bonds with higher fixed rates as part of the same bond sale, we maximized savings and minimized the costs of the sale. Taxpayers will realize these savings for years to come.”

Unemployment Falls in All Metro Areas

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Unemployment rates decreased over-the-year in July in all of Illinois’ metropolitan areas, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Data also show nonfarm jobs increased in ten of the metropolitan areas.

“The number of employed people increased in all metro areas, which contributed to the decrease in the unemployment rate,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “This has driven the unemployment rate down to near record lows across the state. In fact, the Chicago metro area had its lowest July unemployment rate on record.”

Illinois businesses added jobs in 10 metro areas, with the largest increases in Kankakee (+5.9 percent, +2,700), Elgin (+2.0 percent, +5,100), and Champaign-Urbana (+1.5 percent, +1,600). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago-Naperville- Arlington Heights Metro Division increased (+1.2 percent or +46,500). Illinois businesses lost jobs in three metro areas: Carbondale-Marion (-0.7 percent, -400), Danville (-0.4 percent, -100), and Bloomington (-0.3 percent, -300).

The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas included Leisure and Hospitality (12 of 14), Manufacturing (10 of 14), Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (10 of 14), Professional and Business Services (10 of 14), and Education and Health Services (8 of 14).

Not seasonally adjusted data compares July 2018 with July 2017. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 4.3 percent in July 2018 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in July 2018 and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.