Rep. Jeff Keicher Releases End of Session Statement

“Over a year ago, I began my first-ever campaign for public office with a very simple and straightforward platform.  My goals included protecting taxpayers, creating jobs and economic development, establishing a world-class education and workforce development system, restoring fiscal stability and balancing the budget, and rebuilding Illinois’ infrastructure.

“I am very pleased that after my first legislative session, we have started down a path to make these goals a reality.

“Illinois passed its first balanced budget in years without increasing income or sales taxes. This year’s budget paid down one billion dollars in old bills while increasing funding for education by $375 million and investing in need-based MAP grants for college students.

“We enacted a major jobs program for the first time in more than a decade to help rebuild our roads and bridges, transit, airports and rail, high speed broadband in rural areas, and state facilities. I am very proud that I helped secure $78 million for Northern Illinois University that will now be able to move forward with a Health IT Building. We are making major investments in roads throughout the 70th district.

“The General Assembly actually cut taxes on 300,000 small businesses by phasing out the corporate franchise tax.  We reinstated the MPC sales tax exemption and extended the Research & Development tax credit for our innovative manufacturing sector that is the state’s largest economic engine. Importantly, the legislature created an incentive for data centers that I hope will spark a new $1.2 billion project in DeKalb County.

“Over the course of the five-month session, more than 6,000 bills were introduced by lawmakers of both parties. While we achieved several victories, there were many bills passed by the legislature that I opposed because they did not represent the values of the families and businesses in our district.

“I strongly opposed the $3.5 billion income tax hike that will significantly raise tax rates on our residents. This plan had no meaningful property tax relief and was also opposed by groups like the Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Constituents told me very clearly that they do not trust politicians with more of their hard-earned tax dollars and I heeded their wishes.

“Likewise, I voted against an 82 percent increase in the minimum wage.  While every employee deserves to earn a living, this proposal did not adjust for geography and allowed Chicago and Cook County businesses to phase it in over ten years, while employers in our district have to do so in five years. Overwhelmingly, the small businesses in my district opposed this government mandate and I listened.

“I also opposed legislation expanding Illinois abortion law. This is a very personal issue for families but I could not support the use of tax dollars to pay for these procedures, elimination of parental notification requirements, or allowing for very late term or born alive abortions.

“Working with the Farm Bureau, Corn Growers Association, and other agriculture groups, we were able to stop legislation that would have added significant labor and regulatory costs for ethanol plants and livestock facilities. I proudly joined every member of the House Republican Caucus in the final days of session to stand with our farm community and stop these anti-business measures.

“Governing is not a game of absolutes. Votes are not easy and I do my best to represent the interests of communities and residents in the 70th district.  In my first year in office, I was pleased to see lawmakers from both political parties attempt to set aside differences and work together for the betterment of Illinois.”