Illinois has several new laws on the books that allow affected counties to consolidate their election commissions with their county clerk’s offices, that expand and improve the Historic Tax Credit Program, and that recognize the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology as a state agency.
Also during the week, the Illinois State Fairgrounds is prepping for the 2018 Illinois State Fair, which kicks off August 9.
Governor signs government consolidation measure
Saving taxpayers’ money and improving efficiency are the goals of a good-government reform measure signed into law July 23, allowing affected county clerk’s offices to absorb the functions of their separate county election commissions.
House Bill 5123 came from DuPage County, where residents passed an advisory referendum in March stating they wanted their county election commission merged into the county clerk’s office, a move that is predicted to save $300,000, improve efficiency, and streamline election reporting. The new law will enable that consolidation to move forward, and would allow a similar action in Kankakee County, the only other county in Illinois where a separate county election commission presently exists.
Proponents say the new law is a step in the right direction to eliminate duplicative layers of government that are a burden to Illinois taxpayers.
New law expands historic preservation tax credit program
The River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) Historic Tax Credit – a tool that has fostered the reuse of historic buildings throughout the state – has now been expanded to other communities statewide. Signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on July 26 in Peoria, Senate Bill 3527 allows for a 25 percent state income tax credit for qualifying rehabilitation projects of historic structures throughout Illinois. Originally, this tax credit was only given to projects in riverfront areas in Peoria, Rockford, Elgin, East St. Louis and Aurora.
Proponents say the new law will revitalize historic structures, add jobs and fuel economic development statewide. Since the RERZ Historic Tax Credit took effect in 2009, it has resulted in $82.1 million in private investment in Illinois’ river cities, according to Landmarks Illinois.
New law codifies Department of Innovation and Technology
To develop a comprehensive approach to modernize the state’s technology, the Governor signed House Bill 5611 to codify the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) into law. Formed by Executive Order in 2016, and now officially recognized as a state agency, DoIT is tasked with protecting the personal and private information of Illinois citizens, streamlining state operations, and improving efficiencies across state agencies.
Since its inception, the agency has encrypted more than 5.8 billion records and launched the first statewide security operations center with 24/7 monitoring aimed at identifying risk and proactively responding to cyber-threats. More than half of the state’s financials are now managed on a common system to address decades of lack of interoperability and financial management challenges. Infrastructure and network unification efforts in Illinois have already resulted in savings and cost-avoidance of more than $20 million.
Click here for additional information on the Illinois DoIT’s strategy.
Illinois State Fair kicks off August 9
The 2018 Illinois State Fair gets underway August 9 in Springfield. The 11-day event, which brings hundreds of thousands of people though its gates, celebrates agriculture as the state’s number one employer and driver of the state’s economy. The Fair will feature livestock shows, harness racing, carnival rides, a wide variety of live music and entertainers, and dozens of food and product vendors from across the state.
The State Fair runs August 9-19. Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for senior citizens (60+), and free for children (0-12). Fairgoers looking to get the most bang for their buck on carnival rides have until July 31 to purchase a mega pass, which is good for unlimited rides all 11 days of the Fair. For daily schedules and lists of vendors, competitions, attractions, and the Grandstand lineup, check out the Illinois State Fair website.