Opportunity for Input on State Budget
Governor Pat Quinn’s office has announced that, for the first time in Illinois’ history, the public can actively participate in the state’s budgeting process. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) launched www.budget.illinois.gov, a Web site that allows Illinois residents learn about the budget and provide feedback that will be used to shape the state’s fiscal year 2011. The final budget will not be adopted until some time later this spring.
This site allows Illinois residents to offer suggestions on how to balance the budget while seeing first-hand the serious financial challenges our state faces. Following the principles of openness and transparency, this site gives everyone the opportunity to become engaged in the budget process.
My Testimony to the ICC on the Illinois American Water Rate Increase
I recently testified in front of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) in opposition to a proposed rate increase for Illinois American Water (IAW), a private water utility that serves customers in the Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights portions of the 57th House District. IAW water rates are currently double or triple that paid by neighbors served by municipal water. The rate increase will make this discrepancy even greater.
I was joined at the ICC hearing by Representative Renee Kosel from Mokena and Representative Sandy Pihosfrom Glen Ellyn – both of whom also represent constituents served by IAW and who were also opposing the proposed rate increases.
I have also been working with Senator Garrett to oppose these rate increases. We hosted a meeting with residents and the Attorney General’s office, sent mailings into the district alerting constituents about opportunities to weigh in on the rate increase requests, and joined with the ICC to hold a public hearing in Mount Prospect last October regarding the latest IAW rate increase.
I am especially disappointed in the request by IAW because they are not only seeking to increase their waterrates, they are looking to increase management fees that are passed along in the rate. At a time when other companies are reducing head count and cutting back on administrative expenses, IAW has chosen to simply ask for more from ratepayers.
The ICC will make its final decision on the rate increase this month.
Deadline for General Assembly Scholarship is Approaching
The General Assembly scholarships offered will cover one year of tuition at the following state universities: University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, Chicago & Springfield), Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, and Western Illinois University.
The deadline for applications is Friday, April 16, 2010. Each scholarship will be awarded to students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate or professional curriculums. A volunteer Scholarship Committee representing the 57th District community will evaluate applications and award all scholarships. Applications are available at my website: www.repnekritz.org or by calling my district office at (847) 257-0450.
The House recently voted to abolish the General Assembly scholarships. I have decided, however, that as long as the scholarships are in place, I will not disadvantage my constituents by declining to award them. The process we use to make the awards is completely blind. I do not know who applies and my staff removes all personal indentifying information before giving the applications to the scholarship committee for their review. I am confident this process is fair and equitable.