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July 2011 Newsletter

Special Session and the Budget

The General Assembly basically completed its work on time on May 31 – with one notable exception.  While the bulk of the annual operating budget of approximately $33.2 billion was agreed between the House and Senate, a $400 million dispute was left unresolved.

Some Senators felt strongly that the revenue projection used by the House to develop the budget was low by about $400 million and that the anticipated additional revenue could be used to avoid some of the cuts to education and human services.   The House refused to agree to the additional spending and proposed instead to apply any revenues in excess of our projections to the backlog of outstanding bills.  That backlog currently stands at something around $7 to $8 billion.

There was a standoff for a few weeks but the Senators ultimately agreed to go along with the House plan.  We were all called back to session for one day – June 22 – to finalize the budget.  The Governor did not call a special session for that purpose so the state did not reimburse legislators for housing and travel.

The process for developing the budget in the House involved Republicans and Democrats as well as rank and file members.  While it is not a perfect budget (if there is such a thing!) it is certainly an improvement over previous years.  I am hopeful that the cooperation we had this year can continue into the future.

Nekritz Green Team

I am proud to announce a new initiative that I have teamed with the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) for. Constituents who sign up for CUB Energy saver, at, will join my “Green Team.”  The online service recommends hundreds of free or low-cost actions households can take to slash electric and natural gas bills. It also connects to actual ComEd accounts to track real savings and to reward people who do reduce their power bills with shopping discounts from businesses such as Sears and Kmart.

Over its first 12 months of operation, CUB Energy Saver showed participants how to reduce annual electricity usage by an average of 5.5 percent, to save $55 a year on power bills. The tool also showed consumers how to cut their natural gas bills by an additional $49 a year—for total potential savings of $104 a year.

Sign up is free and should only take a few minutes. Consumers should have their ComEd bills with them when they sign up at:  Members of Rep. Nekritz’s “Green Team” who build a money-saving plan for their homes will be able to see how much money and electricity they are saving individually and as a team.

Fourth of July

I hope you had a great holiday weekend and that you were able to get out and enjoy some of the traditional festivities.  Thanks to those who marched in the parades with me.   Your support means a lot – not to mention the fact that we distributed plenty of candy, chip clips and pens to those along the parade routes.  That means fewer boxes in my basement!  Thank you!!


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