Springfield, IL - Today, legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) to eliminate Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for members of the General Assembly was signed into law. In addition, House Bill 643 reduces per diem and travel reimbursements to 2013 levels for FY18.

A law passed during the 86th General Assembly mandated yearly COLA’s as part of compensation for lawmakers, judges, and constitutional officers. The COLA takes effect automatically unless legislation, like HB 643, is passed. Similar legislation passed in previous years to eliminate the automatic COLA and reduce per diem and travel reimbursements. The most recent laws were enacted in the fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

"The General Assembly acted wisely to eliminate the automatic COLA. Our state may have a budget, but the financial crisis has not ended. Legislators do not need a pay increase and certainly haven’t earned one after passing a 32% tax increase on to the people of Illinois," Rep. Parkhurst said about the law. "I co-sponsored this bill because I believe as long as Illinois has a budget deficit with billions in unpaid bills, legislators do not need to add to the problem."
School funding reform is an issue important to all Illinoisans. Our current system does not work. School districts are overly dependent on local property taxes making a student’s educational benefits and often their success dependent on their zip code. Under the Illinois State Constitution, Illinois' state government must provide the majority of education funding for public schools. The State of Illinois failed our children.

This session Democrats and Republicans worked together toward the unified goal of adequate public school funding for every school district in our state. Those discussions found an evidence-based education-funding model is the best way to ensure students in the most vulnerable areas of the state receive a fulfilling education.

There is a trap in the budget, once again holding families, children, and schools hostage.  The budget provides schools receive no funding unless the General Assembly implements an evidence based school funding formula. Now, the legislature is fighting over evidence based funding bill because it contains a Chicago Public School pension bailout.  Speaker Madigan is insisting on Senate Bill 1 as the evidence based funding formula. Senate Bill 1, amended in the House, secured a pension bailout for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) by attaching the bailout to an evidence based school funding reform bill.  Under SB 1, Chicago receives 64% of all new money allotted to K-12 education in the budget when Chicago only has 19% of the students. Chicago classrooms will not even see these funds because the money bails out Chicago’s mismanaged pension system.

Under SB1, the 79th district loses over $2.4 million in funding to Chicago. I will not support a bill allowing Illinois’ other 851 school districts to receive less money just to bailout CPS pensions. School districts all over the state are struggling to provide quality education.

Under years of democratic controlled leadership, Illinois is the worst and has the most inequitable school funding system in the country. The victims are our students, especially students in low-income school districts. For the first time in years, there is a real opportunity to reform and equalize school funding.

Time is of the essence. School funding is in limbo and schools do not have peace of mind in planning for the upcoming school year. We cannot and should not wait until the last minute to address school funding. I am calling upon Speaker Madigan, President Cullerton, and the bipartisan members who worked tirelessly to address school funding to come together and work on a genuinely fair solution. Please visit https://www.illinois.gov/gov/SitePages/SchoolDistrictFunding.aspx to compare school funding bills showing the difference in funding between SB 1 with CPS bailout and our plan without CPS bailout.

Lindsay Parkhurst

State Representative - 79th District
Kankakee, IL - State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) is hosting a jobs fair on July 27th at the Knights of Columbus. The jobs fair is free and open to all residents in the 79th district. There will be dozens of local, state, and national employers for job seekers to meet. Potential applicants should dress to impress and bring several copies of their resumes to hand out to employers. To assist in the job search process, there are several workshops offered including "Stand Out Resumes" at 9:15, "Drafting a Cover Letter" at 10:30, and "Interviewing Skills" at 11:45. The entire fair is from 9 am - 12:30 pm.

"I am proud to host an incredible opportunity to assist residents looking for work all at one convenient spot. I hope the workshops and the gathering of participating employers will help residents find the job they've been looking for," Rep. Parkhurst said about the job fair.

What: Jobs Fair

When: Thursday, July 27th 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

Where: Knights of Columbus, 187 S Indiana Ave, Kankakee, IL

For additional information about this event, please call the District Office at (815) 523-7779.

Springfield, IL – On Thursday, the Illinois State House of Representatives voted on the veto override of the Democrat revenue and spending bills for the state budget. A permanent income tax hike from 3.75% to 4.95% is now in immediate effect. State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) commented on her votes:

“I voted no on the veto override because this budget further burdens taxpayers with no indication the state will properly use the increased taxes and it offers no real reforms to get Illinois back on track. There is no viable plan to pay back our backlog of bills, except through more borrowing. There is no property tax relief, no structural reform to grow jobs, and no term limits. School reform through the budget is now tied to a Chicago public school pension bailout. Even with Madigan’s 32% tax hike, there will not be enough money. Eventually, we can expect the Democrats to file more bills to raise taxes and fees again to generate more revenue because their “balanced” budget is not working. The veto override means the state has a budget, but at what cost? The plan passed today is more of the same short sighted policies both investors and Illinois residents are tired of. Without fundamental changes in Illinois, there can be no confidence in the direction of our state. Residents will leave and our fiscal spiral will continue. I urge my fellow members to continue to negotiate on important issues like property tax and pension reform with the same sincerity and urgency we saw last week. There is much work left to be done.”

Springfield, IL – On Sunday, the Illinois State House of Representatives voted on a House Democrat revenue and spending bills for the state budget. State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) commented on her votes:

“House Democrats today asked us to impose a permanent income tax increase while giving nothing to our already overburdened taxpayers in return. Both these bills were filed today in an act of bad faith and in a process lacking fairness and transparency. We voted for these two bills without a clear understanding of what they do or how they will be implemented. The passage of these bills with a veto proof majority removed any incentive for Speaker Madigan to call any reform bills or to continue to negotiate on the issues that brought this state and Illinois families to their financial brink. I could not vote for a bill that further burdens the taxpayers of the 79th District when they get no relief and no reforms. I could not tell my constituents to give the state more money when there is nothing to guarantee their money will be used effectively, efficiently, and properly. It is a continuation of tax and spend practices driving jobs and people out of this state. Very few people believe this state is on the right track and we have not done anything today to change those minds. We are still waiting for the reforms promised with the 2011 tax hike. We're in the exact same place.”

Rep. Parkhurst urges lawmakers to come back to the table and remains committed to putting Illinois back on the right track.