With 2021 almost finished, I’m proud of the work your General Assembly accomplished this year. We took a magnifying glass to Illinois’ finances, passing a balanced budget, paying down our backlog of bills, and avoiding massive interest payments without cutting education funding. Our credit rating with all three major credit agencies has improved for the first time in decades. Illinois still has a long way to go, but this year demonstrated that with smart decisions and careful budgeting we can make real progress.
With the Holiday Season in full swing, many of us are spending time visiting family and loved ones. I encourage everyone to follow common-sense safety precautions, keep up-to-date on their vaccination status, and ensure you receive boosters as directed by your physician. See below for information about local testing sites and other important COVID-19 information.
As always, please contact my office if we can be of assistance and please see below for district news and information.
Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
2021 Illinois Finance in Review
Illinois’ continued economic recovery was showcased by the latest annual economic and fiscal report published by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB). Due to the work we have done since 2019, passing balanced budgets, promoting economic development and closing corporate tax loopholes, GOMB is now projecting significantly smaller deficits in future fiscal years. The forecasted shortfall of $2.9 billion in FY2023 originally estimated in 2019 is now estimated at $406 million. Similarly the FY24 shortfall has been reduced from an estimated $3.2 billion to $820 million.
This follows our work in reducing our backlog of unpaid bills and having the majority of the State of Illinois’ bills now being paid in a 30 day cycle. The backlog of unpaid bills is projected to fall beneath $2.75 billion by the end of FY22, a reduction of 70% from $9.2 billion in 2018.
Illinois improved its fiscal outlook this year, being upgraded by the major credit rating agencies, Moody’s and S&P in June and July of 2021. This was the first credit upgrade for Illinois in nearly 25 years.
Illinois Rental Assistance Program now open! The Illinois Housing Development Authority announced that the Illinois Rental Payment Program will reopen on Monday, December 6th. Applications will be accepted from through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Jan 9 at illinoishousinghelp.org.
If you are a tenant or a landlord and have applied to receive ILRPP assistance during the May-July 2021 application periods, you can check the status of your application at ilrpp.ihda.org/status. For other questions about ILRPP, please call (866) 454-3571.
Get Vaccinated with Winter setting in and the first detected case of the Omicron-variant of COVID-19 in Illinois this week, I continue to encourage everyone who is able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends boosters for all individuals aged 18 or older who received their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least six months ago, or two months prior for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
If you need help in finding a vaccine appointment visit https://www.vaccines.gov/.
Flick Park testing continues The COVID-19 testing center run by Northshore Clinical Labs in partnership with the Glenview Park District at Flick Park will be extended through June 1st, 2022.
Registration is required, you can make an appointment HERE.
Hours at the testing facility have been updated and are now:
Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (closed from 2-3 p.m.)
Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Give Back This Holiday Season
2021 Dignity Drive My office will be collecting basic personal items for persons with the women’s prisons in Illinois. You can drop off items at my office located at 1812 Waukegan Rd in Glenview and leave them with my staff during normal business hours, 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. If you have questions or want to set up a time to drop off items, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Our office will be closed for the holidays beginning December 23rd and reopen on January 3rd . We will continue to accept donations when we return.
Northfield Township Food Pantry is accepting donations With the holidays fast approaching, the support our local food pantries offer to families in need is more important than ever. If you are able, the Northfield Township Food Pantry is accepting donations during this busy season.
Open Enrollment continues Through January 15th
The ACA Health Insurance Marketplace began open enrollment on November 1st and will run through January 15th, 2022. Visit Get Covered Illinois to learn about eligibility and review the pre-enrollment checklist. The deadline to get covered beginning January 1st, 2022 is this Wednesday, December 15th. After that date any plans will begin February 1st, 2022 so if you want to avoid a gap in coverage be sure to apply now.
Our office recently hosted a virtual town hall with Get Covered IL to go over the Marketplace and new changes to plans, you can view the recording HERE.
Stay Safe this Holiday Season
While the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, be sure that your fireplace is ready for the winter heating season. Chimneys, fireplaces and wood and coal stoves should be regularly inspected and cleaned when necessary. Additionally, furnaces should be checked every year by professionals to ensure mechanical parts are functioning properly and that nothing is blocking the flue. Malfunctioning furnaces increase both the fire and carbon monoxide (CO) risks.
CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it. Under Illinois law, homes should be equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of each sleeping area. The detectors should be tested monthly to ensure they’re functioning, and the batteries are still good.
Expanded Human Rights Protections in Illinois
Homeowners with mortgages, people associated with persons with disabilities, and workers with federal work authorization– take note! The Illinois Human Rights Act expands in 2021 to include more protections that include you. Believe you’ve been a victim of discrimination? Report it! Visit Illinois.gov/DHR to find out how.
District Shout Out – Sister Paulanne Held
Sr. Paulanne needs no introduction. She has been dedicated to helping families in our community for decades. For over 30 years her Needy Family Fund at Our Lady of Perpetual Help has provided assistance to countless families. As we close out the year I want to thank her for all the inspiring and important work she has done in Glenview.
To see how you can support the Needy Family Fund, visit Our Lady of Perpetual Helps website HERE.
Events in the District
- 28th Annual Toy-ful Celebration benefiting the US Marine Corp Reserves Toys for Tots program will take place on Saturday, December 18th at 7 PM at the Glenview Community Church. The event will be a festive evening of holiday music, admission is free, but if you are able, bring a new unwrapped toy to be donated to Toys for Tots.
- The Shop Evanston Made holiday market is running now through December 19th. Check out locally made art, prints and handmade gifts. The market is located at 921 Church Street and is open Weds- Saturday 12-7PM and Sunday 12-5 PM.
- Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook will be hosting two events for their 2021 Winter Break series for LBGTQ+ and allied youth in grades 7-12. On Wednesday December 22nd from 3 to 4:30 PM will be their holiday gift making event, bring a gift you are finishing up or come and create something with the supplies provided. On Wednesday December 29th, from 3 to 4:30 PM will be a workshop on how best to give back to yourself through self-care. Both events will be hosted at Youth Services at 3080 W. Lake Ave in Glenview.
- Senator Fine, Commissioner Britton, Village President Jenny, and I were thrilled to participate in the Glenview Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Parade. It was great to be back in person to kick off the holiday season.
- It was wonderful to be with Governor Pritzker, Israeli Consul General to the Midwest Yinam Cohen and my colleagues from the Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus as we lit the State Menorah at the Thompson Center to mark the beginning of Hanukkah.
- The Skokie Chamber of Commerce had their annual Legislative Breakfast back in person again this year. I was joined by Deborah Graham from the Treasurer’s office, Sen. Villivalam, Sen. Fine, Niles Township Supervisor Ognisanti, Andrew Goczkowski from Congresswoman Schakowsky’s office and Yasmeen Bankole from Sen. Durbin’s office. We discussed what our offices have been working on for the past year and heard directly from local business owners on what issues they are focused on.