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State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) and State Senator Jim Oberweis are hosting their annual Senior Fair on Thursday, May 3rd. The event will be held at the American Legion Hall in West Chicago, 123 W. Main Street, from 10am—noon. 

Representative Fortner has continued to hold this event every year to provide area seniors with an opportunity to easily understand what resources and services are available to them in the community. There will be over 30 vendors from local businesses, organizations, and state agencies aimed at helping seniors in every aspect of their lives.

Rep. Fortner will be at the event to meet area residents and answer questions on state-related issues. The Representative encourages all interested senior citizens to attend the Senior Fair, which is free and open to the public!

Light food and beverages will be served. With questions or concerns, contact Rep. Fortner’s District Office at (630) 293-9344.
State Representative Mike Fortner will not seek reelection in 2018.  Below is a statement from the Representative on his decision: 

Life is lived in cycles. There are cycles due to changes in our personal lives and those of our families. Elected officials are not immune to these cycles. At the end of this term in 2019 I will have served 12 years in the general assembly – 6 years representing the 49th district and 6 years before that representing the 95th district. Before I was sworn in as a state representative I served 12 years in elected office with the City of West Chicago – 6 years as mayor and 6 years as alderman before that. It has been my honor to serve the public at both the state and local level, but after many months of reflection I have decided that it is time for this cycle to end, and I will not run for reelection in 2018.

As a state representative I have been privileged to use my experience in local government, science and technology to help the people of Illinois. I led the effort to improve our electric power by allowing municipalities to buy power on behalf of their residents. I have been successful in protecting our privacy from unauthorized video recording and unauthorized use of passwords on social media. This year I was successful in helping to negotiate major improvements to the way we recycle electronic equipment, and to improve access to voting registration through automation. However, none of this would have been possible without the support of the people I represent and my colleagues in the legislature.

Twelve years ago a door opened for me when my predecessor decided to seek another position. With this announcement I can open a door to a successor, who I hope will enjoy the same support and success I have in public office.
The state finances have been at an impasse for over two years. During that time I have said that I am looking for 3 R's to get beyond the impasse: Reductions, Revenue, and Reforms. I believe we are at the point where we need to honestly consider what is before us. As I look at the bills that we have passed and those before us, I think those standards have been met and I support going forward.

Due to court orders we are spending at a rate set by our 2015 appropriations. This cost us nearly $39 billion last year. We only took in about $32 billion in revenue, and that $7 billion difference has resulted in a backlog of bills that now stand at $15 billion. The only solutions are to reduce spending, raise revenue, or craft a combination of both.

Back in April I analyzed the last bipartisan negotiated budget, which was passed 5 years ago. That budget was balanced based on $33.7 billion in both revenues and spending. I used that budget to analyze what we might be spending had we held firm to the basic parameters that were agreed upon back then. I adjusted those budget numbers for mandated debt and the cost of inflation. I found that a current budget of $36.3 billion would result. Clearly $36.3 billion in expenses cannot be supported with $32 billion in revenue. A realistic baseline budget needs over $4 billion in new revenue to be balanced.

On Friday we were presented with a budget amendment that would spend $36.5 billion over the next fiscal year. That is clearly a reduction from our current level of spending and is very close to what I calculated would be a reasonable budget a few months ago.

That leaves revenue. There are any number of taxes that could be used to close the gap. Bipartisan negotiations in the Senate this spring focused on the income tax as the primary revenue source that should be used. That choice may not be my preference, but it does meet the revenue needed to match the spending reductions in the budget.

When we voted on the budget amendment, we didn't vote on the full bill. Some would say you shouldn't vote on new taxes without having a spending plan in place. I note that the Illinois Constitution requires us to only approve spending that can be supported by the expected revenue. The intellectually honest vote is to set the amount of revenue, then approve spending to that level. We cast that vote today.

A balanced budget isn't the only thing we need. We also need reforms to make Illinois more competitive and bring us sound governance. We have approved significant reforms to local government, procurement, and pensions. We can and should do more, but the reforms we have passed should not be understated. We need to continue with other items that have been negotiated, including more substantial changes to property taxes and workers compensation. While important those next steps should not diminish the reforms we have passed.

State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) will be hosting his Annual Senior Fair this year with Senator Jim Oberweis on April 20th.

The event is free, open to the public, and will be held from 10am-12pm at the American Legion in West Chicago, 123 Main St. There will be over 30 vendors from local businesses, organizations, and state agencies aimed at helping seniors in every aspect of their lives. Representative Fortner encourages all area seniors to attend to learn more from community vendors about health, wellness, and a variety of services.

Rep. Fortner hosts this event every year to help ensure seniors are well informed with information to help them lead the best, healthiest, and most active lives in the community. “This senior fair is an annual event that brings vital services and information to seniors in the area in the most convenient and efficient way,” said Fortner. The Representative is looking forward to the event, and will be on hand to meet those in attendance and help answer any questions or concerns on state issues.

Light food and beverages will be served! Registration is not required. With questions or concerns, contact Rep. Fortner’s District Office at (630) 293-9344.

by Rep. Mike Fortner

It has been said that the fundamental problem with the way Illinois draws its political districts is that it lets the politicians choose their voters, rather than let the voters choose their politicians. This year an attempt to solve that problem by Independent Maps was rejected as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. I’d like to offer another solution, one that I have filed as HJRCA 60.

The method for creating an independent commission proved to be one of the stumbling blocks for the Independent Map Amendment in court. I’d keep the formation of the commission the same as it currently is in the constitution, but I would change its function. Instead of drawing a map, the commission would provide data and software for drawing maps to the public. This provides a procedural change as required for a citizen initiative.