National Agriculture Day in Illinois
Governor Bruce Rauner declared March 20, National Agriculture Day in recognition of the importance of Illinois’ agriculture industry to the economy of this state. The day celebrated the 72,200 farms that call Illinois home and the hardworking people in the ag community who continue to make agriculture the number one industry in the state.
According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois farmlands span across approximately 75 percent of the state’s total land area, generating more than $19 billion for Illinois’ economy.
The top revenue producing ag commodities in the state are:
Last year, a state-record corn yield was harvested by Illinois farmers, averaging 201 bushels per acre, and farmers produced 10.5 million acres of soybeans.
With farmers gearing up for the start of another planting season, National Agriculture Day is a great reminder for everyone to celebrate Illinois’ rich agriculture industry, recognize the hardworking individuals behind it, and remember the critical role the industry plays in Illinois’ economy.
Illinois’ tax rate ranked worst in nation
Sen. Paul Schimpf remains adamant that Illinois’ future growth cannot be based on a tax-and-spend system, urging lawmakers to stop outspending revenue and do more to undercut the crushing burdens placed on the backs of Illinois’ taxpayers and businesses.
Sen. Schimpf pointed to a recent comparison from the personal financial website WalletHub which ranked Illinois as having the worst tax rate in a nation. Illinois falls dead last in the ranking, as it claims a total state and local tax rate median of nearly 15 percent. That figure is more than double of that in Alaska, which has the lowest tax rates of approximately six percent.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia were compared using four factors including, real-estate tax, vehicle property tax, income tax, and sales and excise tax.
This ranking comes months after Illinois taxpayers were strapped with the largest permanent income tax hike in Illinois’ history, raising the rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent this past July.
Illinois Veterans’ Home at Quincy sees movement toward a new facility
As part of the response to Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at the Quincy-based Illinois Veterans’ Home, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently announced plans to explore building a new facility on the Quincy campus.
On March 15, the Administration announced it is seeking a Master Planner to research possible development of a new state-of-the-art facility for the residents. This project would incorporate the final recommendations issued by the Infrastructure Task Force, which is to present final suggestions to the General Assembly by May 31.
The Administration said it is also looking to partner with Illinois’ United States Senate and Congressional delegation to secure additional funding for the project. As such, the state will submit an application to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a grant covering up to 65 percent of building costs for the new facility.
The state also announced plans to purchase a vacant nursing home facility close to the Quincy campus and intends to renovate the facility for temporary housing, creating a place to move residents in the event of future Legionella exposure. Similarly, the administration is exploring the use of modular buildings on the grounds, which could serve as temporary housing solutions in the event residents need to be relocated.
Steps continue to be taken to prevent future exposure to Legionella, including the re-sanitization of the HVAC system on campus, ongoing water testing, the installation of a monitoring system for disinfection levels, and the installation of more than 750 new faucets with special micron filters across the campus.
Poison Prevention Month
Each year, more than four million calls are made to poison centers across the nation, with more than 80,000 of those calls being placed into the Illinois Poison Center. To help bring awareness to the dangers of poisoning exposure and to educate the public about poisoning prevention, March is National Poison Prevention Month in Illinois.
According to the Illinois Poison Center (IPC), more hospitalizations can be attributed to poisoning than from motor vehicle crashes or firearm injuries combined.
The IPC has a confidential helpline that can be reached at 1-800-222-1222 and can be contacted if you or someone you know is suspected of being exposed to a poisonous substance.
The American Red Cross also offers information on poisoning safety and first aid, including the importance of keeping medicines and chemicals secured and reading medication instructions closely.