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State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) announced today that the Governor’s office on Management and Budget (GOMB) has signed off on the release of State funds to assist William Hainey Harper College with heating system repairs throughout the 200-acre Palatine campus.

According to Morrison, the existing steam and condensate piping, valves and supports are failing and require replacement to maintain the integrity of the heating system that provides heat and hot water to the entire campus. “A failure of this system would result in the campus being closed until repairs are completed,” said Morrison. “With cold weather right around the corner, it is imperative that the repairs take place without delay.”

The total project cost is estimated at $1,057,083 and the college has agreed to pay $436,013 while the State pays the remaining $621,070.

The Harper College project allocation is part of $11.3 million in project funds that were released for use this week by community colleges throughout Illinois. Last week the State announced a $900,000 allocation to Harper College for improvements to the Engineering and Technology Center. Additional funds for other community college capital projects are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Approximately 50 taxpayers from the 54th Legislative House District attended a free property tax forum in Palatine on Thursday that was sponsored by State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine). Those in attendance learned about the tax assessment process and how to challenge an assessment that is believed to be inaccurate.

Morrison was joined at the event by Cook County Board of Review member Dan Patlak and Palatine Township Assessor Terry Kelly. Together they spoke to residents and explained the process that ties the value of their homes to the eventual tax bill that arrives in their mailboxes. The community leaders also outlined the exemptions that can be used to lower assessments and the steps required for appealing an assessment. Following the presentation, Morrison, Patlak and Kelly took questions from audience members.

“It was a pleasure to partner with Dan Patlak and Terry Kelly for this successful event,” said Morrison. “The procedure utilized to create assessments and tax bills can be confusing, and I was glad to offer a program where people could learn about the process, ensure they are receiving all eligible exemptions, and have their other questions answered. Everyone left with a better understanding of the process.”

Morrison said he would be hosting another property tax forum this fall.
Up to $900,000 in in capital funding has been released to benefit William Rainey Harper College in Palatine as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 capital budget approved by lawmakers in late May. The capital program was appropriated as part of the current Fiscal Year 2019 state budget.

“William Raney Harper College is known nation-wide for their excellence in education,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner. “This capital investment will help the college to build a state of the art, world class Engineering and Technology Center that will draw the best and brightest students. It is another example of how we are investing more in higher education to better prepare our students for the 21st century economy.”

The funds allocated to Harper College will be used for renovations and other improvements to the community college’s Engineering & Technology Center. The Center opened in 2014 and houses enhanced facilities to accommodate the growing demand for career training programs that lead directly to jobs such as manufacturing, welding, architectural technology, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), maintenance technology, law enforcement and fire science.

“These dollars are key investments in the infrastructure of Illinois' institutions of higher education. Harper's Engineering and Technology Center is leading the way down a relatively new path in keeping Illinois' cutting-edge and top-notch workforce,” said State Senator Tom Rooney (R-Rolling Meadows). “The state fulfilling its commitment to Harper is an important step in serving the students, residents, and businesses of the 27th District.”

“Industry in the Northwest suburbs needs qualified, capable employees, and this resource center helps provide the necessary training for people to fill these jobs and grow the Illinois economy,” said State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine). “This area pays a lot in income and property taxes, and I am pleased to see nearly a million dollars in State funds coming back to an institution that serves so many families in the 54th District and beyond.”

Having been approved, the Comptroller now has authority to release the funding to Harper College to complete improvements to the Engineering & Technology Center once costs begin to be incurred.

The Fiscal Year 2019 capital initiatives appropriated in the final budget included $100 million to address needs of higher education facilities, including the funding necessary to complete ongoing construction and repair projects, as well as financing to begin new maintenance and infrastructure improvement projects.
State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) has been named a “Champion of Free Enterprise” by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce for his voting record in support of the Illinois business community. Morrison also won the award based on his voting record in 2015-2016.

“It is a privilege to accept this award,” said Morrison. “Illinois needs a healthy economy to survive and thrive. My votes on behalf of those who create jobs and drive our state’s economy are reflected in this award. As a third generation small business owner, I appreciate the opportunity to be an advocate in the legislature.”

When scoring, the Chamber was looking for a “no” vote on the 32% tax increase, proposed red tape for call center operators, an electricity rate increase, expensive regulations to Internet web site operators, a $15 minimum wage, a gross receipts tax on investment management services and insincere workers’ compensation reform. The Chamber was looking for a “yes” vote on legislation that bring Illinois to the forefront of 5G Internet, state preemption of autonomous vehicles, and comprehensive procurement reform. Click here to view a summary of all bills that were scored.

“Representative Tom Morrison is a strong advocate for the business community and recognizes that pro-growth reforms lead to more jobs and a healthier economy,” said Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “Representative Morrison was a vocal opponent of the 32% income tax hike that took money out of every working Illinoisan's pocket, and he continues to fight for the Illinois taxpayer, including the job creators who further economic opportunities for everyone in this state.”

“Creating jobs and promoting business growth is vital to the future success of our state,” said Morrison. “As a legislator, it is a policy area I have always taken very seriously.”
Citizens residing in Illinois’ 54th Legislative House District are invited to join State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) and a local tax assessment expert on Thursday, September 6 for a free seminar on understanding the property tax assessment process and learning how to appeal tax assessments. The 1 ½-hour event will be held from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at the Palatine Village Hall, 200 E. Wood Street in Palatine.

Cook County Board of Review Member Dan Patlak will join Morrison at the informational event, which will include a brief presentation and a Question and Answer session. “This event brings taxpayers together with a respected tax appeal expert, so people can learn how their tax bill is created and what remedies are available to those who believe their assessment is too high,” said Morrison. “High property taxes is the number one issue affecting the residents of the 54th District, and those who attend this seminar will learn the steps to follow to challenge their assessment and hopefully lower their tax burden.”

Due to space constraints, RSVPs are requested. If you would like to attend the property tax assessment seminar, please RSVP by calling Representative Morrison’s office at (847) 202-6584.

Palatine’s Street Fest Gets Underway on August 24!
The Village of Palatine is putting the finishing touches on this year’s Street Fest event, which will be held in the heart of the downtown area the weekend from August 24-26. The epicenter of this annual event is the intersection of Brockway and Slade Streets, and local families are invited to enjoy the live music, great food and kids activities that have become a staple of this community festival. Street Fest gets underway on Friday the 24th at 5:00 PM with activities running constant until midnight. Saturday hours will be 11:00 AM until midnight, and the festival concludes on Sunday with hours from 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Admission to Palatine Street Fest is free and all are welcome. For more information about this annual community event, click here

Morrison Returns Nearly 24% of District Office Funds
As a lawmaker I try to lead by example. One way I try to set an example for fiscal prudence and responsibility involves the use of my district office allotment. When Fiscal Year 2018 ended on June 30, I returned $16,621 of unused district office funds to the State of Illinois. 

Each year, every legislator is provided with approximately $69,500 for use in running a local legislative office. Salaries for employees, rent, utilities, computer equipment, office supplies, and travel for official business is purchased with these funds. 

I am frugal with my district office spending and always try to return between 10% and 20% of my local allotment back to the State. This year I was able to return almost 24%. My staff and I only use paper and official postage only when necessary and rely heavily on electronic communication with constituents. To promote local community outreach events or to discuss legislative issues with residents who contact the office, we rely mostly on email, the Internet, and local media, which is free of charge. For committee meetings in Chicago, I use public transit to save on driving and parking costs.

Every penny adds up, and if all 177 House and Senate offices could reduce their local spending by at least 10%, we would be setting a great example for how state spending could be reduced. This recent return of funds marks the 8th consecutive year that I have returned money at the end of the fiscal year.

Rep. Morrison Champions Legislation to Force Property Tax Reform in Illinois
Illinoisans are desperate for property tax relief, but the General Assembly has failed to act. I hear almost daily from constituents who complain that the taxes are causing them to consider leaving Illinois. In response to this crisis, this year I signed on as a Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 5924, which eliminates Illinois’ ability to collect property taxes as of July 1, 2019. My hope is that by placing a sunset date on the current property tax code, lawmakers will finally get serious about property tax reform. I am hopeful that HB 5924 bill will move through the General Assembly during the upcoming Fall Veto Session.

Rep. Morrison Joins Rolling Meadows Residents for Community Bike Ride
I recently had an opportunity to join Rolling Meadows Mayor Len Prejna and about 250 area residents for a 4.6-mile community bike ride that showcased the City’s newest bike trail. The community bike ride is an annual event, and if you were not able to join the festivities this year I hope you will consider participating with your family next year. Click here to view a video taken during the event. 

Close to $69 Million in IDOT Funds Allocated for District 54 Road and Bridge Projects from 2019-2024
Almost $69 million of an $11.05 billion statewide road and bridge improvement program will be spent on projects in the 54th Legislative House District. The projects were announced recently as part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) six-year Proposed Highway Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2019-2024.

District 54 projects included in IDOTs six-year program include:
  • crack and joint sealing on US 12, IL 53 and Rand Road, from Ela Road to IL 58 in Deer Park, Lake Zurich, Kildeer, Palatine, Arlington Heights, Prospect Heights, Mount Prospect and Des Plaines 
  • resurfacing and ADA improvements on US 14 from Main Street/Lake Cook Road to Ela Road in Inverness and Barrington 
  • resurfacing and ADA improvements on US 14 from Ela Road to Hicks Road in Palatine and Inverness 
  • bridge rehabilitation on IL 53 from south of US 12 to IL 62 in Arlington Heights 
  • engineering for improvements to IL 53 from south of US 12 to IL 62 in Arlington Heights 
  • culvert replacement and drainage improvements on IL 68 from the east branch of Salt Creek near Quentin Road in Palatine 
  • resurfacing on Barrington Road from IL 59 to IL 62 in Inverness, Barrington Hills and Barrington 
  • resurfacing and ADA improvements on Hicks Road south of US 14 to Kirchoff Road in Palatine and Rolling Meadows 
  • resurfacing on IL 53 from US 12 to Anderson Drive in Palatine 
  • resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on Main Street between Hart Road and Ela Road in Barrington Hills, Barrington and Deer Park 
  • resurfacing and ADA Improvements on Meacham Road from Emerson Avenue to IL 62 in Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg 
  • resurfacing and ADA improvements on Palatine Road between IL 62 to east of Roselle Road in Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Hoffman Estates, Inverness and Palatine 
  • resurfacing and ADA improvements on Palatine Road from US 14 to Sanders Road in Palatine, Arlington Heights, Prospect Heights and Wheeling 
  • culvert replacement on Palatine Road at Salt Creek south of Winston Drive in Palatine 
  • resurfacing and ADA improvements on Palatine Road and South Frontage Road from North Verde Avenue to Palatine Road in Arlington Heights 
  • resurfacing and ADA improvements on Palatine Road/North Frontage Road from Williams Drive to Alison Drive in Palatine 
Based on current funding levels, the FY 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the State. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges.

I Value Your Opinions and Feedback
I enjoy hearing from constituents about the issues and values that are important to them. Please hit the reply key and write back to me with a list of the top few issues that are most important to you and your family, the 54th District, and the State of Illinois. I look forward to reading these responses.