This week in Springfield, members of the General Assembly approved historic reforms to the school funding formula. The new evidence-based model is designed to help every individual student succeed. During the House floor debate on amended SB 1947, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) spoke about the bipartisanship and compromise that created the ultimate language included in the bill. During his remarks, he said, "Today with this compromise bill we have a chance to finally end the long war. We finally end the impasse. We take the school children out of the line of fire." Click here to watch Rep. Breen's full floor comments.
After two failed attempts on Monday to approve a revised school funding formula, members of the House of Representatives ultimately approved legislation that ends the impasse over the issue and guarantees funding for the 2017-2018 school year. In response to the 73-34-3 vote on amended SB 1947, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has issued the following statement:

“With the passage of SB 1947, we end a school funding battle that has put school children in the line of political fire in Springfield. This bill offers every school-aged child the opportunity to succeed. We can now put this issue aside and focus our efforts on other pressing issues that affect our State.”

“This legislation represents that coveted middle ground where Representatives are getting what they need, but not necessarily everything they want. In particular for our schools in the 48th District, they will immediately see much-needed relief from costly unfunded Springfield mandates.”

“There are elements of this bill that I do not like. But as is the case with any negotiation, concessions from both sides brought us to a solution. This compromise ensures more funding for our local schools next year, along with additional administrative flexibility and the opportunity to seek property tax relief. But most importantly, this measure lifts the cloud of fear from kids, parents, and teachers whose schools were at risk of closing for lack of state funding.”
Citizens residing in Illinois’ 48th Legislative House District are invited to join State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) and local tax assessment experts on Saturday, September 9 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 9:00 AM until 10:30 AM at the Main Street Recreation Center, 501 Hill Street in Glen Ellyn.

Joining Breen at the informational session will be Milton Township Assessor Chris E. LeVan and York Township Assessor Deanna Wilkins. “I hear frequently from taxpayers who believe their property taxes are too high, and they are not aware that there are remedies available to them,” said Breen. “This event brings experts together to explain how tax bills are created and outline the steps for how taxpayers can participate in the appeals process if they believe they are being over-assessed.”

Due to space constraints, RSVPs are requested. If you would like to attend the property tax assessment seminar, please RSVP by calling Representative Breen’s office at (630) 403-8135.
As school children across Illinois begin returning to classrooms for the 2017-2018 school year, lawmakers were called to Springfield last week on the premise that we would resolve how we will fund Illinois’ public schools for the 2017-2018 school year. For the first time in the state’s history, the first state aid payment, due to school districts on August 10, was missed due to our inability to approve funding for the year. Pressure is mounting, which is just what House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton want. You see, as worries mount, pressure increases on lawmakers to approve legislation that benefits Chicago Public Schools at the expense of school children from all other parts of the state.

While the Senate took action on Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto of SB 1 on Sunday, August 13, the bill was not brought to the floor for a vote when members of the House of Representatives were in Springfield on Wednesday, August 16. Instead, Democrats reverted to their political playbook and engaged in partisan games and fake votes that did nothing to resolve the school funding crisis. We ended up leaving Springfield late that day without agreement on a school funding bill.

I am happy to report that the four legislative leaders have met twice and are meeting again today to discuss a possible compromise that would allow state aid payments to proceed without further delay. Since the only solution will involve true compromise, I am hopeful that partisanship and political gamesmanship can be set aside and the two sides can reach consensus on a formula that is fair and equitable for all Illinois school children and their families.

In my new role as House Republican Caucus Floor Leader, I was vocal in my disappointment about the lack of real work being done on the important issue of school funding. Click here to listen to my floor comments.

Breen Property Tax Event Scheduled for September 9 in Glen Ellyn
I hope you’ll join me on September 9 when I hold my second annual seminar where District 48 residents can learn about the process used to create property tax bills and about the steps to take to appeal an assessment if you believe you are being over-assessed. The event will take place from 9:00 until 10:30 AM on the 9th at the Main Street Recreation Center, 501 Hill Street in Glen Ellyn. Space is limited for this free community outreach event, so please call my Lombard office at (630) 403-8135 if you plan to attend.

Rep. Breen Supports HR 569 Condemning Terrorism in Charlottesville
In response to the violence in Charlottesville, VA that left one dead and several others injured, members of the House of Representatives approved a House Resolution last week condemning violence and hate. HR 569 repudiates and condemns white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and any other group that espouses hate and seeks to undermine the ideals of Illinois and the nation. The resolution also condemns the acts of violence in Charlottesville as domestic terrorism. I spoke during the floor discussion of the resolution and expressed my disgust over the events that transpired in Charlottesville. Click here to watch my full floor comments.

Breen Joins Republican Colleagues in Pressing for Repeal of Cook County Sugar Tax
On the heels of being hit with a 32% income tax hike, the residents of Cook County were recently saddled with a costly tax on sweetened beverages. I recently joined State Representatives Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), Christine Winger (R-Bloomingdale), Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) and Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) in Chicago at the James R. Thompson Center to introduce legislation to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.

Specifically, HB 4082 would prevent any home rule county from imposing a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold and repeal local laws already in effect regarding these types of taxes. The City of Philadelphia recently enacted a similar, 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages to pay for universal preschool. Following the implementation of the tax, beverage sales fell by as much as 50 percent and more than 400 jobs were lost. Additionally, actual beverage tax collections for the first six months are $6.9 million below the city’s estimate of $46.2 million.

I also filed HB 4084, which takes a broader approach in prohibiting these types of taxes. While similar to HB 4082 in desired effect, HB 4084 prohibits all local governments from imposing any tax that is based on weight or volume. This would apply to the Cook County sweetened beverage tax, but would also thwart other similar attempts to tax substances based on weight or volume. Both bill would repeal the Cook County tax, but differ slightly in how it would be accomplished.

Breen Legislation with Potential to Save Small Businesses & Nonprofits Millions is Signed into Law by Gov. Rauner
Last week Governor Rauner signed into law a bill I authored that has the potential to save Illinois small businesses and not-for-profits millions in electronic filing fees. HB 3514, now Public Act 100-0186, corrects an unfair practice that penalized businesses and nonprofits by charging an automatic ‘expedited service fee’ of $25, $50 or more on every electronic (rather than paper) filing with the Secretary of State’s office. E-filing reduces errors, saves paper and saves money, so small businesses and charities should be encouraged, not discouraged, to file documents electronically.

Leaders within the Illinois business community applauded the passage and signing of the bill. Mark Grant, Illinois Director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said, “There’s no justification for state government to charge a premium for e-filing when it actually streamlines the process and reduces costs to the state. This law is common sense and we want to thank Representative Breen for sponsoring it and Governor Rauner for signing it into law.”

Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce agreed, saying, “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and lawmakers need to be doing whatever they can to ease burdensome regulations. HB 3514 allows businesses to file forms electronically without triggering an automatic expedition fee, and we appreciate Representative Breen’s willingness to bring this cost-saving legislation forward.”

The provisions of the new law will take effect on July 1, 2018.

Governor Rauner Signs Breen Bill that Saves Township Taxpayers Money
Earlier this month, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill I wrote that will save townships money when they dispose of surplus wood chips generated through routine tree maintenance. HB 2423, now in the statutes as Public Act 100-0054, provides townships with flexibility in the process for distribution of waste materials generated from tree and branch removal. 

The need for the legislation was brought to me by Milton Township Highway Commissioner Gary Muehlfelt and York Township Highway Commissioner Dick Schroeder. They told me that, while townships regularly take down dead or diseased trees and fallen branches, there was no provision in the statutes to allow townships to deliver the wood chips to residents who would like to use them as a landscaping material. And it costs much more for our townships to deliver those surplus wood chips to specialty landfills, instead of providing them to taxpaying residents who can put them to good use.

Upon the signing of the bill, Commissioner Muehlfelt said, “This small change in the law will make a big difference in how we can dispose of the mulch that is created from our routine tree maintenance. I appreciate Representative Breen's willingness to bring this idea forward and incorporate it into a new law.”

Commissioner Schroeder agreed, and said, “By allowing township officials to use their best judgment in how they will dispose of tree waste, our costs are reduced and taxpayers can have access to free mulch for their yards and gardens. It is a win-win for the taxpayers who support township services and for residents who would benefit from the free mulch.”

Breen’s Legislation Allowing 360-Lid Technology for Craft Brewers Signed into Law
At the Illinois Bicentennial Craft Beer Competition held at this year’s State Fair, Governor Bruce Rauner announced that he signed into law my legislation to allow craft brewing companies in Illinois to utilize new “360-lid” technology. During his remarks, he thanked the owners of Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard for bringing forward the idea for the legislation. These 360-lids are the newest innovation in beer can technology, and permitting their use will provide Illinois brewers with a competitive edge in the marketplace. By essentially removing the entire lid of a beer can, an aluminum drinking vessel is created that allows consumers to better enjoy the aromas associated with IPAs and other hoppy beers. With the signing of HB 2386, Illinois becomes the 15th state to allow these new lids. HB 2386 is now listed in the statutes as Public Act 100-0051.

Rauner Signs Breen Bill to Improve Government Transparency
Unfunded mandates include any State-initiated action that requires a local unit of government to absorb a new function at their own cost. As taxpayers continue to plead for property tax relief, it is important to shine a light on the true cost of unfunded mandates and how they drive up the cost of government. 

A new layer of transparency with regard to unfunded mandates is now available due to legislation I authored that was signed into law earlier this month. SB 2066 improves transparency as it relates to the cost of unfunded mandates on local governments. The provisions of the new law apply to items listed in the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) catalog of state mandates.

When government passes along these mandates, costs really increase over time. If elected officials can see the cumulative effect of these mandates, my hope is that they’ll make unfunded mandate relief a priority. The idea for the legislation was brought forward by Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, and the new law is listed in the Illinois statutes as Public Act 100-0242.
A new layer of transparency is now available in Illinois government thanks to a bill sponsored by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) that was signed into law this month.

SB 2066 improves transparency as it relates to the cost of unfunded mandates on local governments. The provisions of the new law apply to items listed in the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DECO) catalog of state mandates.

“As taxpayers continue to plead for property tax relief, it is important to shine a light on the true cost of unfunded mandates from Springfield and how they drive up the cost of our local government,” said Breen, the bill’s Chief House Sponsor. “When government passes along these mandates, costs really increase over time. If elected officials can see the cumulative effect of these mandates, my hope is that they’ll make unfunded mandate relief a priority.”

Unfunded mandates include any State-initiated action that requires a local unit of government to absorb a new function at their own cost. The idea for the legislation was brought forward by Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. “The Lt. Governor’s Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force explored the staggering costs tied to unfunded mandates in Illinois and determined that legislators needed to be aware of how significantly their actions are increasing the tax burden on Illinoisans.”

The new law is listed in the Illinois statutes as Public Act 100-0242.
A new law authored by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) with the potential to save Illinois small businesses and not-for-profits millions in electronic filing fees has been signed into law.

HB 3514 was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on Friday as Public Act 100-0186. Breen, a fierce advocate for small businesses in Illinois, said the provisions of the new law correct what he viewed as an unfair practice that penalized businesses and nonprofits for filing forms electronically rather than on paper. “I was shocked to learn that businesses and nonprofits were being charged an automatic ‘expedited service fee’ of $25, $50 or more on every electronic filing with the Secretary of State’s office,” said Breen. “E-filing reduces errors, saves paper and saves money, so small businesses and charities should be encouraged, not discouraged, to file documents electronically.”

Upon learning of the bill’s signing, Mark Grant, Illinois Director for the National Federation of Independent Business, thanked Breen for his role as a champion for small business. “There’s no justification for state government to charge a premium for e-filing when it actually streamlines the process and reduces costs to the state,” Grant said. “This law is common sense and we want to thank Representative Breen for sponsoring it and Governor Rauner for signing it into law.”

Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce agreed, and added that the bill’s passage sends a message of support to small business owners. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and lawmakers need to be doing whatever they can to ease burdensome regulations,” Maisch said. “HB 3514 allows businesses to file forms electronically without triggering an automatic expedition fee, and we appreciate Representative Breen’s willingness to bring this cost-saving legislation forward.”

The provisions of the new law will take effect on July 1, 2018.
In response to the violence over the weekend in Charlottesville, VA that left one dead and several others injured, members of the House of Representatives stood united on Wednesday as they approved a House Resolution condemning violence and hate. HR 569 repudiates and condemns white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and any other group that espouses hate and seeks to undermine the ideals of Illinois and the nation. The resolution also condemns the acts of violence in Charlottesville as domestic terrorism.

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) spoke during the floor discussion of the resolution and said, "Hatred is not welcome in any form in the State of Illinois." Click here to watch Breen's full floor comments.



Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law legislation sponsored by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) that will save townships money when they dispose of surplus wood chips generated through routine tree maintenance.

HB 2423, now in the statutes as Public Act 100-0054, provides townships with flexibility in the process for distribution of waste materials generated from tree and branch removal. “Our townships regularly take down dead or diseased trees and fallen branches, and those materials are fed into chippers to create mulch,” said Breen. “Unfortunately, there was no provision in the statutes to allow townships to deliver the wood chips to residents who would like to use them as a landscaping material.”

According to Breen, the new law includes requirements for notice to the public before distribution occurs, and also provides for either a random drawing or a first-come-first-served process to determine which residents may receive the wood chips. “This is a money-saving initiative for townships and the taxpayers who fund township services,” Breen said. “I know that in York Township it costs much more for the township to deliver wood chips to landfills than it would cost to deliver them to taxpaying residents who would like to use them.”

Milton Township Highway Commissioner Gary Muehlfelt said the provisions of the new law will allow service delivery to become more efficient. “This small change in the law will make a big difference in how we can dispose of the mulch that is created from our routine tree maintenance,” Muehlfelt said. “I appreciate Representative Breen's willingness to bring this idea forward and incorporate it into a new law.”

York Township Highway Commissioner Dick Schroeder agreed, and added that the new flexibility will be very helpful. “By allowing township officials to use their best judgment in how they will dispose of tree waste, our costs are reduced and taxpayers can have access to free mulch for their yards and gardens,” said Schroeder. “It is a win-win for the taxpayers who support township services and for residents who would benefit from the free mulch.”

The provisions of the new law take effect immediately.
State Reps. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), Christine Winger (R-Bloomingdale), Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) today introduced legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.

“This pop tax is a repeated example of another financial burden being imposed upon the people of Cook County. The vetting of this measure was short-sighted and irresponsible as roll-outs of similar pop taxes in other cities have proven to be not effective and even harmful to the local economy,” stated Rep. McAuliffe. “I spent this past weekend in my district and the feedback against this tax was overwhelmingly negative. The taxpayers are understandably frustrated and there is a lot of confusion.”

“Longstanding small businesses that have been pivotal in the community are going to suffer, especially when residents can walk less than a mile to a different store in a county that isn’t affected by the tax to buy their goods,” said Rep. Winger. “Residents will choose a different store over one they have gone to for years to avoid paying this. I have heard first-hand the severity this tax has already had in its first two weeks. Some say sales have already dropped 80% on certain products.”

Specifically, HB4082 would prevent any home rule county from imposing a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold. It applies to any county ordinance adopted on or before the effective date of the bill, repealing the existing Cook County ordinance.

"On the heels of being hit with a 32% income tax hike, the residents of Cook County were immediately saddled with a costly tax on sweetened beverages,” said Rep. Breen. “It's time for government to live within its means and quit turning to taxpayers for more of their hard-earned money. Through this legislation, the Cook County beverage tax will be repealed, and a law will be in place to prohibit any similar taxes in other Illinois counties."

“Democrats not only want you to keep ‘drinking the Koolaid’, they want you to pay more for the privilege,” said Rep. Wehrli. “This tax hits families directly in their wallets. It could also cost us some of the thousands of good jobs the soft drink industry provides Illinois families. It’s no surprise that nearly 87% of Cook County residents oppose this tax, and we stand with them.”

“The pop tax is crushing small and family-owned retailers in Cook County, the very men and women who are the backbone of our local and state economy," Rep. Wheeler said. “Cook County politicians cannot hide from the fact that their tax-and-spend policies continue to fail the working families and job creators in every community from Lake-Cook Road to the Indiana state line.”

The City of Philadelphia recently enacted a similar, 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages to pay for universal preschool. Following the implementation of the tax, beverage sales fell by as much as 50 percent and more than 400 jobs were lost. Additionally, actual beverage tax collections for the first six months are $6.9 million below the city’s estimate of $46.2 million.

The impact on Cook County is expected to be even more devastating. An economic analysis in 2016 found that the beverage tax, which Cook County estimates to provide $67.5 million in new revenue in 2017 and $200.6 million in 2018, could result in a loss of 6,100 jobs, $321 million in lost wages and $1.3 billion in lost economic activity. There have already been a number of complaints and lawsuits as retailers struggle to comply with the implementation of the tax.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently notified Cook County that portions of the tax were illegal and that the state could stand to lose more than $86 million in federal funding if the problems are not resolved.

Additionally, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission has voiced its concerns with Cook County as well, stating that the new tax “may lead to practices that violate the Illinois Liquor Control Act.”
On Sunday in Springfield, Governor Bruce Rauner announced that he has signed into law legislation sponsored by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) that will allow craft brewing companies in Illinois to utilize new “360-lid” technology. The bill, HB 2386, is now listed in the statutes as Public Act 100-0051. Governor Rauner announced the signing at the Illinois Bicentennial Craft Beer Competition at this year’s State Fair, thanking the owners of Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard and Rep. Breen for advancing the legislation.

“These 360-lids are the newest innovation in beer can technology, and permitting their use will provide Illinois brewers with a competitive edge in the marketplace,” said Breen. “By essentially removing the entire lid of a beer can, an aluminum drinking vessel is created that allows consumers to better enjoy the aromas associated with IPAs and other hoppy beers. With the bill’s signing today, Illinois becomes the 15th state to allow these new lids.”

According to Breen, the need for HB 2386 was brought to him by the owners of Lombard’s Noon Whistle Brewing Company, who wanted to produce beer with the new 360-lids. Breen researched the issue and discovered that the Illinois Environmental Protection Act from the 1980s prohibited the removal of any portion of the top of a beverage can. “Under current EPA statutes, the small aluminum tabs that posed a safety hazard 30 years ago are still banned,” Breen said. “This bill simply carves out a very narrow exception for these craft beer 360-lids, which are much larger and do not pose the same risks.”

Prior to being sent to the Governor, HB 2386 received unanimous approval in the House and Senate.
Today in Chicago, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) explained the legal basis behind the growing concerns that because of the delay by Democrats to advance their school funding legislation, SB 1, through the Senate by May 31, SB1 may not actually be effective until next June, 2018. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady yesterday sent a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan requesting a formal legal opinion on this point.

Click here to watch Breen’s video where he outlines the areas of concern.

Breen explains that, if there is even a "reasonable doubt" that SB1 won't be effective for the 2017-2018 school year, the General Assembly must either immediately accept Governor Rauner's Amendatory Veto or start over with a new education funding bill.

Breen specifically analyzes the legal arguments that, by preventing SB1 from being sent to the governor by the use of a "Motion to Reconsider," Senate Democrats may have unwittingly caused SB1 to be "passed" on July 31, and not by the May 31 deadline set for regular bill passage by the Illinois Constitution. Per the Constitution, any bill passed after May 31, 2017 cannot be effective earlier than June 1, 2018, without a supermajority vote of the General Assembly.