By Bob Balgemann


With the 2018 state legislative session having begun Jan. 31, Boone County’s two members of the General Assembly have offered their hopes for a positive, productive four months.

State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, said a new approach is needed in a new year to address new problems.

“The fact is Illinois’ economy is not growing the way Wisconsin and other neighboring states are,” he said. “With a shrinking population following jobs and opportunity out of state, we need to put our priorities in the right place with a new approach in 2018.”

That, he said, means passing budget reforms to get Illinois back on a path toward growth and prosperity. That includes real property tax relief, meaning workers compensation reform and pension reform.

“We know that will not be easy with the current political dynamic in Springfield, but I am committed to doing my part to bring Republicans and Democrats together on issues where we can find common ground,” he said.

The state’s population declined by 34,000 last year, with most leaving for states west and south of here.

State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Sycamore, is beginning his 15th and last year in state office. He will not seek re-election.

His take on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent State of the State address was that it outlined actions needed to restore citizen confidence. And that is tied to the continued exodus of people to other states.

The governor stated that among the reasons people and businesses are moving away is high property taxes. “He called for reforms in the assessment process, the right of residents to have a referendum for lowering taxes and, I might add, increased funding for education that would relieve the property taxpayers’ burden of paying a state obligation,” Rep. Pritchard said.

Investing in education is one way to stimulate the economy, according to Gov. Rauner. “Investing in education and entrepreneurship can help keep Illinois businesses thriving, creating jobs and give our students and our state the means to compete,” the lawmaker said.

He said perhaps the most important part of the governor’s speech was his promise to


For complete article, pick up the Feb. 28 Belvidere Daily Republican.