In this issue:
- Illinois counties lead in corn and soybean production
- Money added to Rainy Day Fund
- Cancer treatment legislation passes House
- Survey coming soon!
Thank you for reading my e-newsletter. For the latest news from state government or to share your ideas and opinions, please visit my legislative website at repbunting.com.
Local counties among nation’s leaders in corn production
According to recently-released figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, several Illinois counties; including many in our local area; lead the nation in either corn or soybean production.
McLean County was the nation’s leader in corn production, bringing in 71 million bushels in 2022. Next in line were Iroquois, Livingston, LaSalle and Champaign counties. Overall, Illinois is the nation’s second-leading corn producer, only behind our neighbors in Iowa.
Illinois counties were also atop the list of soybean producers. In fact, the first 11 spots on the list were held by central Illinois counties, starting with Piatt County at 74.2 bushels per acre. Nearby counties such as Tazewell, Champaign and Woodford were near the top of the list.
The figures were compiled by the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistic Service.
Illinois’ ‘Rainy Day Fund’ tops $1.2 billion
For decades Illinois has had a savings account called the “Budget Stabilization Fund” but better known as its “Rainy Day Fund.” Like any savings account, its purpose is to have some money put away in case of a major emergency or fiscal downturn. But the balance in Illinois’ savings account has been very low because of our long-term fiscal problems and high levels of spending. Five years ago the account held less than $50,000. In recent months the fund has begun to recover.
Last month the state Comptroller made a $150 million payment into the fund, bringing its balance up to $1.22 billion. More transfers are planned for later in the year.
I am glad to see the state taking this step to plan for a rainy day. This is something that House Republicans have been speaking out about for a long time.
But as with a lot of good news in Illinois state government, it also comes with a warning. Illinois’ high rates of spending could quickly deplete this fund in the event of a recession or an emergency. The current balance in the fund is equivalent to about six days’ worth of state spending. We have to keep our eye on the ball when it comes to being responsible with taxpayers’ money.
House passes bill to cover proton beam cancer treatment
I co-sponsored a bill which passed the House to help Illinoisans find coverage for cancer treatments. House Bill 2799 requires health insurance plans to cover proton beam therapy cancer treatments.
This is a new form of treating brain tumors that uses a finely-controlled beam to deliver higher doses of radiation to a tumor. With a proton beam, very little of the radiation travels beyond the tumor to cause damage to other tissue as happens with traditional X-ray treatment.
The bill, which was brought to us by Northwestern Medicine, would require health insurance policies to provide coverage for proton beam therapy cancer treatments that are medically necessary. It would also ensure that a higher standard a clinical evidence cannot be required to obtain such coverage as compared to other forms of radiation therapy treatment.
Having passed the House 111-0, the bill now awaits action in the Senate.
Keep an eye on your mailbox!
Keep a lookout for my 2023 legislative survey which should be arriving in your mailbox shortly. You can also visit RepBunting.com to take the survey online. As your voice in Springfield I welcome your thoughts and ideas. They are very helpful as I represent you in the Capitol. I appreciate you taking the time to fill out and return your survey.
Our current bill backlog
When a vendor provides the state with goods and services, they submit the bill to the Illinois Comptroller for payment. The Comptroller processes the paperwork and pays the bill when funds are available in the state’s checking account. Currently the total amount of unpaid bills is $2,258,615,763. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $3.4 billion in bills awaiting payment. This only includes bills submitted to the Comptroller for payment, not unfunded debts like the state’s pension liability, which is well over $100 billion.