gas taxPEORIA – Every year, central Illinois motorists pay millions of dollars in state gas taxes, but Springfield is keeping the money rather than sending it back to help pay for road salt, snowplow repair, patching potholes and other road projects and maintenance.

“It’s not right,” said State Sen. Dave Koehler, a Peoria Democrat. “This is your money. State government is supposed to simply collect it and send it back.”

The problem, Koehler explained, is that the money can’t be sent to the communities without some kind of official authorization. In May, the Senate approved legislation containing that authorization. Gov. Rauner vetoed it. The system has been at a standstill ever since.

In 2014, Peoria received more than $2.8 million in gas tax money. Across Peoria County, local governments received more than $6.9 million in gas tax money last year. Throughout Tazewell County, local governments received more than $5.7 million last year, and in Fulton County they received more than $2.3 million.

Other area communities received the following amounts in 2014:

•East Peoria    ($579,362)

•Pekin             ($844,063)

•Canton          ($364,026)

•Lewistown     ($59,020)

Additional information about how much local communities are owed in gas tax money is available here.

The Senate twice approved plans that would have provided the authority needed to get gas tax money back to local communities. The first was vetoed by the governor. The second remains pending in the Illinois House.

Category: Press Releases

Koehler Vet ReleasePEORIAAs Veterans Day approaches, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is urging employers to honor his resolution from last year’s General Assembly and allow veteran employees some time off to participate in ceremonies and events honoring their service to our country.

“Our veterans have given so much to our nation, and it’s important that they’re able to participate in area events on Veterans Day,” Koehler said.

Koehler sponsored Senate Resolution 837 in response to a constituent who expressed concerns that not all employers allow veterans time off on Veterans Day.

“I would like to thank Jim Arrowood from the UAW for initiating this resolution,” Koehler said.

Area veterans have joined Koehler and Arrowood in supporting the resolution.

“I feel strongly that veterans should be afforded the opportunity to participate in different parades and ceremonies honoring their fellow veterans,” said Scott Corsaut, Commander of the General Wayne A. Downing American Legion Post #1111. “Veterans truly appreciate the community support and fellowship they experience at these events.”

Senator Koehler also wants to let the community know that the Illinois Valley Chapter of the Fuller Center for Housing is assisting low-income veterans with small home repairs and furnace safety checks. The center is now taking applications and is encouraging veterans to call (309) 363-3737 to see if they qualify.

“This is a great service being provided by the Illinois Valley Chapter of the Fuller Center for Housing, and I encourage veterans to apply,” Koehler said.

 

 

Category: Press Releases

DicksonMounds2

Update: On Wednesday, September 30, the Dickson Mounds Museum and other state museum sites closed despite the legislature's objections. Sen. Koehler issued the following statement:

“Locking the public out of Dickson Mounds while all of the employees are still on the job makes it even more obvious that Gov. Rauner’s decision to close the state museums is based on politics, not sound public policy. Let’s be clear – the state isn’t seeing any cost savings, but businesses in Lewistown and surrounding communities are going to start seeing lost revenue.”

(End of update)

A legislative panel charged with reviewing the governor’s proposals to close state facilities gave a big thumbs down to his proposal to close the Illinois State Museum System, which includes Dickson Mounds, one of the largest and most important onsite archaeological museums in the United States. The move came a day after the Illinois Senate passed a measure requiring the state to keep the museum sites open.

“We voted to keep the museum system open because its value far outweighs its cost,” said state Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), who serves on the panel and represents Lewistown, the home of Dickson Mounds. “The Illinois State Museum System provides residents and visitors from all over the world free access to Illinois’ history and art. Dickson Mounds, for example, is one of the biggest tourist draws in Fulton County, bringing in more than 50,000 people per year.”

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Category: Press Releases

Predmore Bill SigningThe governor signed a law that would give college students the authority to allow their university to share mental health information with their parents today.

It was inspired by the Predmore family of Bartonville, who tragically lost their son Chris to suicide last year. Under previous Illinois law, his college could not talk to his parents about his mental health struggles.

A number of recent studies indicate that psychological problems are a growing issue on college campuses. For example, a survey found that 70 percent of college counseling center directors believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems has increased in recent years. Surveys of college students themselves have shown that depression and anxiety have skyrocketed over the past several decades – perhaps as many as a quarter or third of students meet criteria for anxiety or depression during college.

“If I had a child in college who was considering committing suicide, I would want to know,” said Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), who sponsored the legislation in the Illinois Senate. “For many students, college is a time of transition when mental illnesses first manifest themselves.”

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Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
M113 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

Peoria Office:
400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120