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Governors State of the State & Budget Adress for FY2023

On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, Governor Pritzker presented a combined State of the State Address AND his $45.4 billion Budget Address from the Old State Capitol. The State of the State address allows the Governor to highlight the good conditions of the state and perhaps suggest areas where improvements should be made. Most Governors use this time to laud the past year’s accomplishments. The Budget address is required by law to be given on a precise date and details the Governor’s spending PROPOSALs for the year.

Today, the Governor’s address had some interesting items that would affect state retirees. The Governor’s proposal would contribute an additional $500 million to the Pension Stabilization Fund for the State pension systems. He said that this would reduce future interest payments by $1.8 billion. He also wants to pay additional money to eliminate nearly $898 million owed for employee health insurance costs. His proposal spends nearly $900 million to the Rainy-Day Fund over FY22 and FY23.

Other items in his proposed budget are tax relief in the form of:
-$360 million by suspending the state’s tax on groceries;
-$135 million by freezing the planned gas increase;
-$475 million for property tax rebates in the form of up to a 5% rebate up to $300 for those homeowners who use property tax deductions on their state taxes.

From here, the General Assembly will begin analyzing his proposals and holding Appropriation committee hearings where many will come to testify. (The Senate has one Appropriation committee and 16 appropriation subcommittees. The House has five Appropriation committees with an additional 4 subcommittees.) Testimony will begin with each agency, who will outline the budget it needs to do its work and fund its various programs. Citizens, lobbyists, and all interested parties are also able to testify at the committee hearings and give input into how much should be spent on what programs.

If the General Assembly likes one of his proposals, agrees it is a priority, includes it in their budget, passes that budget by May 31, 2022, and the Governor approves that proposal in the budget, it will become law. Now comes the weeks/months of negotiations.

To hear the Governor’s speech, go to: Illinois State of the State Speech 2022

To view the proposed budget via a PowerPoint Presentation, go to: FY2023 Budget Book

 

Longtime Lobbyist for RSEA Retires

Randy Witter

Randy Witter, who has served as RSEA's legislative lobbyist since its inception, has retired.
The ILLINOIS TIMES published a nice piece on his career that is available for viewing at www.IllinoisTimes.com.

We appreciate all the hard work Randy has done on our behalf, and we wish him a LONG and HEALTHY retirement.

Taking over lobbying responsibilities for the RSEA is the firm of McGuire/Woods Consulting MWCLLC.

 

UnitedHealthCare change to their Fitness Benefit  -

for the year 2021:

  You have access to SilverSneakers®, a Medicare fitness program.   SilverSneakers includes a $0 membership fee for a standard, monthly membership at a participating fitness center.

   To get your SilverSneakers ID number or to learn more about this benefit, visit SilverSneakers.com or call  1-888-423-4632, TTY 711, 7a.m. to 7p.m. CT, Monday through Friday.

 for the year 2022:

  You will have access to Renew Active® by UnitedHealthCare at no additional cost.  Renew Active is the gold standard in Medicare fitness programs for body and mind.  It includes a gym membership at a fitness location you select from UHC’s nationwide network (including the YMCA and Fit Club).

 To learn more about Renew Active, visit UHCRenewActive.com.   Once you become a member, you will need a confirmation code.  Sign in to your plan website, go to Health & Wellness, and look for Renew Active or call the number on the back of your UnitedHealthCare member ID card to obtain your code.

 

The Illinois State Employees Retirement System has issued the following warning to its members:

Warning!  Many SERS members have recently received unsolicited, potentially misleading emails from companies not affiliated with SERS offering retirement counseling. These emails may appear to come from SERS or appear to represent SERS, they do not. SERS encourages members to be cautious of email solicitations and skeptical of any attempts by outside firms to request personal or financial information. SERS will NEVER contact you asking for personal information. If you are within a year of retirement and need an appointment, you can request an appointment by emailing [email protected] or by calling (217) 785-7444.

 

FLU SHOTS:

 CMS has released its Flu Shot Options for the fall of 2021 from September 28 through November 4. Because of Covid, access is different than in the past and for those outside of Springfield and the Chicago area, the best option may be your local health department.

 For the Springfield Area: https://www2.illinois.gov/cms/benefits/StateEmployee/Documents/Flu_Shot/2021/2021springfieldflu%20schedule.pdf

For the Chicago Area: https://www2.illinois.gov/cms/benefits/StateEmployee/Documents/Flu_Shot/2021/2021chicago%20and%20downstate%20flu%20schedule.pdf

 You may also wish to call your health plan to see where you can get your free shot. Or go to:

https://www2.illinois.gov/cms/benefits/StateEmployee/Documents/Flu_Shot/2021/2021acceptedvendor%20flu-shot%20options.pdf to see which providers are covered under your health plan.

 Wear short sleeves and bring you insurance card when you got your shot!

 
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