Springfield...State Representative Dave Severin has released the following video offering his take on the action that happened in the 2018 Veto Session. Click play below to watch!

The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is hosting a naming contest for participation by eligible Illinois young adults. Current members of three groups -- Illinois 4-H, Illinois FFA (Future Farmers of America) and the Illinois Junior Horsemen's Council -- are eligible to submit naming ideas. The Foundation will accept naming ideas through Friday, December 14. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.

The century-old centerpiece of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, an oval arena with Illinois-style clerestory windows, is being re-roofed and partly rebuilt. The Coliseum was temporarily closed to the public in 2016. The building’s original ceiling beams, which were part of the first generation of steel-building technology when the Coliseum rose in 1901, have reached the end of their useful life. The project is being funded with donations of $7.5 million from the private sector. When rebuilt, the Coliseum will resume its role as a place to show horses in saddle and in harness.

Click HERE for more information on the naming contest.

Royalton Community Garden
State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) is proud to announce that the Village of Royalton was recognized this week with the Governor’s Hometown Award for its “Royalton Community Garden” program in the Environmental Stewardship category. Honorable mention also goes to the City of Marion's "Girl Scout Silver Award Carnival for Lighthouse Shelter."

“I am very proud of the great work of our communities and the Girl Scouts here in southern Illinois,” said Rep. Dave Severin. “The Governor’s Hometown Award for Royalton is well deserved! These programs are fine examples of projects that add to the quality of life for our communities.”

For the Royalton Community Garden, Girl Scouts were approached by Royalton Mayor Christy Powers to start a project that the youth in their community could take part in. Jacquelyn Walter and Cara Wilson enlisted local youth and planned, planted, and maintained a community garden. Through working on this project the girls found that they were capable leaders and enjoyed working in the outdoors.

For the Marion project, the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Troop #8893 hosted a fall festival carnival for younger children to support the Lighthouse Shelter in Marion, Illinois. The Lighthouse Shelter is a homeless shelter in Marion. During the Spring of 2017, the Lighthouse Shelter suffered from flooding. The Girl Scout Troop #8893 had attendees to the festival brought items to donate to the Lighthouse Shelter.

Sponsored by the Serve Illinois Commission, each jurisdiction will receive a plaque and road sign to display in its community.

Presented continuously from 1983 to 2014 and then 2017 to present, the Governor’s Hometown Award​s (GHTA) program gives formal recognition to those who contributed to projects that improved their community’s quality of life. These projects are sponsored by local units of government which have strong volunteer support, meet a need, and make a definitive impact, thereby generating a positive outcome in the community and by extension, the state.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Office of Community Assistance announced today that the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will begin scheduling appointments and accepting applications for winter heating assistance for seniors and people with disabilities beginning October 1, 2018.

Customers must bring all required documentation when applying for assistance including:

• Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application.

• A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly).

• A copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information.

• Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.

• Proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Disconnected households and families with children ages 5 or under (includes all children who are not yet 6 years old, that is, up to 5 years and 364 days) can begin applying for LIHEAP assistance beginning November 1, 2018. Individuals not eligible for priority enrollment can apply beginning December 1, 2018. LIHEAP applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis until May 31, 2019 or until funding is exhausted.

LIHEAP is a state and federally funded energy assistance program for low-income families, in which heating bill payments are made on behalf of households. Applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies around the state. A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,518; a two-person household up to $2,058; a family of three can earn up to $2,598; and a family of four can earn up to $3,138. Benefits are paid directly to energy vendors on behalf of eligible households. The exception is households whose heating costs are included in their rent.

For a complete listing of LIHEAP's local administering agencies and additional information about the program, go to www.liheapIllinois.com or call the LIHEAP toll-free hotline at 1-877-411-WARM (9276).
State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton), a member of the Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education Committee, announced that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is now accepting applications for property tax relief grants to eligible school districts. This property tax swap is intended to incentivize high-taxed low-wealth districts to decrease their property tax burden. $50 million has been appropriated for Fiscal Year 2019.

“I am pleased that some tax relief is available for residents in this area of the state,” said Rep. Dave Severin. “I encourage all of the schools in my district to apply for these grants as soon as possible. This could mean over thirteen million dollars in property tax relief. That’s real value for the working men and women of southern Illinois!”

Maximum Possible Tax Relief for Schools in the 117th District is estimated at $13,558,393.19. The breakdown is as follows:

Aikin Community Consolidated School (Dist. 91) $ 337,761.72

Benton Community Consolidated School (Dist. 47) $ 701,976.07

Benton Consolidated High School (Dist. 103) $ 376,489.64

Carterville Community Unit School (Dist. 5) $ 1,925,831.03

Christopher Unit (Dist. 99) $ 307,437.15

Crab Orchard Community Unit School (Dist. 3) $ 323,974.72

Ewing Northern Consolidated School (Dist. 115) $ 156,204.28

Frankfort Community Unit School (Dist. 168) $ 902,734.18

Herrin Community Unit School (Dist. 4) $ 1,665,216.45

Johnston City Community Unit School (Dist. 1) $ 760,098.76

Marion Community Unit School (Dist. 2) $ 5,343,534.85

Sesser-Valier Community Unit School (Dist. 196) $ 317,714.12

Thompsonville Community Unit School (Dist. 174) $ 195,763.11

Ziegler-Royalton Community Unit School (Dist. 188) $ 243,657.11

The total grant to a school district is calculated based on the total amount of reduction in the school district’s aggregate extension, up to a limit of 1% of a district’s equalized assessed value for a unit school district, .69% for an elementary school district, and .31% for a high school district, multiplied by the property tax multiplier or the amount that the unit equivalent tax rate is greater than the rate determined by the State Board, whichever is less. Below is the link to the eligible school districts. The spreadsheet identifies school districts to House districts. School districts must apply for the grant.

Beginning in FY 19, the State Board will provide up to $50 million in property tax relief grants to eligible school districts. Eligible districts are those that exceed a threshold tax rate and that agree to abate a portion of taxes, up to a statutory limit, in the coming tax cycle. In return, qualifying districts receive a state grant in an amount that is a proportion of the tax relief provided.

Eligible districts are those with Unit Equivalent Tax Rates that exceed the threshold Unit Equivalent Tax Rate. That threshold rate is determined based on the data for districts that apply for this program and will not be known until all applications have been received and reviewed. Grants are prioritized in order of highest Unit Equivalent Tax Rates among grant applicants.

The tax relief a district is eligible to provide may be no greater than the lesser of (A) 1% of EAV for a unit district, 0.69% of EAV for an elementary school district, or 0.31% of EAV for a high school district, or (B) the difference between the district’s Unit Equivalent Tax Rate and the threshold Unit Equivalent Tax Rate. If the latter is the lesser amount and the difference is less than 1%, that difference is further modified by multiplying the difference by 1 for a Unit district, by 0.69 for an elementary district and by 0.31 for a high school district.

Property tax relief grant amounts received in FY 19 will be included in future calculations of those districts’ Base Funding Minimum amounts, per 18-8.15 of the School Code. Future grant amounts are subject to appropriations. Applications for these grants are available on line at https://www.isbe.net/proptaxrelief.