Chicago, IL – State Reps. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), Christine Winger (R-Bloomingdale), Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) today introduced legislation, House Bill 4082, to immediately repeal the one-cent-per-ounce Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax. The tax, which went into effect on August 2, will result in Cook County consumers having to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice drink or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack.

“This pop tax is a repeated example of another financial burden being imposed upon the people of Cook County. The vetting of this measure was short-sighted and irresponsible as roll-outs of similar pop taxes in other cities have proven to be not effective and even harmful to the local economy,” stated Rep. McAuliffe. “I spent this past weekend in my district and the feedback against this tax was overwhelmingly negative. The taxpayers are understandably frustrated and there is a lot of confusion.”

“Longstanding small businesses that have been pivotal in the community are going to suffer, especially when residents can walk less than a mile to a different store in a county that isn’t affected by the tax to buy their goods,” said Rep. Winger. “Residents will choose a different store over one they have gone to for years to avoid paying this. I have heard first-hand the severity this tax has already had in its first two weeks.  Some say sales have already dropped 80% on certain products.”

Specifically, House Bill 4082 would prevent any home rule county from imposing a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold. It applies to any county ordinance adopted on or before the effective date of the bill, repealing the existing Cook County ordinance.

"On the heels of being hit with a 32% income tax hike, the residents of Cook County were immediately saddled with a costly tax on sweetened beverages,” said Rep. Breen. “It's time for government to live within its means and quit turning to taxpayers for more of their hard-earned money. Through this legislation, the Cook County beverage tax will be repealed, and a law will be in place to prohibit any similar taxes in other Illinois counties."


“Democrats not only want you to keep ‘drinking the Koolaid’, they want you to pay more for the privilege,” said Rep. Wehrli. “This tax hits families directly in their wallets.  It could also cost us some of the thousands of good jobs the soft drink industry provides Illinois families. It’s no surprise that nearly 87% of Cook County residents oppose this tax, and we stand with them.”

The City of Philadelphia recently enacted a similar, 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages to pay for universal preschool. Following the implementation of the tax, beverage sales fell by as much as 50 percent and more than 400 jobs were lost. Additionally, actual beverage tax collections for the first six months are $6.9 million below the city’s estimate of $46.2 million.

The impact on Cook County is expected to be even more devastating. An economic analysis in 2016 found that the beverage tax, which Cook County estimates to provide $67.5 million in new revenue in 2017 and $200.6 million in 2018, could result in a loss of 6,100 jobs, $321 million in lost wages and $1.3 billion in lost economic activity. There have already been a number of complaints and lawsuits as retailers struggle to comply with the implementation of the tax.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently notified Cook County that portions of the tax were illegal and that the state could stand to lose more than $86 million in federal funding if the problems are not resolved.

Additionally, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission has voiced its concerns with Cook County as well, stating that the new tax “may lead to practices that violate the Illinois Liquor Control Act.”
LISLE – State Representatives Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) and Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) along with State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) will host a Town Hall Meeting on the status of the controversial education funding reform bill, Senate Bill 1, and what is at stake for local taxpayers and school districts at 9:30am on Saturday, August 12 at Benedictine University’s Goodwin Business Building's Hall of Leaders (4th Floor), located at 5700 College Road in Lisle. 

The Illinois General Assembly is expected to return to session in Springfield as early as August 14 to deliberate upon the Governor’s partial veto of Senate Bill 1. 
  
“Republicans agree that this legislation is historic and important – and that’s why we have to make sure we get it right,” said Representative Wehrli. “We have been very clear about our concerns on this legislation from the moment it was amended and passed in the legislature on May 31. There is no more time to lose.  Democrats have played politics with this bill all summer. Suburban parents and taxpayers need to know how this will affect us before moving forward.”
State Rep. Grant Wehrli on Monday released the following statement in response to Sen. Andy Manar’s comments on the status of Senate Bill 1:


“Instead of telling the governor what he should and should not be doing, perhaps Senator Manar should heed his own advice and work with his colleagues in the General Assembly. I repeatedly reached out to Senator Manar throughout the spring session to ask if he would meet with me to discuss Senate Bill 1 and specifically what changes needed to be made to make it work for suburban school districts instead of just the City of Chicago. You would think that for someone so interested in ‘building bridges’ he would have been amenable to a meeting. Instead, my requests via at least three phone calls to his district office, and an in-person request in the capitol, went unanswered.  
                                                                                                                                        
“Republicans agree that this legislation is historic and important – and that’s why we have to make sure we get it right. We have been very clear about our concerns on this legislation from the moment it was amended and passed in the legislature on May 31, so to claim now that he was unaware of Republicans' ‘alleged problems’ with the bill is predictable, disingenuous and reeks of political pandering. At this point, I would encourage Senator Manar to ask Senator Trotter to remove the brick from Senate Bill 1 so it can be sent to the governor,  he can make his revisions and send it back to us, and we can then move the process forward.”

                                                               -State Representative Grant Wehrli, 41st District
Illinois families are struggling under the second-highest property tax burden in the country with collar-county families being hardest hit. State Representative Grant Wehrli this week reiterated his insistence that real, meaningful property tax reform must be included in a balanced state budget compromise.


Legislation to close a costly public pension double-dipping loophole in Illinois cleared its final legislative hurdle Monday and will soon head to the Governor for his signature. House Bill 418 was guided through the General Assembly by Representative Grant Wehrli and Senator Michael Connelly. The measure will prevent retired law enforcement officers collecting a police pension, who accept a new active-duty position, from being eligible for a second police fund pension.
 
“The loophole in current law that allows double-dipping into the police pension systems is costing municipalities and local taxpayers a fortune.  Retired law enforcement officers have earned their pensions, but they should not be entitled to multiple pensions that we can’t afford,” said Rep. Wehrli (R-Naperville).
 
“This is common sense legislation, and it’s time this costly loophole in the state’s pension system is resolved,” said Sen. Connelly (R-Naperville).
Statement of State Rep. Grant Wehrli on today’s State Board of Elections Vote:

“Today, the State Board of Elections voted to fine Auditor General Mautino $5,000, and then, on a four to four party line vote, decided to not forward their findings or information to the Attorney General or local States Attorneys for further investigation.  This ruling truly shows the Board to be nothing but a paper tiger…and today, it was a wet paper tiger,” said Representative Wehrli (R-Naperville).

“Through the course of this investigation it became clear that Frank Mautino walked into the Spring Valley Bank, cashed campaign checks totaling more than $69,000 over a two-year period, and walked out with cash in hand. No records were kept to account for where all of that cash went,” Wehrli stressed. “The partisan nature of this Board vote confirms that Democrats in Illinois refuse to stand up to corruption. Now is the time for Attorney General Lisa Madigan to finally take a firm stand against political corruption in Illinois and launch an investigation into this matter.”

Rep. Wehrli is the chief sponsor of House Joint Resolution 9 which would remove Auditor General Mautino from office. House Democrats have stalled the resolution in the House Rules Committee.
With the spring session clock ticking down to its final weeks, State Representative Grant Wehrli is calling for swift progress to enact a responsible, full-year state budget. Rep. Wehrli (R-Naperville) said legislators must immediately focus on two priorities: setting a realistic revenue estimate, and supporting and encouraging the ongoing comprehensive budget negotiations in the Senate.
 
Rep. Wehrli this week joined a bi-partisan group of House members sending a letter of support and letter signed by 30 Republican and Democrat Representatives reads in part:
encouragement to their Senate colleagues involved in their chamber’s ongoing budget negotiations. The
 
“We want to do what we were elected to do; govern the state. To do that we need to pass a budget. We understand a package from the Senate will be complex. Some parts may make members uncomfortable, and that’s not unusual in a negotiated deal.
 
We ask the Senators from both parties to pass the best negotiated package they can, and then we will take up their work in the House.”
At a hearing in Chicago today before the State Board of Elections, Illinois’ embattled Auditor General Frank Mautino continued his refusal to answer questions concerning campaign expenses that have sparked criminal investigations at the Federal and State levels. State Representatives Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) and Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) attended this morning’s hearing, and stressed that Mautino’s decision today to “plead the Fifth Amendment” to again avoid providing answers must result in his removal from office.
If you live in or near the Ashbury subdivision, please join Sen. Connelly and me on the 18th for an update on the state budget and other crucial issues being discussed in Springfield. We want to hear what’s on your mind.
$12 billion in unpaid bills. 20 months without a full year budget in place. There are many important numbers we need to keep in mind as the budget negotiations move forward in the General Assembly.  A few weeks ago, the Governor presented his budget parameters in his annual budget address. Now the most important number the General Assembly must deal with is 60-30-1 – that’s the combination of votes needed to pass a compromise budget into law (60 House members, 30 Senators and the Governor). Read more at Positively Naperville.
On the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Wehrli called for honest House negotiation of a responsible state budget solution, and called out his colleagues on the other side of the aisle for their continued  political "game playing" with the budget process during the stalemate:

Statement of State Representative Grant Wehrli on Governor Bruce Rauner’s Wednesday Budget Address:

“The Governor’s priorities are spot-on. We need a balanced, full-year budget focused on growing our economy and protecting taxpayers. And yes, we must do some things differently to accomplish those objectives,” said Rep. Wehrli “For years, Speaker Madigan and his enablers have ignored their Constitutional obligation to pass a responsible, balanced budget. That’s why we’re in the mess we’re in.  But finally, we have some bi-partisan consensus that reforms are necessary to fix it.  We need to build on recent progress made in the Senate and move forward together.”
Just a few weeks into our first spring session, the new 100th General Assembly cast one our most important votes of the next two years. Over the strong objections of House Republicans, the majority party passed the new House Rules that will govern how we conduct business in the chamber through January of 2019. With the budget, property tax reform and the many vitally important challenges facing us this spring, why is a technical vote on the rules so critical? Because it is through these House Rules that one Representative from Chicago has, over the past three decades, systematically stripped crucial rights and responsibilities from your elected Representatives to gain for himself complete control over the House chamber. Read more at Positively Naperville.
State Representative Grant Wehrli will be putting his experience as a former Naperville City Councilman and business owner to work this spring on the Illinois House Committees dealing with key legislation impacting Illinois’ jobs climate and our local communities. Representative Wehrli (R-Naperville) has secured coveted positions on the House Labor and Commerce, Personnel and Pensions, and Cities and Villages Committees.

“These committees play a crucial role weighing in on legislation that will impact our jobs climate, and our state and local budgets.  My participation ensures my constituents have a voice in these discussions throughout the process,” Representative Wehrli said.
Statement of Rep. Wehrli on Attorney General Lisa Madigan's Attempt to Block State Employees' Pay for the Remainder of the Budget Stalemate:

“Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s attempt to intervene in and influence the ongoing budget negotiations by blocking state employees’ pay does nothing to help us reach a resolution…in fact, it only throws gasoline on the fire. Halting employees’ pay will not move us closer to a solution. It just turns uncertainly into a full-blown, immediate financial crisis for tens of thousands of families throughout the state.
 
Since she’s basing her argument for this budget intervention on the State Constitution, I would also like to know why she has stood by silently for her entire tenure as Attorney General while previous General Assemblies and Governors have passed unbalanced budget after unbalanced budget in direct violation of that same Constitution.”
This year, the month of January has ushered in the 100th General Assembly in Illinois, and 191 new laws. Read more about those of which you and your family should be aware at Positively Naperville.


Surrounded by family and friends, State Representative Grant Wehrli Wednesday  took the oath of office to continue representing the 41st House district in the 100th General Assembly. Rep. Wehrli (R-Naperville) pledged during the next two years to continue his focus on passing a balanced, responsible state budget that protects taxpayers and on creating new and better job opportunities for Illinois families.

“These are the main ingredients to getting our budget and our economy back on track. In the previous General Assembly, one man, House Speaker Michael Madigan, stood in the way of compromise.  This week we have a new General Assembly and a chance to focus anew on working together on responsible, compromise solutions,” Rep. Wehrli said.
Local Cubs fans eager to see the team’s 2016 World Series trophy up close will get their wish this Saturday, State Representative Grant Wehrli announced today. The Cubs Trophy Tour, presented by State Farm, is coming to Naperville this Saturday, January 7th, giving fans the opportunity to see and take photos with the 2016 World Series Trophy.

“I, like thousands of other local Cubs fans, have waited a lifetime for this moment,” Rep. Wehrli said. “Growing up, my summers revolved around watching the Cubs at Wrigley or listening to the games on the radio. Seeing a Cubs World Series trophy up close will truly be a very special experience.”

The trophy will be at the Naperville City Hall, 400 South Eagle Street, from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. this Saturday, January 7th.

Fans can follow the Cubs on Twitter and Instagram (@Cubs) for specific updates on the Cubs Trophy Tour using the #CubsTrophyTour hashtag. Team updates and fans' social media posts are also available at www.cubs.com/trophytour, along with a tentative schedule, highlights and more information about the World Series Trophy.