04292019 ManarSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar on Thursday challenged the state agency responsible for economic development to focus more of its attention on rural and downstate Illinois communities.

Manar (D-Bunker Hill) noted that there currently are 1,100 vacant jobs in Decatur and not enough workers to fill them. Most of the jobs pay well and come with benefits, he added. He said these kinds of challenges in struggling and impoverished regions of the state deserve more attention.

His remarks were made during an appropriations hearing with the Department of Commerce and Economic Development.

“I think a major challenge for the agency is how it injects itself into rural parts of the state that have seen poverty literally explode over the last decade,” Manar said. “I think it’s a fair criticism of the agency that, under multiple administrations, the rural areas of the state where the challenges are different and more difficult have just kind of been marginalized.”

Manar said a key to job creation and business support downstate is to have economic development experts on the ground in those locations who understand the challenges and are available to help solve them.

“We can’t do foreign trade relationships really well and not do downstate economic development really well and then say we’re successful,” Manar said. “We have to do both equally well to be truly successful.”

Includes income tax cut, property tax relief for working families

SPRINGFIELD – Nearly all working men and women in the 48th Senate District would pay less in state income taxes under a historic overhaul that was approved by the Illinois Senate Wednesday.
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) voted for a package of measures that includes new income tax rates requiring millionaires to pay their fair share to the state, as well as tax relief for property owners and elimination of Illinois’ estate tax.

“Anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year will get a tax cut under this plan. That’s nearly every single taxpayer I represent,” Manar said. “This is the right thing to do for people who find themselves working harder but taking home less. Those who have benefited from a robust economy can pay a little more to help bring stability to the state of Illinois.”

Under the proposal, only the top 3 percent of Illinois earners would pay more in income taxes. Everyone who makes less than $250,000 a year would pay a rate of 4.95 percent or less.

The package is part of a constitutional amendment that will require voter approval in 2020. The plan approved by the Senate Wednesday must go to the House for consideration next.

Manar, who shepherded the state’s recent revamp of the school funding formula, sponsored the property tax relief portion of the package. Under this measure, as long as the state lives up to its responsibilities to adequately fund school districts, including lunch programs and student busing costs, there would be little need for districts to go to local property owners seeking tax hikes.

Property tax relief has to be a priority for the state, Manar said, noting that his legislation gets at the root of what largely drives high property taxes across the state – funding for local school districts. In addition, it forces the state to own up to its responsibility of fully funding schools.

“It’s time to turn off the spigot of property taxes and make state funding the predominant source of support for schools,” he said. “This is the next step toward bringing true equity to the funding of schools while acknowledging the property tax burden has to be reduced over time.”

The package of legislation – the fair tax rates, elimination of the estate tax and property tax relief – are contained in Senate bills 687, 689 and 690. In addition, Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 (SJRCA01) simplifies constitutional language about income taxes to allow for a fair tax while eliminating Illinois’ current outdated flat tax system.

04132019 ManarIEAaward

State Senator Andy Manar was honored with the Illinois Education Association’s Friend of Education award for his commitment to public schools in Illinois.

"I am humbled to receive this award from the IEA," Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, said. "It is my honor as a state senator to advocate every day for the things that matter to public education – fair school funding, eliminating the teacher shortage, boosting student success and drawing positive attention to educators who deserve respect and appreciation for the work they do. Thank you to the IEA for being a partner in those efforts."

Manar was nominated for the award by IEA member Karen Gall who teaches in Mount Olive, which is in the Senate district that Manar represents in Springfield. Gall presented Manar with the award at the IEA’s Representative Assembly in Rosemont on April 13. The RA is the IEA’s largest gathering and is also the governing body of the IEA. There are 1,200 IEA delegates, guests and state dignitaries who attend the . 

"Senator Manar is a champion of public education and a tireless advocate for our students and schools,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “He is out in our communities listening to our educators and making sure their voices are heard at the Statehouse in Springfield. Because of his commitment to providing more for our students and schools, the Illinois legislature passed historic school funding reform. Senator Manar continues to fight for legislation that will fix the teacher shortage crisis and will help ensure that every child has access to a high-quality public education no matter where they live.”

Pana pharmacy added as drop-off location


BUNKER HILL – State Senator Andy Manar is teaming up with local authorities again this year to host a convenient opportunity for residents to drop off unwanted and unused medications at area independent pharmacies.

The event will take place between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, April 27 at 13 pharmacies throughout Macoupin and Montgomery counties and in Pana.

This is the third year for the free, public event.

“Every year we put out the call for people to help us fight opioid abuse by turning in unwanted and unused medications. And every year they exceed our expectations,” Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “I invite people to once again take advantage of this opportunity to clean out those medicine cabinets and clear off those counter tops so we can keep opioids out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.”

Macoupin County drop-off sites:

  • Bunker Hill: Michelle’s Pharmacy, 809 S. Franklin St.
  • Carlinville: Michelle’s Pharmacy, 274 N. Broad St., and Sullivan’s Drugstore, 920 W. Main St.
  • Gillespie: Michelle’s Pharmacy, 120 S. Macoupin St., and Sullivan’s Drugstore, 113 S. Macoupin St.
  • Mount Olive: Sullivan’s Drugstore, 105 W. Main St.
  • Staunton: Sullivan’s Pharmacy, 101 E. Main St.
  • Virden: Sav-Mor Pharmacy, 105 E. Jackson St.

Montgomery County drop-off sites:

  • Hillsboro: Sullivan’s Drugstore, 325 S. Main St.
  • Litchfield: Sullivan’s Drugstore, 320 E. Union Ave.
  • Nokomis: Sav-Mor Pharmacy, 110 E. State St.
  • Raymond: Sullivan’s Drugstore, 801 N. Obannon St.

Pana drop-off site:

  • Sav-Mor Pharmacy, 34 S. Locust St., Pana

Accepted items: prescription drug waste, controlled drugs Schedule II-V, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, drugs from individuals and households, transdermal patches, liquid, ointment, and items containing sodium bicarbonate or effervescent compounds that must be dissolved with water first.

Not accepted: hazardous materials, hazardous pharmaceuticals, medical/infectious waste, sharps/needles/syringes, drugs or waste from hospitals and health facilities, radioactive items, ignitable materials and aerosols.

Co-hosting the events are Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, Macoupin County State’s Attorney Jennifer Watson, Montgomery County Sheriff Rick Robbins and Montgomery County State’s Attorney Bryant Hitchings.

With continued opioid, heroin and prescription drug abuse throughout Illinois, including in rural communities, it is important that people responsibly dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications, public health and law enforcement authorities warn.

April 27 is National Drug Takeback Day. For those who can’t participate that day, there are permanent, year-round drop-off sites at many local police departments, sheriff's offices and pharmacies.


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