The 97th Illinois General Assembly meets for one last week before it's out with the old members and in with the newly-elected ones. Lawmakers could use this chance to pass legislation that'll raise Rockford's hotel tax, which would help pay for a multi-million dollar project.
The fall veto session came and went with no movement on Reclaiming First. That idea is designed to improve facilities and boost Rockford sports tourism. Project supporters are trying to stay positive this week, but they know first-hand how much state lawmakers can accomplish in just a week.
"When you consider that Rockford is such, relatively speaking, a small portion of the overall state's population, when there are issues that affect every single person in the state of Illinois; pension reform and the big issues that the legislature are dealing with, you have to be realistic and understand the process and the timeline." -says Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President & CEO, as well as Reclaiming First supporter John Groh.
Groh will put in a good word in front of the Senate Revenue Committee.
"I'll testify, I'll provide some information to the members of that committee about this project and about the legislation and specifically what we're asking for." -he says.
According to Groh, the project's proposal is identical to how it was presented in the fall. His positive attitude is also carried by our own Springfield representation.
"We're optimistic locally because obviously if we get it passed sooner than later they can start the project and move forward on construction. If we miss the lame-duck session, you're probably delaying everything at least a year." -says 69th District Representative Joe Sosnowski.
We'll bring you more updates from Springfield as they become available to us.
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