Schmidt’s Spotlight 4/25/23

Dear Neighbor,

This week we resumed session of the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield. It was a busy week, and much was accomplished. I am honored to serve among my colleagues, representing you, the citizens of the 114th District. There are many issues we must fight to find sensible solutions for, and I promise to continue doing everything in my power to bring true change to our communities.

Today I write to you with news about a visit I made to some local high schools, a special event we had celebrating emerging women leaders in Springfield,  a visit I had at two local high schools, and a wonderful event we had in Springfield celebrating women making an impact in our state, our state budget, and transportation. I hope this knowledge helps you to better understand what’s going on in our state. Thank you for making our communities what they are.


Rep. Kevin Schmidt

114th District

Visiting East St. Louis and Cahokia High Schools

On Thursday, April 13th, I had the honor of visiting both East St. Louis and Cahokia High School to discuss being a state representative and government. I held a roundtable discussion about state laws and local issues with both students and faculty.

Rep. Schmidt Honors Two Local Women at Event in Springfield

I was honored to welcome Dawn Putnam and Misty Barth of Mom’s on a Mission, to Springfield on Tuesday for a women’s brunch that honored the contributions of emerging female leaders from throughout the state.

“Dawn and Misty are amazing women who are making a huge impact on our communities,” said Rep. Schmidt. “I am inspired by the work these two incredible women are doing in my district and I’m proud to promote their cause to my colleagues in the State Capitol. I chose these two women to honor at this event because of their tireless work for the betterment of our communities.”

Mom’s on a Mission is run by Dawn and Misty, two sisters with a passion for serving the less fortunate. Dawn and Misty’s organization is a 501(c)3, Non-Profit Public Charity serving the homeless, veterans, foster kids/families, fire and flood victims, teens, low-income families, and the elderly.

They strive to give aid to others in any way they can, from providing food to clothing, hygiene products, shoes, prom dresses, and window AC units, just to name a few. Part of Mom’s on a Mission is their thrift shop, called “Pay-or-Pray.” They serve whoever they can in many areas across Illinois and Missouri.

It was my honor to provide these women a platform so they can champion their cause to my fellow Representatives in Springfield. We heard from dozens of female community leaders, and it was a great to learn from leaders from all over the State.

Dawn Putnam and Misty Barth joined 50 female leaders from across the state who are each taking bold steps to make Illinois a better place to live and work. The event kicked off with a brunch that was highlighted by a keynote address delivered by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White, the first black woman to serve on the state’s high court. Justice Holder White discussed the obstacles she and many other women face when working to achieve positions of leadership. She ended her speech with a strong message of empowerment and the need to make space for women in government.

Following the brunch, the honorees attended a listening session hosted by the first female Minority Leader in the Illinois House of Representatives, Leader Tony McCombie, and the first black Lieutenant Governor in state history, Juliana Stratton. Both women spoke in depth about the connection they share as women in politics, even though they sit on opposite sides of the aisle. Together they asked questions about the challenges the honorees faced as women and encouraged suggestions on how Illinois government can help.

The honorees were then guided to the House Speaker’s Gallery where they watched the day’s legislative session in the Illinois House of Representatives. Leader Tony McCombie took a moment to recognize the guests from the House floor, commending their achievements as Emerging Women Leaders.

This event concluded with a tour of the Capitol, led by the first female Architect of the Illinois Capitol, Andrea Aggertt.

“We were privileged to host an extraordinary group of women from every corner of Illinois who are truly making a positive impact in their communities,” said Leader McCombie. “I would like to thank each of them for sharing their stories with us and for their dedication toward improving the quality of life for women and families in this state we are proud to call home.”

Leader McCombie and the Illinois House Republicans plan to make the Emerging Women Leaders Recognition an annual event, building on the success of the first such event hosted in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the recognition to be postponed from 2020-2022.


Last week, I met with Antoine White. He works for WePower. They are an organization that helps build community wealth in impoverished areas. We had a very productive meeting and shared a similar vision.

You can learn more about WePower at WEPOWER St. Louis | So Every Community Prospers (

Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson addresses joint legislative session

This past week, newly-elected Mayor of Chicago Brandon Johnson addressed the Illinois General Assembly. His speech was one of the most divisive speeches I have ever heard. He decided to spend an inordinate amount of his allotted time to attack Republicans and people who have no connection to the very real problems facing the City of Chicago.

Illinois needs a strong Chicago. We need to work together as Democrats and Republicans to bring more jobs to underserved communities throughout the state. Instead of divisiveness, we need leadership. Instead of rhetoric, we need solutions. Instead of virtue signaling, we need action.

Brandon Johnson had a defining moment to transcend politics and he chose to engage in more of the same politics of the past. We are not making our communities safer or helping people who need jobs to get jobs by engaging in partisan attacks. I had great hopes for what Brandon Johnson might say but unfortunately his speech was exactly what I expected him to say. It is time for our leaders to put people first because the status quo is failing us all.


Revenue numbers show a sharp decline in March 2023.  General funds revenues, which cover the ongoing spending programs of State of Illinois operations, dropped sharply in March 2023.  The drop of $563 million in March 2023 cash receipts, put next to comparable figures for March 2022 cash inflows, signals the approaching fiscal challenges facing the State.  The FY23 budget, which covers State spending through the second quarter of 2023 up until June 30, 2023, is based on an assumption of healthy, booming State tax revenues.  The March 2023 revenue numbers reported by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) are a warning that these assumptions may have to be modified or changed in the near future.  

As in previous months, the overall State of Illinois revenue trend for March 2023 was driven by changes in income tax payments.  The taxes paid in by Illinoisans and their employers as Personal Income Taxes dropped $384 million in March 2023 as compared to March 2022.  Even after part of this shortfall was set aside to reflect the participation of the Income Tax Refund Fund in this item of overall cash flow, Illinois personal income tax receipts were down $330 in March 2023.  This accounted for more than half of the overall March 2023 net revenue shift of $563 million.  Corporate income tax payments to the State of Illinois also declined sharply in March 2023.

Other lines within the State general funds revenue picture were flat to down in March 2023 as compared to the year-earlier month.  These included sales and use taxes, public utility taxes, cigarette taxes, taxes on liquor and alcohol, taxes on estates, and taxes on insurance activities.  It is not known whether this negative trend will continue in April, May, and June of 2023.  Based on worldwide movements toward slowing economic activity based upon higher interest rates and growing risks of international conflict, continued negative movement can be expected.

Three-year budget projection unveiled.  The projection, by CGFA, covers FY24 through FY26.  This multi-year projection utilizes known information about Illinois’ “structural budget deficit” and other trends affecting the State’s revenues and spending patterns, to come up with a medium-term projection intended to cover the three-year period ending June 30, 2026.  

Illinois general funds revenue trends continue to move State revenue towards income tax, sales tax, and federal aid, and away from other sources of general revenue.  This includes major revenue sources such as the Illinois State Lottery, excise taxes on public utility services such as electricity and natural gas, and other taxes such as the estate tax charged on estates as they pass through probate.  While these other revenue sources generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually, next to the State’s ongoing need for more than $50 billion in general funds annual revenues these once-mammoth revenue sources have become less significant.

In the most recently completed fiscal year, FY22, income taxes on individuals and corporations raised three-fifths of the total of more than $50.3 billion in base general funds notched by Illinois as State revenues.  These income taxes were driven by increasing pay rates earned by Illinois workers, together with the movement of income tax revenue towards automatic payment through deduction from paychecks.  Individual income taxes accounted for 49% of the total, and corporate income tax for 11% of the total, to make 60% in all. 

Sales taxes accounted for another 20% of the total.  This number included healthy revenues from the State’s ability to charge sales and use taxes on many items bought by Illinois residents over the Internet for delivery in Illinois.  Federal aid covered 9% of the revenue total.  Put together, these “Big Three” revenue sources – income taxes, sales taxes, and federal aid – accounted for 89% of Illinois’ FY22 base general funds revenues.  All other revenue sources, including the Illinois State Lottery and other gaming taxes funneled to general funds, public utility taxes, and other State taxes such as taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and estates – made up only 11% of the whole.  CGFA expects these revenue trends to continue and intensify in future years.

The analysts at CGFA also looked at Illinois spending trends.  They found that State spending, particularly with regard to big-ticket items headed by Corrections, Medicaid, pensions, and education, can be expected to continue to grow faster than these tax receipts in future years.  This trend should revive Illinois’ temporarily-diminished “structural deficit.”   


“Drop it and Drive” during Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  All distractions – whether texting, eating, or talking – can be dangerous when you’re behind the wheel. Throughout April, the Illinois Department of Transportation is teaming up with the Illinois State Police and more than 200 local law enforcement agencies to promote Distracted Driving Awareness Month, save lives, and make Illinois roads safer.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 26,004 people died in crashes nationwide involving a distracted driver between 2012 and 2019. While overall crash fatalities decreased slightly from 2018, distraction-related fatalities increased by 10%. The number of deaths linked to driver distraction reached 3,142 nationwide, accounting for nearly 9% of all crash fatalities in 2019. This represents a 10% increase since 2018. Distraction accounted for the largest increase in reported causes of fatalities in 2019. Distracted driving continues to be a problem in Illinois and takes many forms. In 2020, 9,432 crashes on Illinois roads involved a distracted driver. In Illinois, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while using an electronic communication device to text or make a call unless using hands-free mode.

To keep your attention on the road where it belongs, remember these tips:

• If you need to send a text or check your phone, pull over and park your car in a safe location.

• Make a passenger your “designated texter.” Let them use your phone to respond to calls or messages.

• Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.

• Cellphone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cellphone in the trunk or back seat.

Using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, but getting caught can also be expensive and embarrassing. Save your money and maybe even a life – wait until you reach your destination to text or call. Remember: Drop it and Drive!