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August 20, 1999

Governor Freezes Property Taxes For Veterans Groups

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today finalized bill action from the 1999 legislative session by easing the financial burden on chartered veterans organizations with a property tax freeze.

House Bill 134 creates a property tax assessment freeze for qualifying veterans' organizations. Ryan stressed his support of veterans groups and noted that declining membership has led to a need for assistance in paying property taxes on their halls and social centers.

"We have studied this issue and held meetings for years, and today it's time we take a stand to help veterans organizations meet their tax liabilities," Ryan said.

Qualifying veterans organizations will have their assessment reduced and frozen at 15 percent of the 1999 assessed value of property that qualifies for the assessment freeze in taxable year 2000. Under the new law, there is also the option of having assessment frozen at 15 percent of the assessed value of the property for the taxable year the property first qualifies for the reduced assessment.

House Bill 134 was sponsored by Sen. Chris Lauzen, R-Aurora, and Rep. Mary Lou Cowlishaw, R-Naperville. The bill takes affect immediately.

Out of the 729 bills that the General Assembly sent to the Governor, few received more discussion or debate than the senior assisted living bill.

House Bill 427 creates the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act allowing the development and operation of assisted living and shared housing establishments for seniors citizens with certain services including meals, house keeping, security, and other necessities of daily living.

Ryan's amendatory veto of the bill recommends that appointments to the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Advisory Board be made by the governor, rather than the Director of the Department of Public Health.

In addition in his amendatory veto, the governor noted a concern that "assisted living programs, which operate from a social model, not be confused or blended with the medical model utilized in nursing home settings to alleviate conflicts between service options." Ryan also noted that he would like "to make certain that the requirements of House Bill 427 are appropriately addressed so that Illinois' assisted living programs are of the highest caliber."

"We heard from numerous advocates on this issue and all of them worked hard toward a consensus for passage of this bill," Ryan said. "The effort that was made on this issue illustrates the benefits of bi-partisan cooperation in government," he said.

Chief Senate sponsors of House Bill 427, which takes affect Jan 1, 2001, were Sen. Beverly Fawell, R-Wheaton; Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago; Sen. Christine Radogno, R-LaGrange; Patrick O'Malley, R-Palos Park; and Sen. William Shaw, D-Markham. House sponsors were Rep. Joseph Lyons, D-Chicago; Rep. Maggie Crotty, D-Oak Forest; Rep. Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview; and Rep. Ralph Capparelli, D-Chicago.


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