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August 26, 2004


PEORIA – Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joined with Sen. George Shadid and Rep. Ricca Slone to salute the signing of Senate
Bill 2547 which protects business-owning National Guard members and reservists from being charged higher tax rates for unemployment insurance as a result of the employer closing down business to report for active military duty.
“President Abraham Lincoln noted our duty to ‘…care for them who have borne the battle.’ When Illinois
National Guard members and reservists leave to serve our nation in the global war on terrorism, they do not expect to
return to a business facing higher tax rates due to their military service,” Quinn said.  “Our duty is to ensure that those
who leave their families or businesses are not penalized when they return to the homefront, and the bill signed today
by Governor Blagojevich does just that.”
Quinn presented Colonel James Baldi with a pen from Governor Blagojevich and a copy of the signed bill.  The new law was inspired by Dr. Baldi who contacted Quinn about his plight.
A colonel in the Air Force Reserves, James Baldi closed his practice and was forced to lay off his three
employees – who then collected unemployment benefits – to serve as a dentist for U.S. troops in Germany. When he
returned to his dental practice, he faced having to pay the highest rate for unemployment insurance due to the lay-offs, meaning he was charged with a rate increase of 3468 percent and went from paying $41.31 a quarter to $1,432.91 a quarter.
“This is an e-government success story” Quinn said. “James Baldi e-mailed our office through the military family website, www.OperationHomeFront.org, and here we are now with bill sponsors Sen. Shadid and Rep. Slone, celebrating a new law that protects our business-owning citizen soldiers from having to pay skyrocketing unemployment insurance solely because they closed their business to serve our country.”
Quinn has led the successful effort to enact the “Illinois Military Family Relief Act,” which has already provided
$1.4 million in emergency financial assistance to 2,825 families of National Guard members and reservists called to active duty.
            “If you want to do something specific and concrete to support our troops, please consider sending a donation to the ‘Illinois Military Family Relief Fund’, P.O. Box 8889, Springfield, IL 62791,” Quinn urged.  To find out more ways to help our troops, visit our website, www.OperationHomefront.org, which has garnered more than 7.6 million hits and is one of the most informative military websites describing how to support our troops.


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