From the Desk of Senator Brian W. Stewart: “Property taxes, parks, pets and pollution prevention”

A new state task force will look for ways to provide property tax relief to homeowners and report its findings by the end of the year.

Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed legislation creating the bipartisan Property Tax Relief Task Force. The panel will be made up of lawmakers appointed by the four legislative leaders, and individuals appointed by the Governor. Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady appointed Senators Donald Dewitte, Dan McConchie, Dale Righter, Jil Tracy, and Craig Wilcox to serve on the Task Force.

The Task Force has been charged with identifying the causes of increasingly burdensome property taxes across Illinois. Members will review successful public policy strategies from throughout the nation that create short-term and long-term property tax relief for homeowners, and make recommendations about what steps Illinois could take to provide property tax relief.

An initial report is due within 90 days and the Task Force will submit a final report by December 31.

According to investment site, Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the country, with an average effective rate of nearly double the national average.

Long-term plans for two State Parks

Another state task force has presented its recommendations for the futures of two major Southern Illinois facilities.

A special task force of lawmakers, state officials and other stakeholders has released strategic plans for Pyramid State Park and the World Shooting and Recreation Complex in Sparta. The studies were facilitated by Southern Illinois University-Carbondale’s Innovation and Economic Development Office and presented to the Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at a ceremony at the Sparta complex on August 5.

The reports focused on the current and future needs of the two facilities and how to best manage and grow them for the future.

Pyramid State Park, with a total of 19,701 acres, is the largest state park in Illinois. It was built on reclaimed surface mine land and is popular for a number of activities, including fishing, hunting, sporting dog events, 4-H programs, and re-enactments. The World Shooting and Recreational Complex is a 1,600 acre world-class shooting and recreational facility that welcomes thousands of people per year.

The planning reports can be viewed at

New law to protect pets, prevent pollution

New laws are on the books to protect pets that are staying in kennels and to prevent coal ash pollution.

On August 6, Governor Pritzker signed a new law aimed at making sure pets are safe from fires while staying at a kennel. The new law requires that kennels either have to be staffed at all times or install a fire alarm or sprinkler system that notifies local fire departments. The legislation was inspired by a fire earlier this year at a Chicago-area kennel where 31 dogs were killed.

Also signed into law are new protections from pollution caused by coal ash. Senate Bill 9 creates new controls where coal ash sites can be located and how they are run, to prevent issues and pollution from these sites. The new law requires permits for both the operation and closure of CCR Surface Impoundments, otherwise known as coal ash disposal sites. It also creates fees for the operation and closure of the sites. The fees range from $15,000 to $75,000 depending on the closure status of the site.

If you have any additional thoughts or ideas, please visit my website at and use the form to send me an e-mail.

Brian Stewart

Want to stay up to date with your Senator?

Sign up for the District E-Newsletter below: