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At CSEDC forum, Sen. Dick Durbin discusses news from Washington and the need to invest in local infr

“Something happened that was miraculous in Washington just last week,” Sen. Dick Durbin said at a Chicago Southland Economic Development Corp. forum held Jan. 24 at the Sauk Village Municipal Center. “We passed a budget. How about that? It’s amazing. It’s been so bad out there that there’s even been a 16-day shutdown. I’m hoping this is the beginning of some efforts to do things on a bi-partisan basis. Now we can get something done.” The Senate also passed the Fair Marketplace Act, which would generate local tax revenue from purchases made online. “The Market Place Fairness Act will make sure that the sales tax is collected on Internet sales and come back to you in the locality and the states,” he said. Right now paying taxes is only voluntary and is often not paid at all. “Think about those brick and mortar businesses in every town in our state,” he added. “They need to have a level playing field.” The Senate passed the bill with good bi-partisan support, Durbin said. “Now we’ve sent it to the House, and we’re waiting and waiting and waiting in the hopes that this will get done and get done quickly.” Amazon has endorsed this bill, and if passed, is prepared to build warehouses and logistic points throughout Illinois, he added. Durbin also joined Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Congressman Bobby Rush and area leaders in supporting infrastructure investments that are critically important such as building the Illiana Expressway and South Suburban Airport. However, we’ve got a problem, but it’s a good problem, he said. Our cars are more fuel efficient. As a consequence, we burn less gasoline. This means fewer receipts in the Federal Highway Trust Fund and more and more money has to come out of the General Treasury. So now we’ve got to find a way to collect enough money to build and rebuild the infrastructure of America. “It’s a big challenge, but we have to do it,” Durbin said. Due to another commitment, the senator had to leave early, but other speakers quickly came forth including U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Sauk Village Mayor David Hanks and Brian Quigley of Dermody Properties on investment opportunities in Sauk Village; Mike Wojcik of the Horton Group speaking on Affordable Healthcare Act next steps; Rusty Winchel of NIU and the Chicago Southland Fiber Network and Ed Urban of Urban Communications discussing the broadband fiber project updates and the availability of low cost broadband along I-57; Cook County Director of Planning and Development Michael Jasso and Deputy Director of Economic Development Courtney Pogue, speaking on the Commit to Cook, CDBG and other bureau programs and the need to participate in the Planning for Progress survey at CSEDC Chairman Michael Scholefield was the highly entertaining master of ceremonies.

A related story, by Keith Benman of the Times, is available here.

Click here to view Dermody Property slides,  here for Horton slides, here for Sauk Village slides or here for Chicago Southland Fiber Network slides.

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