Illinois families and seniors living on a fixed income are struggling with rising energy costs. Take a look at your recent Ameren bill. I’m sure it has doubled, like mine and many others. These skyrocketing costs go far beyond just inflation. They are a direct result of bad policy decisions made at both the state and federal level.

At the state level, JB Pritzker and Katie Stuart backed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) which forces the closure of traditional power plants in Illinois and has directly contributed to the skyrocketing cost of energy we have all experienced. 

In her support of CEJA, Katie Stuart wrote: “We were proud to support the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. It preserves and creates good-paying jobs while protecting our climate, our health, our community, and our pocketbooks.”

None of what she promised in that bill has come true. In fact, it is just the opposite.

We need to support investing in cleaner and more sustainable energy, but it does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach. A state of  the art coal burning power plant  was blown up in East Alton and is now an empty lot. When they blew up the plant, they blew up hundreds of good paying union jobs that went with it. On the flip side, a similar plant just across the river, in Missouri remains open. The Illinois EPA mandates that all coal fired electric plants be closed by 2035. They call it ” Environmental Justice.” 

Now US Steel is closing and with it 1,000 good paying United Steelworkers jobs. The economic loss of US Steel will directly impact Granite City and have dire consequences for business and families for many in the 112th.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) insists that the Phillips 66 refinery in Wood River, which employs nearly 1,000 people with a payroll of $150 million and pays over $25 million in local property taxes, be neutral in its carbon footprint. Their future is in jeopardy because of Environmental Justice. Many in our district are employed by the refinery.

Let’s face it. Illinois is a tough place to do business in. It’s also a tough place to live. We have the second-highest property taxes in the nation, an agenda from the Illinois EPA that is dictated from the Chicago political machine and higher workers comp rates than all of our neighboring states. Energy prices are exorbitant and it does not look like we will get any long term solutions any time soon. We need common sense legislation that balances the need to protect the environment while preserving good paying union jobs and the companies that employ them.  We also need long term tax relief for families. Enough is enough.

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