Rezin rejects flood relief measure for lack of statewide coverage
Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) saw almost $150 million in flood damage in her district four years ago but still could not support Senate Bill 403.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), amends the Illinois Income Tax Act credit to $750 for residents who declared a major disaster in the July 2017. Bush specifically noted that Lake, McHenry, Cook and Kane counties were the four districts Gov. Bruce Rauner declared major disaster areas. If passed, the bill would take immediate effect and add anywhere from $1 million to $3 million to the state budget.
“I read on your bill that this only encompasses certain counties, but as we all know, flooding happens everywhere,” Rezin said. “We have 500-year floods every other year, so my question would be, if you are going to do this for your particular area, is this something that you will look at and add an amendment to include all of our counties that may deal with this catastrophic flooding?”
Bush said her district was worse off now than Rezin's district was in 2013.
“We don’t specifically name counties, but we do give it a time frame for when the flooding occurred,” Bush said. “So let’s be honest: It really does just include those counties, and these are conversations we should have. You said you had $150 million in damage, so you did qualify for FEMA; we did not.”
Rezin, the assistant Republican floor leader, corrected Bush.
“Despite the $150 million in damage, that did not rise to the qualifying level for the FEMA grants,” Rezin said. “The very rural, low-income part of my district did not qualify for FEMA. I understand where you are coming from in trying to help your district, and we all try to do that in these catastrophes and devastations that go through our districts.”
Rezin told Bush that she would be willing to work on an amended version of the bill.
“I would much prefer to work on a comprehensive bill for the entire state that affects all of our districts, so we have the same type of protection you are offering your constituents,” Rezin said.
SB403 passed the Senate in 53-2 vote Oct. 25 and was sent to the House.