Rep. David Friess’ Week in Review – 3/18/22


The purpose of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is to care for kids in Illinois and they have continually fallen short in that purpose. Governor Pritzker chooses to point fingers at previous administrations for past failures, but one thing is certain, the ball is now squarely in his court and children are dying on his watch. In 2021 alone, 356 children in DCFS care were hospitalized longer than necessary. In the last decade, 1122 children died either after DCFS intervention or in the direct care of DCFS. DCFS Director Marc Smith has been held in contempt seven times so far this year for failing to put children under the state’s care in proper placements. Smith has held the position for three years, and yes, he is still Director. Illinois children are depending on Governor Pritzker to come through on his promises. Governor Pritzker must fix DCFS, demand accountability of his failing appointed Director, and fulfill his promise to keep vulnerable children safe.

Violent Crime Still on the Rise

In the first quarter of 2022, Illinois’ violent crime rates were once again higher than the U.S. as a whole. This indicates increasing levels of crimes such as carjacking, sexual assaults, and armed robberies. A pattern of increasing levels of crime has followed the enactment of the so-called “SAFE-T Act” of January 2021 by Illinois Democrats. House Republicans have repeatedly called for the repeal of the SAFE-T law, which hurts law enforcement and will put dangerous criminals back on the streets, and we have been joined in this call by many Illinois law enforcement leaders and police officers.    

Republicans Call for Tax Relief

According to the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the last 12 months has increased 7.9%. Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food were the largest contributors over the past year. The cost of eating at home has risen 8.6% since last year. It costs nearly 7% more to eat at a restaurant, clothing costs 6.6% more, owning a home, renting a home, and paying for a hotel is up 4.7% over the last year. And used cars are up 41.2% compared to new cars at 12.4%.

At a Capitol press conference Wednesday, Rep. Amy Elik said, “I stand here today just as frustrated as every person in Illinois and every family that is outraged with the rising cost of gasoline and many other items we purchase on a day-to-day basis. Illinoisans are paying more and more while the State government continues to tax everything politicians can get their hands on. Immediate relief can start today. Inflation is at an all-time high, now is the time for taxes to be reduced.”

Illinois Lags in Jobs 

The federal calculation of unemployment is based upon persons actively seeking work as a percentage of the total workforce. Based on current numbers for January 2022, ten states – including the neighboring state of Indiana – bega 2022 with the lowest unemployment rates since authorities began counting this figure. 

In the Hoosier State, unemployment was 2.4%. Numbers less than 3% or 4% are generally taken to signal “full employment,” with everybody who wants a job being able to get one.

The ten states with record-low unemployment – Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia – are states with a large energy-production infrastructure, an economic climate seen as friendly to job creation, or both. These factors do not apply to Illinois, which in January 2022 had an unemployment rate of 5.0%. While Illinois is also generating new jobs, it is doing so at a much slower rate than in Indiana, Georgia, and other states enjoying economic boom conditions.