September 11, 2018
Dear Members of the Authority:
Before we proceed with today’s business of the Authority, we should take a moment to reflect upon and remember the tragic events that took place seventeen years ago today.
We are pleased to present on the agenda the issuance of federally tax-exempt conduit bonds that total $723 million for various projects. We welcome three of the Authority’s regular borrowers, Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare, Roosevelt University and Washington and Jane Smith Community – Orland Park d/b/a Smith Crossing. Their projects bring direct and material benefits to the people of Illinois through the financing of hospitals, rehab and skilled nursing services and higher education facilities. We are excited to have a new borrower, TMCF I, LLC, a controlled affiliate of the Memory Care Foundation, a 501(c)(3) multi-state non-profit which will own and operate memory care facilities. The issuance of bonds for large and complex conduit transactions, such as these, is the core expertise of the Authority’s team.
As most of our members recall, we are approaching November 2nd, the one-year anniversary of the introduction in the United States House of Representatives of federal tax legislation that threatened to eliminate the Authority’s primary tool: federally tax-exempt conduit transactions. We did not learn until December 15, 2017 that Congress would save the conduit financing vehicle. Nevertheless, Congress eliminated advance refundings which has dramatically reduced the number and volume of bond financings, including conduit bonds, nationally.
In response, we began an effort that has culminated in the Authority’s Transformation Initiative, a multi-faceted effort to ensure that the Authority can continue to fulfill its public mission – encouraging economic development and improving quality of life – with tools in addition to conduit bond financings. Our Transformation Initiative is based upon the four guiding considerations found in the Authority’s 2013-2015 Strategic Plan (attached). In the Spring Session of the Illinois General Assembly, we introduced two bills, SB 2773 and SB 43 in connection with the Transformation Initiative. These bills were passed by bipartisan margins and signed into law by Governor Rauner as described in the attached August 17th Executive Director Message. Our Transformation Initiative was the cornerstone of the Authority’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget adopted in June 2018. This month, we are pleased to present a status report on the Authority’s collective efforts in furtherance of the Transformation Initiative, Tab 6 under Agenda Item VII. This process has moved quickly and we have accomplished much – but there is still more to do.
As always, I look forward to continuing to work with you in support of jobs and financing capital expansion projects throughout our state.
Christopher B. Meister