Public Policy Newsletter
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
The Chicagoland Chamber has strengthened its government relations team by hiring two effective veteran lobbyists, John Doerrer and Mary Kay Minaghan, at the City of Chicago and Cook County levels of government. In addition, and earlier this year, the Chamber hired former State Senate Republican Leader Matt Murphy to lobby the state legislature and the Rauner administration. The Chicagoland Chamber continues to ensure that advocacy remains a cornerstone of our efforts to improve Chicagoland’s economic climate on behalf of our members and the broader business community. Read more about our newest lobbyists in this media release.
The value of Chamber membership has never been more clear, and there has never been a more urgent time than now to have an effective lobbying team at every level of government.
City of Chicago and Cook County Highlights:
On Monday, July 24, Michael L. Reever, acting President & CEO of the Chamber, testified in support of Mayor Emanuel’s North Branch Corridor framework and implementation plan. Read more, here.
On Friday, July 28, a Cook County judge is expected to rule on the future of the delayed ‘sweetened beverage tax.’ The tax was passed last year to pay for a Cook County budget that was imbalanced in large part because of raises the County could not afford. Read more background in the Chamber’s most recent President’s note, via our Chamber @Work Newsletter.
The Chicago City Council continues to introduce a myriad of anti-business ordinances to be considered. A few “highlights”:
- Scheduling Mandate – This proposed ordinance would mandate how you are allowed to schedule your employees, including penalty pay for unexpected shift changes, and even who you are allowed to assign hours to first. Never has an ordinance attempted to “run” your business at the most basic and granular level. You may read the ordinance, here.
- “Geolocation” and “Internet Privacy Act” – These two proposed ordinances do nothing to protect consumer privacy, and everything to enrich trial lawyers by opening up your business to frivolous lawsuits for even honest mistakes. On Tuesday, July 18, the Chamber submitted testimony to the City’s Joint Committee on Finance and Technology. You may read the testimony, here. In addition, get a “primer” on the harms of the proposed ordinances by listening to a radio interview from earlier this year on similar legislation proposed in Springfield, here.
- Pharmaceutical Pricing Mandate – This proposed ordinance would regulate the pricing of pharmaceuticals, both generic and brand name. In addition, it would set up an arbitrary pricing review board to influence and control pricing. While this may not directly impact your business, it is a “slippery slope” and another attempt by the City Council to control the operations of an industry. One day, the same thing could be done to a variety of industries. Read the proposed ordinance, here.
In Brief: State of Illinois Budget
The spending authority for the Illinois budget is provided in Senate Bill 6 (SB6) and Senate Bill 42 (SB42), the budget implementation bill. The fiscal year 2018 budget (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018) includes spending of approximately $37.6 billion (SB6). The “auto-pilot” budget for the recently completed fiscal year (FY17) will result in state spending of approximately $39 billion; and an increase in the backlog of bills to over $14.3 billion.
In an effort to bring the budget for FY18 into balance, the General Assembly passed SB9, a revenue package that permanently increases the flat personal income tax rate from 3.75% to 4.95% and the corporate rate from 5.25% to 7% beginning July 1, 2017.
SB9 also creates a five-year extension of the Research & Development tax credit retroactive to January 1, 2016. SB9 imposes a “means test” on both the standard exemption and the real estate property tax credit, with eligibility limits of $250,000 (individual) and $500,000 (joint). It is expected to lift state revenues to $36.3 billion in FY18.
To address the backlog of bills, the General Assembly authorized the borrowing of up to $6 billion. However, it is unclear from where the state would get the approximately $600 million in annual payments to pay off those bonds.
The Chicagoland Chamber Welcomes Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia
On Thursday, July 20, the Chamber welcomed Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia to speak to our members about her office and its new municipal ID program. Learn more about her visit, here.