March 9, 2018

This Week in Illinois 

The House was the only chamber in town this week. However, it was a relatively light week.  The House will return in April, whereas the Senate is in next week.    For more on what happened in Springfield this week, see below. 

This week, HB 2717 (Welch) passed favorably out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee 8-2-0. This bill would give private entities access to private financial information of employers.  

Currently, three times per year, local governments receive from the Illinois Department of Revenue the following information for every businesses in their boundaries:
  • business name;
  • business address;
  • the amount of sales tax distributed to the local government from sales at that business as part of the municipality's 1% share of the 6.25% state sales tax; and,
  • the amount of sales tax distributed to the local government from sales at that business as the result of any locally imposed sales tax administered by IDOR.
This financial information is provided to local governments pursuant to strict confidentiality requirements. The recipient must be the chief executive and he/she must sign a confidentiality agreement with IDOR. Additionally, local governments receive from IDOR on an annual basis a listing of all registered businesses located within the local government's boundaries. 

This list is available more frequently at the local government's request. Finally, local governments also receive on a monthly basis a listing of new businesses that have received a Certificate of Registration. It must be stated upfront that in our opinion, it is highly questionable local governments even need any of the financial information other than the geo-location listing of businesses located within the local government.

Special interest groups are attempting to leverage government to build their audit business by trying to convince lawmakers to authorize the local governments to turn over employers' confidential financial information to third-parties. They have played upon the frustration of local governments due to recent revenue cuts imposed on local governments by the state and sold them on a 'get rich quick scheme' if third-parties can obtain this info. The theory is that these third parties can identify businesses that have not been located correctly by IDOR and can identify businesses that have not paid the correct amount of tax. Nothing could be more deceptive.

First, they can check location through the zip code listing provided free of charge, by the Department of Revenue. They don't need an employer's financial information to do this. Second, if given the financial information, they will only have partial information and will be incented to make accusations without even a reasonable basis in fact. They will be incented to do so because they are paid on a contingency-fee basis meaning they only get paid for any revenue they generate for the municipality. Current agreements have included contingency fees of 40% or more and are for three years. Anything that is contingent-based pollutes the tax return process. It incents casting the widest possible net but doesn't incent responsible behavior.
Since this issue was first formally proposed and considered in 2016, where it lost twice in the Senate, our coalition has offered THREE different compromises. Absent adoption of one of the compromises we have offered, we urge members to reach out to their elected officials and respectfully request their "NO" vote on HB 2717 or any other legislation that allows local governments to receive the private and confidential financial information of employers. 

A few other bills to mention that either passed out of committee or on the House floor include:
  • HB 813 (Hoffman) passed out of House Labor & Commerce Committee 15-7-0.  This bill was amended to add all projects financed in whole or in part with revenues received under the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, the County Economic Development Project Area Property Tax Allocation Act, or the County Economic Development Project Area Tax Increment Allocation Act to the Prevailing Wage Act.  The Chamber's opposed.  
  • HB 5349 (Scherer) passed out of House Business Growth & Incentives Committee 3-2-0.  This bill requires the Department of Revenue, with the assistance with Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to examine the investment credit and the R&D credit to determine the impact of the credit.  Further requires the Department to prepare a report including specified information concerning the credits to the General Assembly and the Governor's Office.  
  • HB 5464 (Feigenholtz) passed out of the House Mental Health Committee 13-7-0.  This bill provides that an insurance policy provides unlimited benefits for inpatient and outpatient treatment of mental, emotional, nervous, or substance use disorders or conditions.  The Chamber's opposed.
  • HB 4743  (Ford) passed the House 66-11-0 .  Provides that an employer cannot pay a lesser wage to an African American or the same work as an employee that is not African American. 
  • HB 4710 (Scherer) passed out of Higher Education Committee.  Provides that the Board of Trustees of a public university or community college district in this State may not enter into an agreement or allow any person or group affiliated with the university or district to enter into an agreement with a credit card issuer to allow the credit card issuer to market credit cards to students.  The sponsor agreed to bring the bill back with an amendment.  The Chamber's opposed.  
  • HB 4872 (Lang) passed out of House Labor.  This bill provides that when a patient notifies a provider that the patient is seeking treatment for a work-related injury, the provider shall bill the employer or its designee directly (currently only bill employer directly).  The Chamber is opposed.  
  • HB 4595 (Fine) passed out of House Labor. This bill creates a state -run workers' compensation company. Same bill as the Governor vetoed last year (HB 2525). The Chamber's opposed.  
A pending Cook County Ordinance that would require commercial/industrial property receiving Cook County property tax incentives (i.e. class 6B, 6B SER, class 7a, 7b, 7c, class 8, Class 9) to pay prevailing wage on all their private construction projects. All contractors engaged also must have a USDOL approved apprenticeship program for each of the trades that they do work in.
If a property owner is found to be violating this, they would lose their tax incentive.

On March 1,  at the County Finance Committee some 60 opponents, including manufacturers,  mayors from South and South West Cook county who all understand how bad this proposal is for their communities. Despite all the opposition,  the sponsor Commissioner Tobolski is trying to move this forward and is asking the full board to vote on this on 03/14/18. 
While the Board agenda has not yet been posted, below is the link to the meeting agenda on the 14 th when it is posted. 

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute issued the results from their poll yesterday that asked voters solutions to the state's budget deficit.  Half (51 percent) of registered voters polled say the solution to the state's ~$1.5 billion deficit is to cut "waste and inefficiency in government."  One in ten (10 percent) say the solution is more revenue, whereas three in ten (29 percent) say it is a combination of both cuts and additional revenues.   

When voters were asked their opinion on various revenue proposals, three responses stuck out the most.  One, the taxing of services was opposed by 58% of voters (favored by 39%).  Two, a proposal to change the Illinois Constitution to allow a graduated income tax - that is, tax rates would be lower for lower-income taxpayers and higher for upperincome taxpayers polled 72% favorable (opposed by just 24%).  And three, a proposal to impose an extra 3 percent state tax on all income above $1 million a year polled 76% favorable (opposed by 21%).  

The poll touched on other revenue generators such as taxing retirement income, increasing the gasoline tax and expanding gambling.  Check out the entire poll here.  

The enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has allowed businesses large and small to reinvest in their workforces and communities. Check out the US Chamber's map and click on Illinois to find out who has done what with their savings thus far.

Primary and gubernatorial politics are shaping the policy debate in Springfield and will have lasting implications on the business community. On April 11th, join us in our first ever Chamber Day - an advocacy effort to let lawmakers know we must be heard in any major policy decision impacting Illinois employers.  This new event will combine our local chamber summit and the Chamber's traditional lobby day to better show our strength in numbers.  If you are ready, you can register TODAY by clicking here.

Illinois women are Second to No One. On March 27, 2018 join the Illinois Chamber of Commerce at our inaugural conference to harness the experiences, leadership, and aspirations of women in business, politics, and the nonprofit world to explore what it takes to put more cracks in that glass ceiling. Hear from inspiring women who've been through it and take away that energy to blaze your own path. This conference aims to empower our already Strong Women for a Stronger Illinois.  Registration & Agenda here.

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If you have questions about the Government Affairs Report, contact Tyler Diers at Do not reply to this email. 

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2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor