February 22, 2019

This Week in Illinois 

The House returned to Springfield Wednesday, February 19 through Thursday, February 21.
The House is also in session next week, Tuesday, February 26, through Thursday, February 28. The Senate is not in session next week.

Governor Pritzker gave his first Budget Address Wednesday, February 20. He identified a $3.2 billion structural deficit for FY 2020, which begins July 1. To address this deficit, the governor recommended several steps.
  1. Stretching out the length of time the state takes to fully fund its pension system, coupled with a graduated income tax in future years to make larger payments into the system.
  2. Issuing $1.5 billion in general obligation bonds to pay down the bill backlog and reduce the state's interest rates and lowering the interest rate in the Prompt Payment Act.
  3. Raising new revenues: 
    • $17 million from legalizing and taxing sports betting;
    • $170 million from license fees for state legal cannabis sales;
    • $390 million from a managed care assessment;
    • $10 million from e-cigarette taxes;
    • $55 million from increasing taxes on cigarettes;
    • $89 million from taxing video gaming in a graduated way;
    • $19 million from a plastic bag tax;
    • $75 million from reducing the retailers sales tax discount;
    • $6 million from reducing public scholarships to private schools;
    • $94 million from decoupling from the Federal Repatriation Credit; and
    • $175 million from incentivizing late tax payments.
All new revenue measures would require legislation. 

Here is his Budget Address.
Here is his  Operating Budget Book .
Here are other  Budget Docs .

The capital portion of the budget indicates IDOT projects a $1.8 billion annual program this year.  That is a historic low for the program and the budget does note that this amount is inadequate. The budget also notes that deferred maintenance at the Capital Development Board, which handles capital for state property, and higher education institutions totals $14.5 billion. 
The Capital Budget shows that the state's NHS system miles and non-NHS marked routes are already below the federal benchmarks required by MAP 21. The system is projected to fall further behind next year without new funding. If the state remains below the federal benchmark in 10 years, it jeopardizes 60% of its federal funds, which make up 90% of the road progr am.

The governor is proposing that Illinois enact a managed care organization assessment to help cover the costs of the state's Medicaid program. A program similar to the per-member per-month assessment charged to organizations in California or Ohio could help generate significant revenues to support the costs of healthcare. Alternatively, the General Assembly currently has a proposal containing a health insurer claims assessment which could be looked at as well. The program would be structured to generate approximately $390 million in new revenues for deposit into the Healthcare Provider Relief Fund to cover a portion of the state's Medicaid costs, while also generating millions more in matching federal revenues to provide additional funds for the overall program.  The Chamber opposes this proposal. 
On Tuesday, February 19, the governor signed  SB 1  into law at the Governor's Mansion. This new bill will implement a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage. The first increase of $1.00 per hour is set to go into effect on January 1, 2020.  The Chamber opposed this measure. 

Enhanced tax relief for small businesses and other pro-business reforms may still mitigate the damage done by this legislation. The Chamber calls on the legislature and the governor to recognize the true cost of this legislation and commit themselves to pass subsequent legislation to begin to undo its harm.

For now, members are encouraged to reach out to members of the House and Senate who voted NO and thank them for standing up for small businesses. You can find more information  here .

The Senate Capital Subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations II and the Senate Transportation Committees are planning subject matter hearings in several communities around Illinois. They are likely to be well attended and Subcommittee staff has asked us to warn attendees that not everyone will get to testify at every hearing. Senate Transportation Chairman Sandoval also asked those who plan to testify to be prepared to discuss revenue, so that is a question that you will want to have prepared an answer for if you plan to testify.  Anyone wishing to give their local perspective at one of the below can contact Rebecca Mason.
  • Monday, March 4, in Edwardsville
  • Monday, March 18, in Decatur
  • Monday, April 8, in Peoria
  • Monday, April 22, in Elgin
  • And Tuesday, April 16, in Chicago
The House Environment Committee held a subject matter hearing on the Sterigenics facility and ethylene oxide emissions. This hearing comes off the heels of a motion filed by the state to close down Sterigencis. There are several bills dealing with the regulation of ethylene oxide. Sterigenics is a fully permitted facility in full compliance with emissions standards. This shutdown represents a terrible precedent for business in Illinois.

The Chamber now has our 2019 legislative agenda filed into bill format. You can see a complete list of what we are supporting this year  

SB 1349  (Weaver) passed the Senate Revenue Committee on the agreed bill list. This bill amends the Uniform Penalty and Interest Act to automatically rescind underpayment penalties.  This is an initiative of the Chamber's Tax Institute.  

HB 252  (Guzzardi)   passed the House Labor Committee on a partisan roll call. It  amends th e Illinois Human Rights Act to change the definition of 'employer'   to include any person employing one (instead of 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. The Chamber opposes this measure.  
HB 834  (Moeller) passed out of the House Labor Committee today on a partisan roll call. This bill  amends the Equal Pay Act to prohibit an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history  (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer, with some exceptions. Limits defenses. Provides for penalties and injunctive relief. The Chamber opposes this measure.   
HJR 18 (Thapedi) passed unanimously out of the House Internal Trade and Commerce Committee this week. This bill extends the Illinois Trade Policy Task Force for another year. The Chamber supports this effort.

HB 345  (Lilly) passed out of the House Health Care Availability & Accessibility Committee this week 5-1-0. This bill would increase the minimum purchasing age for tobacco products 21. The Chamber opposed.    

Chamber Day
Registration for Illinois Chamber Day on March 20th is now open. 

Second Annual Women in Business Conference
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second Women in Business conference on March 15th, 2019 at Pinstripes in Oak Brook, IL. The event will bring together business leaders from across the state to encourage women to invest in themselves, become courageous leaders, and be a force in their careers. Learn more here.

Play, Relax, and Network with your Peers!
Join your fellow Chicagoland IT professionals, C3, and Mitel for an evening of old-fashioned competitive fun! Unwind after a long day at work and join our friends at C3 on March 7th from 4:30 - 7:00 at the Chicago Athletic Association  - Game Room to network with peers, enjoy great food and drinks, play some classic games, and learn how to simplify your business communications.  Register here .
Executive's Club - Business Technology Forum
On Feb. 26, the Executives Club of Chicago is holding a Business Technology Forum.  The event centers on disruptive technology and its impact on business.  The Club is offering comped tickets to Chamber members (usually $50 for non-members). For an agenda and list of panelists including reps from AWS and the Chicago Bears,  click here
For more information, the agenda, sponsorship information, visit the conference website.

Members are encouraged to check our calendar for events and conferences throughout the year.  

Connect with the Chamber


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

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor