GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Report    

March 16, 2018

This Week in Illinois 


The Senate was the only chamber in town this week.  No major business-related legislation advanced out of Senate Committees or on the Senate floor this week.  Both the House and Senate are out on their spring break for both the primary election and Easter holiday.  The House is scheduled to return April 9th, while the Senate is scheduled to return April 10th.  

Don't forget that the primary election is Tuesday, March 20th.  Check here to see if you are registered to vote and where your voting station is located.  

There are several major races occurring throughout the state.  If you live in any of the following districts, please keep our business-friendly and Chamber-endorsed lawmakers in mind:
  • IL 82nd House - Jim Durkin (R -Western Springs)
  • IL 93rd House - Norine Hammond (R -Macomb) 
  • IL 53rd House - Eddie Corrigan (R - Arlington Heights)
  • IL 89th House - Andrew Chesney (R - Freeport)
  • IL 107th House - Brian Wilhour (R - Beecher City)
  • IL 109th House - David Reis (R - Willow Hill)
  • IL 112th House - Dwight Kay (R - Glen Carbon) 
  • IL 115th House - Terri Bryant (R - Murphysboro) 
  • IL 5th House - Ken Dunkin (D - Chicago) 
  • IL 54th Senate - Jason Plummer (R - Edwardsville) 
GOVERNOR SIGNS HOSPITAL ASSESSMENT BILL
On Monday, Gov. Rauner was  joined with Illinois Healthcare and Family Services Director Felicia Norwood, legislators and the Illinois Health & Hospital Association to sign SB 1773 , the recently passed redesign of the Illinois hospital assessment.  SB 1573 also was signed.  The next step will be seeking federal approval of the new assessment regime.  This is an incredibly important measure that brings in billions of dollars for Medicaid services.

FRERICHS' ANALYSIS ON CHAMBER BILL INACCURATE
This week, State Treasurer Michael Frerichs held a press conference opposing a Chamber initiative that undo's several of the anti-business provisions of the state's revised unclaimed property statute. 

Unclaimed property laws, like Illinois' new law, require property that is owed to others and not returned to the owner to be turned over the state for safekeeping after an abandonment period.  Often times, much of the money turned over to the state is never claimed and it is often a source of significant revenue to the state.  In July 2017, the General Assembly overrode the governor's veto and  repeal the decades-old, business-friendly "Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act in favor of the less business friendly "Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act."  Jammed into the tax increase bill (SB 9), the new Revised Act contains many radical provisions that are harsh on the business community including, but not limited to (1) the elimination of the business-to-business exemption; (2) the modification of the statute of limitations; (3) the creation of a new contingent fee audit program; (4) the reduction in the general abandonment period from five years to three years; and (5) the expansion of the last known address rule.

While the Chamber's bill seeks to undo many of the above anti-business provisions of the unclaimed property law, Treasurer Frerichs'  press conference ironically honed in on our provision to prohibit contingency fee audits.   The Treasurer claims that our bill would "outlaw the use of auditors to ensure that businesses are properly reporting unclaimed property to the state."  Firstly, the legislation does not take away the treasurer's ability to use auditors and saying so is simply inaccurate.

Chamber initiative, SB 2901 (Althoff), allows all types of audits except for those funded on a contingency basis. That is those audits conducted by an outside firm where the firm is compensated based on how much revenue they can extract from businesses. Contingency firms typically are only compensated by the amount of revenue they identify creating a tremendous incentive that puts businesses at a disadvantage.

Secondly, the problems the Illinois Chamber is seeking to address were included as part of the massive tax increase pushed through the Legislature and vetoed by the governor in 2017. The purpose of the tax increase was a massive revenue grab and the provisions the treasurer defends are part of that grab.

When it comes to auditing businesses, the treasurer has options. He should use its office's existing resources more efficiently; hire outside auditors who are paid on a regular fee basis, not by how much revenue they can extract; or the Treasurer's Office could return the unclaimed property program to the successful administration of the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.

It is also worth mentioning that the Treasurer's remarks failed to address other positive provisions in the bill such as restoring the business to business exemption and eliminating the radical retroactive application of the law.  The Chamber will continue to educate members and lawmakers on the importance of our legislation and how the new law will impact every business in the state.  

APPEALS COURT VACATES OBAMA FIDUCIARY RULE 
On April 10, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) released the final version of its fiduciary rule, fundamentally changing how retirement investment assistance is provided to American workers and retirees. Following a year of intense debate about the major flaws rendering its proposed regulation unworkable, DOL issued its final rule without the benefit of any new public review and comment on its decisions. 

Yesterday, an appeals court today vacated the entire Obama administration "fiduciary" rule for brokers who offer retirement investing advice.   In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit overturned a district court ruling in favor of the fiduciary rule and vacated it.

IL CHAMBER "ALL IN FOR AMAZON"
As Amazon looks for its next location for its second headquarters (known as HQ2), the Illinois Chamber of Commerce has joined many voices across the city to say "We're All In for Amazon!" In a city filled with the best food, museums, parks, theaters and more, there's so much Amazon needs to know when it comes to visit in order to feel like a local.  Who better to tell Amazon what makes Chicago the best than Chicagoans? 
 
Join us  in building the "Ultimate Amazon Guide to Chicago" - filled with the top local attractions which highlight why Chicago should be the home of HQ2. We would love to ensure that your business is represented in the nominations so Chicagoans have an opportunity to vote for you. This is an opportunity to highlight your business on social media and earned media.
 
Nominations will be taken this week (March 12-16) on  Facebook Twitter , and  Instagram  and the All In for Amazon  website . Please use #chicagoisallin for posts.
 
Beginning March 19, Chicagoans will vote on the top recommendations to create the Ultimate Amazon Guide to Chicago!

IL BICENTENNIAL: BEER
Gov. Rauner and state lawmakers debuted the first cans of the state's official bicentennial craft beer this week. Hand of Fate Brewing Company out of Petersberg won the craft beer contest that reserved the rights to create the craft brew for the state's 200th birthday. 

The "1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale"  features Illinois-grown hops, yeast cultured in Chicago, and grains typically harvested in Illinois.  The beer  is now available at most retailers throughout the state.   There are more than 240 craft brewers in the state, and the state has seen a 350-percent increase in the number of breweries over the past five years.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: CHAMBER DAY 2018
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.

CHAMBER HOSTS INAUGURAL WOMEN'S CONFERENCE 
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.

Connect with the Chamber

  

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

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor