August 14, 2020

This Week in Illinois

Gov. Pritzker Issues New Penalties for Business Failure to Enforce Mask Wearing
Gov. Pritzker has issued an emergency rule through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) that imposes potential criminal penalties for businesses that fail to enforce his mandatory face mask order.
The Illinois Chamber has endorsed mask wearing and helped raise public awareness of the importance of proper masking for public health.  However, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and other business groups urged the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to reject the rule at its meeting this past Tuesday. JCAR is a bipartisan legislative oversight committee that is authorized to conduct systematic reviews of administrative rules promulgated by State agencies. JCAR is composed of 12 legislators who are appointed by the legislative leadership, with the membership apportioned equally between the two houses and the two political parties. 
Our concerns communicated to JCAR members were:1) the rule is a one size fits all. The rule should clearly differentiate between business facilities that regularly interact with the public and those that don't; 2) the penalties for failure to wear a mask should not be applied to the business. Business compliance issues should be limited to what business can control and are required to comply with such as signage, public gathering lists, etc. Individuals need to be accountable for wearing their masks.
JCAR member Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) made the motion to stop the implementation of the emergency rule which required 8 votes. The vote was 6-5 along party lines, with one Democratic legislator absent from the meeting.
The rule sets forth a process designed to encourage voluntary compliance before a business is ordered to comply or is subject to penalties. The rules provide multiple opportunities for compliance before any penalty is issued and allow for a penalty that is significantly less severe than the penalties (like license revocation or closure) that are currently available. Individuals are not subject to any penalty under the rule. It is unclear as to whether the rule applies only for businesses and organization "open to the public".
Requirements and restrictions for Illinois employers:
  • Any individual over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering is required to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain at least a six-foot social distance.
  • Any business, service, facility, or organization shall take reasonable steps to require employees, customers, and other individuals on the premises to wear a face covering.
  • Gatherings of more than 50 people or more than 50% of a building's maximum capacity are prohibited unless exempted by law or Executive Order.
Enforcement framework for non-compliance with face covering requirements:
 IDPH, all local boards of health, health authorities and officers, police officers, and sheriffs are authorized to enforce the emergency rule as follows:
Enforcement against a business, service, facility, or organization open to the public
  • First, the establishment will be given a written notice of non-compliance by an enforcing entity and a reasonable opportunity to come into compliance.
  • Second, the establishment may be ordered to have some or all the people on the premises disperse if it does not voluntarily comply in a reasonable time after receiving a verbal or written notice.
  • Third, any establishment that refuses to comply with a written order to disperse will be subject to the penalties set forth in Section 8.1 of the Department of Public Health Act, which could include a Class A Misdemeanor. For an establishment, the only possible penalty is a fine of between $75 and $2500 for refusal to voluntarily comply after an opportunity to come into compliance.
  • Enforcing entities are required to take into consideration reasonable efforts taken by the establishment to ensure patrons and employees wear a face covering while they are at the establishment and unable to maintain a social distance of at least six feet.
  • The rule makes clear in numerous places that no individual may be subject to the penalties set forth under Section 8.1 of the Act.
Illinois Chamber Releases Independent Analysis of Progressive Tax Hike: Findings include...
An independent analysis conducted by Berkeley Research Group in conjunction with Ariel R. Belasen, Professor at SIUE, shows that passage of the progressive income tax on the November ballot would have devastating consequences to Illinois' economy, consumers and jobs. If passed, the Tax Hike Amendment would shrink Illinois' economy by nearly $2 billion, increase consumer costs by $332 million, lead to out-migration that would reduce household spending, and result in disproportionately more job losses in hospitals, restaurants and individual and family services that tend to employ more women and minorities.


The authors of the study were granted complete independence to provide an objective analysis of the effects of the proposed Income Tax Hike Amendment.


"This independent study concludes what many of us already knew: this is the worst possible time for a $3.4 billion tax hike on Illinois families and businesses," said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. "The pandemic has already crushed small business owners, manufacturers and farmers, and this independent study proves that the Tax Hike Amendment would be the last straw for many more."


"Our report shows that the graduated income tax would be a devastating hit to Illinois' already struggling economy. And, job losses would disproportionately affect women and minorities," said Ariel R. Belasen, Ph.D., Professor at SIUE and independent study co-author.


The key findings of the independent analysis include:

  • Job losses would disproportionately affect women and minorities: Women and minorities are likely to be disproportionately affected by the job losses because three of the four sectors of the economy that the economic model indicates will be hardest hit by the tax increase. Hospitals, Restaurants, and Individual and Family Services - tend to employ relatively more workers from these demographic groups.
    • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
    • Hospitals disproportionally employ women (74.9% of jobs in sector vs. 47% of all jobs across all sectors);
    • Restaurants disproportionally employ Hispanic or Latino workers (26.8% vs. 17.6% of all jobs across all sectors); and
    • The Individual and Family Services sector disproportionately employs women (78.3%) and African Americans (20.7% vs. 12.3% of all jobs across all sectors).
  • Reduction in GDP: Approval of the proposed Constitutional Amendment will cause up to a $1.8billion reduction in the income of Illinois residents annually, as measured by thestate's gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Higher corporate taxes will be passed on to consumers: The corporate tax rate will increase from 9.5% to 10.49% (an increase of10%), the second highest in the country. Studies show that some portion of revenues arising from an increase in the corporate tax rate ($332 million) would be passed on to suppliers and customers, increasing prices on goods and services, and potentially suppressing worker wages.
  • Out-migration of thousands of high-income households: Some of the job losses will result from reduced spending on food and services arising from an increase in the rate of out-migration by Illinois residents seeking to escape the relatively heavy tax burden that the state imposes on its residents. Based on the most-recent empirical studies by economists, we estimate that increased out-migration will lead to a reduction in household spending by taxpayers in the affected income brackets of up to 0.8%.
  • No material income tax relief: The average annual tax relief per filer in the lower income brackets is small, and might be less than a single-family meal at a fast food restaurant for many filers.

For a copy of the Analysis go to:

Chamber Sun Times  op-ed on progressive tax
New York's Democratic governor has figured out that "soaking the rich" is a losing proposition for all taxpayers.
Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch penned an op-ed in yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times included below discussing why Gov. Pritzker should learn from New York's mistakes. The Chamber will continue fighting for our small businesses in the media and here in Springfield in every way possible. You can read the op-ed 
Gov. Cuomo knows a "fair tax" would hurt New York. Why can't Gov. Pritzker figure it out? here.

Illinois Chamber Annual Meeting Sponsorships
The Illinois Chamber's Annual Meeting set for September 24th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm central time will be virtual this year. The agenda includes an hour devoted to an "All Council Networking Time" and a discussion of Economic Development in Distressed Communities" featuring Charles Evans, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Timothy Crane, president of Wintrust Financial Corp. Susana Meza, Vice-President of Community Affairs of Wintrust will be the program's moderator.

Sponsorships: Contact Laurie Silvey at or 217-306-1832
Bronze Sponsor - $2500
Benefits include:
* Fifteen virtual seats for your company at the Annual Meeting
* Acknowledgement on signage, website, and invite for the event
* ΒΌ page ad in the Illinois Business Leader September issue
* Add promotional materials on digital platform available for one year online
Partner Sponsor - $1500
Benefits include:
* Ten virtual seats for your company at the Annual Meeting
* Company logo on website
* Listing in Event program and conference banners

Connect with the Chamber


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

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2020 Government Affairs Report | Clark Kaericher, Editor