February 15, 2019
ISACo News and Views
This Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) weekly News and Views newsletter highlights introduced legislation, encourages counties to prepare for the 2020 decennial census, discusses legislation to increase the local share of income tax revenue, requests input from county officials about a change to IMRF investment return assumptions, provides an update on minimum wage legislation, invites county officials to an ISACo Open House, announces the launch of ISACo's social media platforms, looks at key upcoming dates on the legislative calendar and invites counties to join ISACo. Please visit our website (www.isacoil.org) for additional resources and information.
Legislative Spotlight
ISACo maintains an updated list of legislation of interest to counties. This list is organized by category and available within the legislative section of our website (linked here) .

In addition to this service, ISACo will frequently highlight bills of interest in the "Legislative Spotlight" section of our weekly newsletter. This week's "Legislative Spotlight" highlights the following bills:

House Joint Resolution 3 (Representative Ford, D-Chicago)
House Joint Resolution 3 (available via this link) would create the Fair and Equitable Assessment of Property Task Force to study issues of assessment equity and fairness and make recommendations that will ensure accountable and efficient delivery of uniform and transparent property valuations for property tax purposes.

House Bill 1449 (Representative Bennett, R-Pontiac)
House Bill 1449 (available via this link) would amend the Zoning Division of the Counties Code to provide that a county board may, by majority vote (rather than by ordinance) and without a further public hearing, deny, grant, or grant subject to conditions a proposed special use on receiving the report from the board of appeals (rather than the board may adopt a proposed special use on receiving the report or it may refer the proposal back to the board of appeals for further consideration). 

Senate Bill 81 (Senator Morrison, D-Deerfield)
Senate Bill 81 (available via this link) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that, for assessment years following the next general assessment after the effective date of the amendatory Act, no increase in assessment may exceed 20% per year. The bill specifies exceptions to the assessment increase restriction.

Senate Bill 124 (Senator McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods)
Senate Bill 124 (available via this link) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that upon establishing the compensation of board of review employees fixed by the county board, the county shall, at all times, ensure that each of the commissioners on the board of review receives equitable resources and staffing. 

Senate Bill 1236 (Senator Link, D-Gurnee)
Senate Bill 1236 (available via this link) would amend the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Article of the Illinois Pension Code to provide that a person who holds elective office as a member of a county board, notwithstanding whether he or she has not elected to participate in the Fund with respect to that office or has revoked his or her election to participate with respect to that office, shall be disqualified from receiving a retirement annuity until he or she no longer holds that elective office. The changes apply without regard to whether the person is in service on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act. 
ISACo Board Endorses 2020 Census Grant Program Act

At its February 8, 2019, meeting, the ISACo Board of Directors discussed and endorsed the 2020 Census Grant Program Act (Amendment 1 to HB 928 - Representative Thapedi, D-Chicago).

The amendment (available via this link) intends to make $33 million dollars available in the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2020 state budget. The money would be awarded on a competitive basis to qualified local governments and non-profit organizations engaged in obtaining accurate population counts for the 2020 federal census.

The impetus behind the bill is the need to ensure that Illinois conducts a thorough and accurate count of its population during the forthcoming federal decennial census. An accurate count that includes every Illinoisan is critical because census figures affect congressional representation, state redistricting, federal formula grant allocations, state funding to local governments, local programs and planning activities for the following 10 years.

Complete Count Commissions

On a related note, Illinois counties intending to facilitate an accurate count of their populations are encouraged to establish a Complete Count Commission. Complete Count Commissions consist of appointed members tasked with organizing the county's decennial census effort. The Commission would create a plan and oversee the execution of the plan in order to educate residents on the importance of participating in the census.

ISACo obtained an ordinance approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners to create a Complete Count Census Commission for Cook County. While this ordinance (available via this link as a Word document) was drafted specifically for Cook County, the language can be modified and customized by other counties seeking to establish a Complete Count Commission.
House Committee Advances LGDF Increase to Benefit Local Governments

On Wednesday, February 13, the House Cities and Villages Committee approved an ISACo-supported bill that would incrementally increase distributions from the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) to 10% of state income tax revenues by February 1, 2023. Counties and municipalities would receive additional state-shared revenue should the bill be enacted into law.

HB 158 (available via this link) is sponsored by Representative Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights). Representative DeLuca is a former mayor and understands the importance of LGDF revenue to local governments. ISACo thanks him for his strong support of state-shared local revenues.

Counties and municipalities last received a full 10% share of state income tax revenue prior to 2011. The current LGDF distribution received by counties and municipalities is 5.757% of total state income tax collections. ISACo SUPPORTS HB 158.
IMRF Investment Return Assumption Change Increases Employer Pension Costs

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) announced it will reduce its assumed investment return rate to 7.25% (previously 7.50%) at the recommendation of the Fund’s actuarial consultant. The initial announcement that IMRF was contemplating the policy change was made on November 19, 2018, in General Memorandum 679 (viewable via this link) . The IMRF Board effectuated the investment return reduction on December 14, 2018, and the reduced rate became effective on January 1, 2019.
A 25 basis point reduction in IMRF’s assumed investment return will result in a significant increase to employer contribution rates (i.e., approximately 1.4% of REGULAR and SLEP pension-eligible wages in your FY2020 budget) to offset the impact of a lower investment performance expectation. The amount of this increase will vary by employer. IMRF believes the reduction is needed to bolster the financial position of the Fund, which averaged a 92.9% funding ratio as of December 31, 2017, for all IMRF employers. 
ISACo is seeking feedback from counties to determine the financial impact of the reduced investment rate assumption and whether counties are concerned about IMRF’s policy change.
Please forward any information and/or concerns to jmccoy@isacoil.org
Minimum Wage Increase Approved by Both Chambers

On Thursday, February 14, the Illinois House approved legislation that would incrementally increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by January 1, 2025. The vote was 69-47-1. Senate Bill 1 ( available via this link ) was sponsored in the House by Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago).

Having previously passed the Senate, the bill will next be considered by Governor JB Pritzker. The legislation is a top priority of the Governor and he is expected to sign the bill into law.

In an effort to reduce the immediate impact of the wage increase to smaller employers, the bill provides employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees a credit against tax withheld beginning January 1, 2020. This credit would be reduced beginning January 1, 2021. Employers may claim the credit amount in effect on January 1, 2025, until December 31, 2026, and employers with no more than five employees may claim that credit until December 31, 2027.

Opponents of the legislation lobbied unsuccessfully for the bill to be amended to allow for a variable minimum wage that would better reflect the cost of living in different regions of the state.
You're Invited to ISACo's Open House!

ISACo will hold an open house for county officials and legislators on Wednesday, March 13 from 6 p.m - 8 p.m. The event will be at our office located at 828 South Second Street in Springfield.

Please join us to celebrate the launch of ISACo! It's a perfect opportunity to learn more about us. We request that you RSVP by Wednesday, March 5 so we can obtain an accurate count of attendees. RSVP's can be sent to bmetrow@isacoil.org.
Follow ISACo on Social Media

ISACo is getting social! We've established a presence on Facebook and Twitter to provide another tool for communication with Illinois county officials and other interested parties. Please follow our Facebook page and Twitter feed and join the conversation!


Looking Ahead...

The House and Senate are scheduled to be in session next week from February 19-21.

The Governor's Budget Address is February 20.

The deadline to move Senate bills out of Senate committees is March 22. The deadline to move House bills out of House committees is March 29.

The deadline to move House bills out of the House and Senate bills out of the Senate is April 12.

The deadline to move House bills out of Senate committees and Senate bills out of House committees is May 10.

The deadline to move House bills out of the Senate and Senate bills out of the House is May 24.

Both chambers are scheduled to adjourn on May 31.
The Key to ISACo's Success is YOU!
Is your county a member of ISACo? If not, why not?

ISACo is a statewide association whose mission is to empower county officials to provide excellent service to their residents.

ISACo member counties are comprised of forward-thinking public servants who recognize that the challenges confronting county governments require new and innovative ideas, collaborative solutions and collective advocacy at the state and federal levels of government.

Members of the association will benefit from education and training opportunities, peer-to-peer networking, shared resources and robust representation before policymakers at various levels of government. ISACo creates and connects county officials to these opportunities and successfully equips them to make counties ideal places to live, work and play.

If your county is interested in discussing membership in ISACo, please contact Executive Director Joe McCoy at (217) 679-3368 or jmccoy@isacoil.org. Thank you for your consideration.
News and Views is a service provided by ISACo for county officials and staff. Please feel welcome to share with interested parties. You can contact ISACo Executive Director Joe McCoy at jmccoy@isacoil.org or (217) 679-3368 if we can be of service. Thank you for your support of ISACo.