Next week, the Illinois House will resume committee hearings via a virtual format. Notable hearings include House Infrastructure, House Revenue and House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics & IT committee. The Senate will also be holding a number of committee hearings next week, also via a virtual format. Click on the respective hyperlink for the full House and Senate hearings list. Watch all the hearings online at www.ilga.gov. The Senate has not officially canceled their return to Springfield next week but we fully expect them to do so. This will not have any impact on the Senate's virtual committee hearings.
Senate Bill Filing Deadline
Friday, at 4:30 pm was the bill filing deadline for all upper chamber legislation. The Senate deadline, already postponed by a week, will be met by a flurry of bill introductions. This week over 1,000 senate bills have already been filed. Each of these bills have been tracked by the Chamber's Council Directors and Government Affairs team. Next week we will provide analysis on the most critical bills for Members' interests.
Speaker Welch Floats New Progressive Tax Effort
Earlier this week, Speaker of the House Emanuel "Chris" Welch proposed a new graduated tax effort. While a progressive tax effort was defeated in November, Speaker Welch proposed tying any new revenue generated to paying off Illinois pension debt. At this time, neither Governor Pritzker or Senate President Harmon have echoed support for Speaker Welch's progressive tax proposal.
Just like the defeated 2020 effort, any change to the tax code that implements a graduated structure would require a constitutional amendment approved by voters. The earliest opportunity for such an amendment would be November of 2022.
The Illinois Chamber participated in the first US Chamber Common Grounds event which brings together solutions-focused, bi-partisan federal legislators. The first episode in the series featured Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13) and Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-6) discussing the needs of the transportation sector as well as other critical subjects like COVID-19 liability for businesses.
Illinois Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Clark Kaericher posed the following question:
"Discussions are ongoing about another round of COVID-19 relief funding. The Illinois Chamber is a strong advocate for business liability protections and direct aid to small business. Can you tell us how those discussions are progressing?"
Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13) responded with the following:
"We started marking up the next stimulus package, but unfortunately, I believe the leadership of the majority has decided to run on a partisan basis. That is not to say that every member of the Majority believes that’s the best path, and if Seth and I sat at the table we’d probably have it done in a matter of a couple hours. We would find common ground. One of the provisions that I think is most critical right now out of the five bills that Seth and I have worked and passed in a bi-partisan manner is liability reform. Ten years from now we have got to ensure that we don’t have a trial attorney from maybe Madison County, Illinois…which I represent, and has been considered for decades one of the judicial hellholes of America, we have to make sure that trial attorney doesn’t go to places like the University Illinois and file a class action suit because somebody may have been affected by COVID-19 at the time. Liability protections are needed now more than ever to bring back economy that Seth and I, and everyone on this call wants."
The full event can be viewed here
IL Chamber President & CEO Todd Maisch Talks Bi-Partisanship, Infrastructure and Immigration
In an op-ed published in the Daily Herald, Illinois Chamber President & CEO Todd Maisch wrote about the need for bi-partisan legislative solutions in Washington. To foster bi-partisan cooperation, the areas of immigration and infrastructure should be addressed. In part, Maisch writes the following:
"Equally important to America's economy is the foundation of transportation, energy, water and communications infrastructure our country is built upon. Despite its importance, we have let this infrastructure begin to crumble and fall behind our economic competitors in the world. Many states, including Illinois, have shown they can muster bipartisan support to invest in our economic future by investing in our critical infrastructure. Washington should follow their bipartisan lead and pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill."
Read the full Daily Herald piece here.
New Legislation to Watch:
HB 2524 (Hoffman) This bill provides that no railroad operating within this State on any main line or any other line shall operate, or permit to be operated, any train that exceeds 8,500 feet in length. Contains a statement of legislative purpose, and defines "main line", "railroad", "train", and "train length". The Chamber opposes this legislation.
HB3271 (Manley) This bill provides that it is a crime to engage in telephonic solicitation of a person who is 65 years of age or older. Defines "telephonic solicitation".
HB 3530 (Ammons) This bill creates the Illinois Employee Security Act. Establishes a framework for employee discipline and discharge. Prohibits the unjust discharge of an employee. Requires employers to utilize progressive discipline measures. Limits the use of electronic monitoring. Provides for severance pay. Directs the Department of Employment Security to adopt rules and administer the Act. Provides statutory remedies for wrongfully discharged employees and authorizes the recovery of damages. Creates the Wrongful Discharge Enforcement Fund as a special fund in the State treasury. The Chamber opposes this legislation.
SB 490 (Stoller) This bill amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates an income tax deduction for an amount of up to $50,000 per tax year contributed to a small business asset purchase account and all interest earned on such accounts during the tax year. Provides that a "small business asset purchase account" means an account established by a taxpayer, the proceeds of which are used to purchase property used primarily in Illinois for which a federal income tax deduction is claimed under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code. Provides an addition modification for amounts withdrawn from a small business asset purchase account that are not used for qualified purchases. Amends the Uniform Penalty and Interest Act to establish a penalty for improper use of moneys in a small business asset purchase account. Illinois Chamber Tax Institute Initiative.
SB 491 (Stoller) This bill amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Increases the research and development credit by providing that the increase in research and development activities shall be based on an increase over 50% of the average of the qualifying expenditures for each year in the base period (instead of 100% of the average of the qualifying expenditures for each year in the base period). Provides that the research and development credit applies on a permanent basis. Illinois Chamber Tax Institute Initiative.
SB 674 (Villivalam) Creates the Phase Out Corporate Giveaways Interstate Compact. Enters into the compact, which may be entered into by any state and the District of Columbia, in which each member state agrees not to offer or provide any company-specific tax incentive or company-specific grant to any entity for a corporate headquarters, manufacturing facility, office space, or other real estate development located in any other member state as an inducement for the corporate headquarters, manufacturing facility, office space, or other real estate development to relocate to the offering member state.