Happy Friday! It's a holiday weekend and I hope everyone has exciting plans. After successfully dodging a couple of hurricanes last week, my weekend promises to be a bit more low-key.
Last week the Senate Transportation Committee held a second virtual meeting to discuss diversity in road construction. This hearing focused on minority hiring and DBE within IDOT projects. IDOT testified that its DBE program participation mark reached 17.07%, a two-percentage point increase from the prior year and the largest achieved in six years. Senator Castro applauded IDOT for their efforts.
In related news, IDOT announced it will join a coalition with 9 other state transportation agencies to create a diversity panel to develop "fairness and inclusion" at work sites and to create more contracting opportunities for women and minority owned businesses.
COGFA Report Studies Impact on Motor Fuel Revenues
Underwhelming motor fuel receipts has been an ongoing topic in this newsletter. To recap, on July 1st of 2019 the provisions of the capital bill became effective which included a doubling of the motor fuel tax. Policy analysts then expected to see slightly less than a doubling of revenue from the year prior (a small amount of tax avoidance, like driving to neighboring states for fuel, was to be expected). Between August of 2019 and March of 2020, prior to the onset of COVID-19, this is exactly what happened as revenues increased 95.4%. Since the COVID pandemic though, revenues have cratered relative to forecasts, reaching a low point of 36.1% in May. Motor fuel revenues from May-July totaled $654 million, only 55% higher than the previous year despite a doubling of the tax.
Don't forget that motor fuel tax isn't the only tax that you pay at the pump, a sales tax is also charged. Lost sales tax revenue during this time amounts to a $35 million loss to the state's general revenue fund.
Department of Labor Change for Public Works Contractors
The following message was sent from Jason Keller, Assistant Director at the Illinois Department of Labor. Its relevant for all public works contractors in Illinois:
The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding contractors who perform construction work on public works projects in Illinois that they must begin filing their certified payroll with the department after September 1st. Public works projects include any construction work funded in whole, or in part, by state or local public tax dollars.
In 2018, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation to make changes to the certified payroll portion of the Prevailing Wage Act. When Governor Pritzker took office in 2019, SB 203 was signed into law (PA 100-1177). Prior to the law, certified payrolls were submitted to the local or state public body funding the project. Under the new law, the Illinois Department of Labor is charged with developing and maintaining an online portal where all prevailing wage construction contractors file their certified payrolls with the department, otherwise known as Certified Transcript of Payroll portal.
The Illinois Department of Labor recognizes that there have been bumps in the road in implementing the new law. That being said, our staff has worked nights and weekends to streamline the portal for contractors. In addition, we have held multiple trainings on this new law, and we have and will continue to answer all questions that come into our department. We are here to help contractors come into compliance with the law.