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September 25, 2020

This Week in Illinois 

As vote by mail begins here in Illinois, the Chamber ramping up our aggressive fight against the deceptive and destructive progressive income tax amendment and its devastating effects on Illinois job creators. 

We encourage you to add your business or organization's name to our coalition to stop the progressive income tax. You can learn more at our website at: or add your name at:

Now is the time to come together and say NO to the progressive income tax amendment that will close businesses and raise taxes on working Illinois families.

Please consider supporting our campaign with your name by adding your business to our coalition. 

Annual Luncheon
The Illinois Chamber celebrated its first virtual annual luncheon on Thursday with opening remarks from Illinois Market at Commerce Bank CEO and Chamber Board Chair Brent Eichelberger. 

He was followed by President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Charles Evans and Chairman of the Chicago Cubs Tom Ricketts' keynote speeches on economic development in distressed communities.

Ricketts also joined Vice President of Wintrust Timothy S. Crane in a panel discussion moderated by 
Wintrust Vice President of Community Affairs and Chamber International Business Council Co-Chair Susana Mendoza.

Thank you to our Gold Sponsor State Farm, Silver Sponsors UPS, and Bronze Sponsors the Inland Real Estate Group, the Illinois Hospital Association, Allstate, Union Pacific, First Mid Bank & Trust, Boeing, Northwestern Medicine, FGMK, Facebook and all of our partner sponsors who made this event possible.  We look forward to returning to an in-person event next year.

Illinois Opens Applications for $220 Million in Business Interruption Grants
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) this week announced the latest in a series of grants made available for small businesses in Illinois facing the impacts of COVID-19. A second round of the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program, opened this week, will direct $220 million to provide relief for all types of small businesses, but with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) and heavily distressed industries and regions - representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or are operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.

The second wave of funds includes the following provisions to ensure a wide distribution of funds geographically and across business type:
  • Heavily Impacted Industries - $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, and more.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Areas - $70 million set aside for DIAs, defined by zip codes identified by the General Assembly for communities that are most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19.  A map of DIAs is shown below.
  • Downstate Communities - DCEO has committed to ensuring that at least half of all remaining funds, totaling more than $100 million, are reserved for businesses in downstate and rural communities of Illinois.
  • Priority BusinessesApart from the $60 million for heavily impacted industries, applications from the following types of businesses will be prioritized for review for remaining funds:  businesses directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments, independently owned retail, tourism- and hospitality-related industries including accommodations, and more.
  • Agriculture - $5 million of the remainder of funds will be set aside for livestock production disruptions. Applications will be available in the coming weeks from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
  • Grants and Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan recipients - As authorized by the General Assembly, DCEO will offer grants for businesses that have incurred eligible costs to offset loans received under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program.  This round of loan forgiveness and grants will go to businesses that have received loans or remain on the wait list and the program will sunset going forward as DCEO and its partners focus on making BIG awards.
You can apply for a grant here:

Business Leader Magazine 
The September 2020 issue of Business Leader magazine is now available online. This issue includes a FOCUS on the Final Case against the Progressive Income Tax, the Bailout CEJA bill and a Legislative Update, FEATURES on Bristol Myers Squibb, the Annual Meeting, and Amazon, and a MEMBER SPOTLIGHT on UI Health. And much more. Read it here

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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