Legislative Update 10/16/2017
A group of ten recently completed a very successful trip to Washington, D.C. to meet on a variety of topics including Transportation/Infrastructure, Taxes, Health Care, and a few other items. Meetings were held with Senator Durbin, Senator Duckworth, Congressman Foster, Congressman Lipinski, Congressman Hultgren, and Congressman Kinzinger. In addition, a meeting with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce occurred as well. We thank our participants for taking time out of their schedules and to our elected officials for welcoming us & our views.
The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity announced the Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) received a grant from the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant awarded by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The $890,000 in federal funds will support export growth among Illinois small businesses. Since 2011, the State of Illinois has received a total of $4.8 million in STEP funding from the SBA. Illinois’ State Trade and Export Promotion (ISTEP) program provides small businesses with financial and technical assistance to increase exports. Eligible companies may participate in group trade missions, individual sales missions, receive assistance for product compliance, prepare international marketing campaigns and participate in general export education. For companies interested in expanding their global footprint, OTI coordinates participation at international trade shows for a variety of industries, from life sciences and medicine, to green technology, manufacturing and mining.
The ISTEP program is highly competitive. Applications are accepted throughout the year and are considered on a rolling basis. For more information about trade missions and other resources available through the State of Illinois’ Office of Trade and Investment, please visit www.exports.illinois.gov .
President Trump signed an executive order allowing the expansion of association health plans. Under the executive order, small businesses can offer insurance coverage to employees by joining with other small businesses in the same state (or multi-state metro area), or with other businesses in the same industry in states across the country, or through a trade association or professional group. By joining forces, this will allow the businesses to act like a large group plan, which will allow them to offer insurance across state lines. The impact will not be immediate, as agencies ( Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor ) are directed to issue new regulations or guidance that will go through a comment period. However, we will be watching this very closely to see what possibilities exist if/when this becomes available.
Tax Reform Tracker
Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives took the first step and passed this year’s budget resolution – the critical piece of legislation that unlocks a clear path to pass tax reform. There are a lot more steps to come, from finalizing a budget with the Senate to committee markups to passing tax reform and securing President Trump’s signature. This is one of the main topics we spoke about while in Washington, D.C. and will continue to keep an eye on.