We hope that your week is starting out well. It looks like this week will be full of discussions on what can potentially be agreed on in the next funding phase, as well as what will happen here in Illinois once our legislators can return to Springfield.
With that said, please keep updating us on what is going on inside your organization by taking our COVID-19 Impact survey. This survey will only take a few minutes of your time. If you have not yet taken the survey, please visit here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2X3QYL7
Unfortunately, the newest announcement today is the peak of the virus is expected to occur in mid-June now. That means no changes through May 28 for our orders as of right now. However, the Governor has reported that three of the four regions are moving towards a phase advancement as soon as possible (May 29) if all trends continue. Governor Pritzker released one other set of favorable data. The statewide rate of transmission, known as R0, pronounced R naught, has dropped to 1.0 from 3.6 earlier in the pandemic. That means each infected person, on average, is passing along the virus to only one other person, and that the total number of current cases holding even. Also, in tests conducted over the weekend, only 10 percent came back positive, the lowest level yet.
The downside to this news is we are here in that 4th region, the northeast, which is the one not trending to a phase advancement on May 29 because of the continuance of 20% + positive test rates.
Property taxes are a hot topic of discussion on the state level. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as we know that property taxes are collected locally at the county level and are a collection of multiple taxing bodies on the local level. Will the state get involved with waiving penalties and pushing collection dates back or leave it to the local decision makers?
A new piece of legislation that we’re keeping our eye on, HB 5769, creates the Personal Protective Equipment Responsibility Act requiring an employer designated as an essential employer under a disaster proclamation issued pursuant to the Illinois Emergency Management Act or an executive order issued pursuant to the disaster proclamation to provide personal protective equipment to independent contractors and to all employees during the duration of the disaster proclamation or executive order. It also creates a new cause of action allowing the recovery of damages, including punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.
CARES 2 Review
The conversation of new and continuing stimulus payments to individuals has picked up some new entrants. Here is a review of the current proposals:
- The ABC Act that would give every American $2,000 a month for the duration of the crisis, and $1,000 a month for an entire year after the crisis ends.
- The Emergency Money for the People Act would give a $2,000 monthly payment to individuals making less than $130,000 a year, or $4,000 a month for couples making less than $260,000 annually.
- Another calls for an additional one-time $1,500 payment and possible $1,000 quarterly payments based on certain “triggers,” including high unemployment.
- The Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act would send monthly $2,000 checks to Americans who make less than $120,000 a year, up until three months after the pandemic ends. Married couples would receive $4,000, plus another $2,000 for each child.
Aid to state and local governments, rent and mortgage relief, business and paycheck funding, and testing, tracing, and treatment all still remain as large components of the bill as well. Infrastructure talk has been scaled down to focus mainly on expansion of broadband service to rural, low-income and other vulnerable communities. Talk is picking back up on a 15 percent increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps. Lastly, the Postal Service is back in the spotlight as Democrats have vowed to include rescue funding for the postal service in their next bill. They’re aiming for at least $25 billion in direct aid. An additional $4 billion would be set aside to specifically help create an all mail balloting system in the event the November elections would need to move to this necessity.
When the original Paycheck Protection Program rolled out, one of the main selling points was the opportunity to have the loan forgiven. The promise was the government would give direction (by April 26) on how exactly that would be achieved and we are now weeks behind on that final decision. It seems as if the program continues to change on a weekly basis, which has been both good and bad.
A recent report noted that Congress required the SBA to give guidance to lenders about underserved and rural markets, but the agency failed to do so. As a result, borrowers including rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have received the loans as intended.
It also found the SBA issued rules that required borrowers to use 75% of the funding on payroll costs to receive full forgiveness of their loan, even though the Cares Act passed by Congress didn’t mandate any specific amount be dedicated for payroll expenses.
Another piece of the program required businesses to maintain their full-time equivalent number or at least bring the number back up by June 30th. The big assumption here was likely that staffing levels would return to normal quicker and we would all go back to a somewhat normal economy. I believe we can all agree that this is not going to be the case now or in the future, especially here in Illinois.
It is going to take time to reopen, restock inventory, reorder supplies, and bring back employees (those that are interested in returning). It will take longer for the overall economy to return. So now a number of business owners are faced with the challenge of remaining in business through this waiting period. You are all probably contemplating your staffing needs and whether jobs will be there to return to. This is where the PPP is working backwards. It is much appreciated that funds have been made available to keep employees paid, but having an expectation that owners maintain the same number of employees is missing the mark when the fear exists of keeping the doors open.
The PPP becomes a loan if business owners are unable to meet the program requirements. For those suggesting to just let this happen rather than bringing employees back to just collect a paycheck ignores the fact that now just doesn’t make sense as a time to be taking on (more)debt.
Finally, a recent Internal Revenue Service ruling confirmed that businesses taking the money can’t also deduct the cost of wages or other expenses if they are paid for with PPP money. It would be viewed as double-dipping, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
We’re keeping in contact with our congressional representatives to let them know that if the government wants to really help out businesses, then let’s make another adjustment under the PPP to allow the funds to be used on necessary expenses and drop the 75% mandate to use towards payroll.
COMPLIMENTARY WEBCAST shared by the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
Not Approved For A PPP Loan? What Now?
Thursday, May 14 @ 1PM CT
Your company was not approved for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, but the bills are still due. There may still be some opportunities available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help keep your company on its feet.
Join labor and employment attorney Kelly Haab-Tallitsch and corporate and banking attorney Andrew Podgorny on Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 1PM CT as they discuss:
- Employee Retention Tax Credit
- Payroll Tax Deferral
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans
- Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA
We hope you can join us for this timely webcast! Register here:
The governor is publicly rolling out a new virtual job fair system on Wednesday and is requesting your assistance in getting some company information into the system as soon as possible, with the deadline for making the initial rollout announcement being tomorrow by noon. An overview of this new application is provided in the attached file.
What is this?
IL Dept. or Commerce & Economic Opportunity – Office of Employment and Training / Illinois workNet is launching a new, online website platform created to attract and remotely connect employers seeking qualified applicants with job seekers looking for long-term employment.
Where is this located?
The Illinois workNet® platform is a proven technology that connects workforce and economic allies with seamless and real-time access to workforce development resources aimed at individuals, employers, and workforce/education partners throughout the state to innovate, collaborate, expand and grow.
Who is this for?
Employers looking for a free and easy way to advertise and connect remotely with qualified job applicants and schedule a personalized web-based presentation/job fair event to connect and fill job openings. Job Seekers looking for free and easy way to remotely learn, interact directly with employer human resource coordinators and apply for jobs available right now.
*Check out the attached PDF for more information as well
Finally, make sure you join us on Wednesday up for our Virtual Conference: COVID-19: A Report From Inside Our Local Hospitals. Please sign up here: http://jolietchamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-webinar-may-13-covid-19-report-from-inside-our-local-hospitals-5900
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry