Illinois has a new claim to being number one. A new report shows Illinois has implemented the most-restrictive measures of any state in the country regarding COVID-19. The report comes from with website WalletHub. This new move to the top comes just two weeks after Illinois had claimed the number four spot. Today in our update will focus on what can happen over the next three days as the Illinois General Assembly meets in Springfield.
The Join Committee on Administrative Rules will decide tomorrow morning on the emergency provision that was brought up yesterday. After several discussions with our elected officials it sounds like this may actually be voted down and / or revised. Early jumps to assume that it meant a mandatory 150 shutdown are not the case as some media may have made it out to be.
Graduated Income Tax
Illinois’ top two Republicans, Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady and House Republican Leader, Jim Durkin, asserted in a joint press conference that the COVID-19 pandemic has so battered the state’s economy that now is no time to consider a tax hike of any kind, even one that Governor Pritzker says will hit only wealthy people. The push to not increase taxes in a time like this could resonate politically with many voters. However, the item has already been approved for the November ballot and chances of a removal seem slim.
Minimum Wage Delay
The Chamber had sent a letter back in March to our local Senators and Representatives calling on them to consider pausing the minimum wage increase on July 1 ($10) back to January 1 and then that increase ($11) back a full year effectively moving the $15 level from 2025 to 2026. We’re not sure that topics like this will surface during the special session, but if it does then this is an item we strongly believe will help our members that are struggling already. We’ll keep an eye on SB3988 and others that hopefully will be discussed.
Follow-up on Mail Ballots and Property Tax
It looks as if these two items will be brought up next week. As we all know, anyone can request a mail in ballot right now, but lawmakers will talk over having all registered voters being mailed an absentee ballot request this fall, shortening the process in which they first have to obtain the right form.
Additionally, they may move to make it a state law for waiving property tax interest on late payments as long as they are paid within 60 days. Some counties have already moved on similar action, but this would make it a statewide law.
Additional Items to Refocus On
In addition to passing a budget (or maybe two), in which a report surfaced today that suggested Illinois functioned for three years without a budget so why try to squeeze one in over three days, we’ll watch to see what comes up on Unemployment Insurance, Workers’ Comp, Paid Sick Leave, and others. Most likely there will be no movement on a Chicago casino, ethics reform, and the deadline has long passed for adding language to the ballot regarding fair maps.
A new proposal that has emerged on the radar is changing state law to allow TIF districts to utilize money as grants to those small businesses within that are struggling.
Some additional talks about sales tax deferment will likely be tossed around too.
Main Street Lending Program
The Federal Reserve is still preparing to lend directly to middle-market businesses with a loan of $500,000 at minimum. Final details have not been released to date and it seems as if it keeps getting tougher to figure out how it will be implemented. A recent report from the Congressional oversight committee describes how even before any money from the Main Street program has been lent, the terms of the program already have evolved. The changes include increasing the size of loans, eliminating a requirement that companies have to attest they need money “due to the exigent circumstances presented by” the coronavirus, and modifying a requirement that companies make “reasonable efforts” to maintain payroll and retain employees during the term of a loan. Instead, they will be required to make “commercially reasonable efforts” to do so.
Possible PPP Adjustments
Senate talks are underway and we’re hearing several potential changes including allowing businesses that already have a loan under PPP to increase their loan amounts if they have suffered a significant revenue loss. Another item discussed is changing the percent breakdown to a 50/50 split on payroll vs. non-payroll costs.
Finally, we look forward to having you join us tomorrow for our next Virtual Conference as we learn about the Joliet Junior College Apprenticeship program. Register to receive the details to login here: http://jolietchamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-webinar-may-20-filling-the-knowledge-and-skills-gap-5902 . We’ve got an exciting program on Friday as well with Chamber member Rightsize Facility on “Reshaping the Workplace” and next week we look to programs on “Returning to Work Legal Issues” and a possible recap of the special Springfield session (if it’s wrapped up).
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry