It is hard to believe that July is wrapping up and also hard to believe that we’re moving into August without clear direction on a new federal funding bill. It has been months since the last one and expirations take place today and others not too long after. See below for the most recent news. Our Chamber golf outing is on Monday, so this message will be back on Tuesday. Enjoy your weekend!
Today’s Update on the Federal Bill Negotiations
A Thursday night meeting between Mark Meadows, Steve Mnuchin, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer was fruitless and a deal is still a long shot.
The latest is that Meadows, the White House chief of staff, made an offer to extend enhanced unemployment at $600 per week for four months as a stand-alone bill. This is a new offer from the White House, and further than Republicans have gone thus far. It is an extension of current law and something the GOP has railed against. Another report has the $600 being extended for 7 days and coupled an extension of the eviction protection as well.
Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer rejected the offer and countered with extending enhanced unemployment insurance at the same rate ($600 per week) through the first quarter of 2021. Meadows and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin rejected that.
State and local government funding didn’t go much better. Democrats signaled they would need another $15 billion on top of the roughly $900 billion they requested — this time, to help public transportation systems. Schumer discussed repealing SALT caps, which Republicans oppose.
Finally, talks moved to the second round of PPP or “P4” and that quickly turned into a talk about OSHA regulations. It sounds like they could find agreement on PPP, but not on anything else, so here we sit. Remember, the unemployment bump of $600 and eviction protection expires today.
The downstate attorney challenging aspects of Governor Pritzker’s COVID-19 response said he would halt the progress of his “dozen or so” lawsuits if legislators return to Springfield. At the heart of Thomas DeVore’s many cases in several Illinois counties is the question of whether an Illinois governor is constitutionally and legally authorized to exercise unilateral control over the management of a disaster, such as the public health emergency posed by the novel coronavirus.
DeVore has said that while lawmakers are barred by the U.S. constitution from delegating their powers to another branch of government indefinitely, the legislative body’s lack of action suggests an intention to flout those requirements.
As the head of the executive branch, Pritzker “should not have to” consult with Illinoisans about how best to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — that is the Legislature’s job, he added.
In an open letter DeVore sent to the General Assembly’s four legislative leaders Wednesday afternoon, the attorney wrote he is “imploring” lawmakers to determine rules for schools and businesses so both can safely resume operations without harming public health.
The Illinois Small Business Administration district office has a few upcoming offerings that may be of interest to you and/or your business.
Monday, Aug. 3
Understanding the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Pre-Award Process | Hosted the Illinois SBDC at College of DuPage | 10 a.m. | Register here
Tuesday, Aug. 4
Global Day | How small businesses like yours can take incremental steps to build your direct-to-consumer e-commerce businesses | 12 p.m. | Register here
Wednesday, Aug. 5
Global Day 2 | Build Your Post-COVID global e-commerce resource road-map | 12 p.m. | Register here
Thursday, August 6
Kick-start Your Small Business | 10:30 a.m. CT | Register here
Step Up Your Side Hustle | 12:30 p.m. CT | Register here
Starting Your Business in Illinois | Hosted by the Illinois SBDC at Bradley University | 10 a.m. | Register here
GSA Removing the Mystery | Hosted the Illinois SBDC at College of DuPage | 1 p.m. | Register here
Friday, Aug. 7
Fridays with Fergie | Sign up for a free one-on-one small business consultation with SBA Illinois Deputy District Director Mark Ferguson | Register here
Assistance for Homeowners and Renters
Help is on the way on the mortgage and rent relief front. The latter is expected to come in the form of a $150 million program through the Illinois Housing Development Authority with $5,000 grants to provide emergency rental assistance to Illinois tenants who are unable to pay their rent, according to Governor Pritzker.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) is expected to reach approximately 30,000 renters who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The program will launch in August and run through the end of the year.
To address housing instability due to COVID-19, renters who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will be prioritized in the grants process, Pritzker added. Eligible tenants must already carry an unpaid rent balance from March through present day and certify that the reason they were unable to pay rent was due to a COVID-19 related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. The assistance will be paid directly to a property owner or landlord on behalf of the tenant and as a condition of accepting the assistance landlords must agree not to evict the tenant for the duration of the ERA. Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.
IHDA is also launching a separate $150 million program for eligible Illinois homeowners with grants of up to $15,000 to provide support with mortgage payments. The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMA) is expected to assist approximately 10,000 eligible homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage. The program is also expected to launch in August 2020 and provide assistance through the end of the year.
Building upon efforts to mitigate housing instability, homeowners who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will also be prioritized in the grants process. Homeowners’ income prior to the pandemic cannot exceed 120 percent of the area median income (AMI). Therefore, only homeowners with mortgage arrearages, or in forbearance, on or after March 2020 through present day may be eligible to apply. Eligible homeowners must be able to certify that the reason they could not pay their mortgage in full was due to a COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. The assistance will be paid directly to the mortgagor’s loan servicer on behalf of the homeowner. Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.
More information about applying for the available funding through the state is available at www.ihda.org.
Illinois Department of Labor Survey on Reopening
The Illinois Department of Labor – Workplace Safety and Health Consultation Division has created a brief survey that you can take to express the challenges your small business is facing as you reopen or prepare to reopen during these unprecedented times. Survey responses will help guide IDOL as they determine what tools and resources businesses need across Illinois.
Small Business Recovery Loses Steam Amid ‘Second Wave’ Concerns, New Poll Shows
The monthly Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll by the U.S. Chamber and MetLife finds that while small businesses are pressing onward, concern remains high for a resurgence of the coronavirus. Click here to view the full report: https://www.uschamber.com/report/july-2020-small-business-coronavirus-impact-poll
Among other insights, the new report finds that:
86% of small businesses report that they are either fully or partially reopened
65% of small businesses are concerned about having to close their business, or stay closed, if there is a second wave of COVID-19
48% of small businesses say it could be anywhere from three months to a year before they anticipate rehiring most of their employees
64% of PPP loan recipients are concerned about meeting the criteria necessary to receive loan forgiveness
Child Care Provider Grants
The Governor and the Illinois General Assembly has directed at least $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (CURE) Fund to support the economic health of child care providers. As part of CURE, the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) Program is specifically designed to support businesses who endure lost revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. We know our state’s recovery relies on the economic survival of our regulated child care system.
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is charged to develop the grant program for licensed child care. The Child Care Restoration Grants will be administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA).
Child Care Restoration Grants application is now available!
To apply for the Child Care Restoration Grants, you will need to login to the Gateways Registry and enter your Director Portal. Access the application by clicking on the Child Care Restoration Grants Application box and then click on “Apply Now” to begin your application. For help navigating through the application, view the Steps to Apply.
If you haven’t already, follow these steps to gain Director Portal access.
- Go to https://registry.ilgateways.com/. Under Be a Member, click Director Portal.
- Click Authorized Program Contact Access Request Form to download the form.
- Complete the Authorized Program Contact Access Request Form and mail, fax, or email it. Wait a couple of days, then log into your Registry Dashboard and there will be an option for your Director Portal.
*Applications will be available through August 14th, 2020.
Next Wednesday, the 5th of August at 10:00 AM, we will be conducting our next Virtual Conference with Sean Noble of ReadyNation with the topic of “Childcare: Increasingly vital to our workforce & economy.” Here is the link to register for this session: http://jolietchamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-webinar-august-5th-child-care-increasingly-vital-to-our-workforce-economy-5934
Finally, here again is an extremely short survey on a topic that can have some scrambling at the end of the year. The State of Illinois has mandated sexual harassment training and we are interested in hearing how many organizations have complied so far and for those that have not, what the interest would be in a group training. We look forward to your responses: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6F782PV
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry