Today’s big news is that President Trump has ordered his negotiating team to halt talks with Speaker Pelosi until after the November election. We take a look as well at state revenues from gambling and cannabis. Also, don’t forget to join us tomorrow for the “State of the County” address at 11 AM.
*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital
Virtual Conference: State of the County address with Will County Executive Denise Winfrey
Please join the Joliet Chamber for an update about Will County including:
- The wrap up of the largest capital campaign in the county’s history
- The County’s response to the COVID crisis – the quick alteration of delivery to ensure county services were maintained for our residents
- Balanced budget without a tax increase which will ensure a stable county government
Join us this Wednesday, October 7th at 11:00 a.m. Register here: http://jolietchamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/2020-webinar-october-7th-state-of-the-county-with-will-county-executive-denise-winfrey-5960
President Trump Says No More Talks
President Trump said that he has instructed his top aides to stop negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on future coronavirus stimulus legislation until after the November election.
Trump accused Pelosi in a series of tweets of “not negotiating in good faith” and seeking “bailouts” for states poorly run by Democratic officials.
“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump tweeted.
Senate Unemployment Insurance Working Group urges swift action from Illinois congressional delegation
In response to the growing number of unemployment claims in the state of Illinois, the bipartisan Senate Unemployment Insurance Working Group, Chaired by Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), urged Congress to provide funding necessary to stabilize states’ unemployment insurance trust funds and provide additional relief for unemployed workers in a letter to the Illinois congressional delegation Monday.
“These are unprecedented times, and none of us ever imagined more than one million people would lose their jobs from March to May,” Holmes said. “Our constituents’ worries about losing their homes are heartbreaking – providing for their families and educating their children, all while being threatened by a deadly pandemic. No amount of preparation could have been in place for this; we desperately need the assistance of our federal government.”
“The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been profound. Businesses have closed, and many people have lost their jobs in Illinois alone,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs and a member of the working group. “We need additional assistance from the federal government to help ensure these hardworking people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own can continue to get the help they need to make ends meet until the economy recovers more.”
As of September 2020, The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has reported an 11.3% unemployment rate, a $1.8 billion deficit, and a projected trust fund deficit by the end of 2020 of $4 billion. The deficit could reach between $8 billion and $11 billion by the end of 2023.
“In recent months, our state and nation have seen an unprecedented number of unemployment claims. More than we have ever seen in our lifetime,” said State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris). “Our state’s unemployment insurance trust fund is quickly being depleted. If we want to be able to continue to pay these critically important benefits, some kind of federal assistance will be needed.”
Gambling Revenue Down
Revenues flowing into state coffers from legalized gambling operations plummeted during the fiscal year that ended June 30 as casinos, racetracks and other video gambling venues were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many people also slowed down on buying lottery tickets, according to a new report by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, or CoGFA, which said total state tax revenues generated through legalized gambling fell 13.4 percent, or about $200 million, compared to the previous fiscal year.
“This decline is in large part due to the suspension of video gaming and casino operations between March 16 and June 30, which thereby prevented any revenues from being generated from these sources during this time period,” the report stated. “Although this suspension has been since lifted, gaming has only returned on a limited basis and it remains unclear how long these limitations will last. Even with the resumption of wagering, it is expected that the ramifications of the pandemic on public confidence will persist for some time.”
The report noted that casinos suffered the biggest declines, with adjusted gross receipts falling by 30 percent, or more than $400 million, compared to the previous year. That included a $119 million drop in receipts at the state’s largest casino, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, but all other casinos reported significant declines as well.
Since 2012, according to the report, adjusted gross receipts for all casinos in the state have fallen 42.5 percent, or nearly $700 million, while the combined total of casino and video gambling revenues has grown 32 percent.
Revenues from sports gambling, which was legalized in 2019 legislation, were virtually nonexistent for fiscal year 2020, according to the report, as the NCAA basketball tournament was canceled, and the NBA playoffs and Major League Baseball season were delayed.
“Because of this, very little tax revenues ($12,224 to be exact) were reported to be received from the sports wagering tax in FY 2020,” according to the report.
Despite the rapid growth of video gambling in recent years, the report noted that the Illinois Lottery continues to be the largest source of state gambling revenues, and it has also suffered setbacks since the onset of the pandemic.
Preliminary numbers indicate lottery ticket sales fell 5.8 percent, or $172.5 million, during the fiscal year.
Cannabis Sales Up
The recreational marijuana business keeps growing in Illinois, with the state’s adult use cannabis dispensaries generating nearly $68 million in sales during September.
The new sales record reported Monday by the state, tops August sales by nearly $4 million. It includes more than 1.4 million items sold, also a record since Illinois legalized recreational marijuana sales in January.
Nearly $18 million, or about a fourth of the sales, went to out-of-state residents, according to the monthly report by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which licenses marijuana dispensaries in the state.
When Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in January, it allowed the 55 existing medical cannabis dispensaries to begin adult use cannabis sales at a second location. Recreational sales have nearly doubled since then, despite the economic disruption of the pandemic. There are 67 licensed recreational dispensaries in Illinois, according to the state.
Child Care Restoration Grants, Round 2
Over $100 million in additional Child Care Restoration Grant help will soon be made available to Illinois providers who are struggling with financial losses in the COVID pandemic. Through October 15, interested child care programs can submit applications for this state-and-federal help; eligibility details and further information can be found at https://www.ilgateways.com/financial-opportunities/restoration-grants
This second round of restoration-grant funding follows on the heels of a first round that resulted in awards totaling more than $156 million for nearly 4,700 childcare providers in 95 Illinois counties.
Illinois Department of Labor Launches Back to Business Illinois
The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) has announced the launch of Back to Business Illinois, a free, voluntary service to connect small businesses of 250 employees or fewer with consultants who will help them evaluate and address workplace safety and health issues related to COVID-19. The consultants will create a plan for small businesses that promotes a safe, healthy, and productive environment for workers and customers.
Back to Business Illinois health and safety consultants in IDOL’s Workplace Safety and Health Consultation Division will help local small businesses audit their physical operation, identify best practices, and find ways to implement them efficiently.
This is a non-punitive program, and no fines or citations are associated with it. It is designed entirely as a benefit to empower Illinois small businesses to continue operating safely.
Click here to learn more: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/WorkSafe/Pages/default.aspx
Reminder – $220 Million in Business Interruption Grants Now Available
Applications for the second round of the state of Illinois’ Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program are now available and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.
The second round of BIG aims to provide relief for all types of small businesses, but with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industry and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.
Click here to learn more: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/C19DisadvantagedBusGrants.aspx
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
All Illinois small businesses can still apply for the EIDL. The SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury because of COVID-19. While the EIDL Advance is no longer available, businesses can still apply for the EIDL loan.
• These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. The first payment is deferred for one year.
• EIDL applications that have already been submitted continue to be processed.
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry