Chamber Members:

In addition to the Super Bowl itself yesterday, Verizon also hosted a concert for small business aid and has opened a truly short window for applications. See information below for your opportunity to secure a grant in the amount of $10,000. Today’s good news is that newly reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. fell below 100,000 for the first time this year, and hospitalizations continued to decline, as vaccination rollouts picked up speed. State cases were below 2,000 as well.

Additionally, today’s update has information on impeachment rules, new stimulus aid boosted from jobs report, details on a child stimulus proposal, and a reminder on a needed form for unemployment insurance benefits.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Verizon Big Concert for Small Business
Verizon is committing $10 million to provide grants to small businesses through LISC. As small business owners across the country continue to face uncertainty amid the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this grant opportunity will support recovery and aid in survival through the pandemic and beyond. Additionally, Verizon is making a multi-year commitment to bring one million small businesses forward by 2030 with resources to help them thrive in the digital economy.

The application period is now open for $10,000 small business grants funded by Verizon. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, February 9th at 11:59PM ET. Apply here:

Grants are for eligible small businesses across the US, particularly in historically underserved communities hit hard by the pandemic. Eligible expenses for the grant include:

  • Paying rent and utilities
  • Meeting payroll
  • Paying outstanding debt to vendors
  • Upgrading technology infrastructure
  • Other immediate operational costs

All applicants are encouraged to review the grant information and FAQ prior to submitting an application.

Stimulus Push Aided by Jobs Report
President Biden is an unusual position — the weaker the economy is perceived to be, the stronger the political case for his COVID-19 stimulus package. The administration seized on a mediocre jobs report Friday to argue that the full $1.9 trillion package Biden has proposed is essential.

Biden outlined the kind of bleak picture most presidents would normally suppress as he spoke in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday. “It’s very clear our economy is still in trouble,” he said. He went on to outline “enormous pain” in the country, encompassing not just elevated unemployment levels and 15 million people behind on rent payments, but also rising rates of suicide and domestic abuse.

Politically speaking, the president’s calculation is clear. He will presumably not be blamed for current economic conditions since he has just taken office, and painting the darkest possible picture explains the need for extensive action.

Children Stimulus Package
Senior Democrats on Monday will unveil legislation to provide $3,000 per child to tens of millions of American families, aiming to make a major dent in child poverty as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief package.

Under the proposal, the Internal Revenue Service would provide $3,600 over the course of the year per child under the age of 6, as well as $3,000 per child of ages 6 to 17. The size of the benefit would diminish for Americans earning more than $75,000 per year, as well as for couples jointly earning more than $150,000 per year. The payments would be sent monthly beginning in July, a delay intended to give the IRS time to prepare for the massive new initiative.

Minimum Wage Proposal Likely to be Dropped
President Biden, in an interview broadcast Friday night, said he does not expect his economic relief package to include an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15, but vowed to push for it as a separate piece of legislation.

Some Democrats have pushed to include the federal minimum wage increase in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. While Biden has backed that effort, the measure would need support from all 50 Democrats in the Senate to pass, and it does not appear to have the votes, raising the likelihood it will be dropped from the final version. “I put it in, but I don’t think it’s going to survive,” Biden told CBS News, citing Senate rules on reconciliation.

“I am prepared, as president of the United States on a separate negotiation on minimum wage, to work my way up from what it is now. … Look, no one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage. And if you’re making less than $15 an hour, you’re living below the poverty wage,” he added.

Biden said he supports raising the minimum wage gradually until it reaches $15 per hour, citing studies that show it would benefit the entire economy. “My guess is it will not be in it. But I do think that we should have a minimum wage, stand by itself, $15 an hour,” Biden said.

A separate stand-alone bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 has the support of 37 additional senators. The increase is a major priority among progressives. Several Democratic senators have declined to say if they specifically support increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a crucial vote, has explicitly said he opposes it.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which was approved in 2007 and set in place two years later. Supporters of raising the wage argue the current level is not enough to make ends meet and that an increase is long overdue to buoy workers and the economy as a whole.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis on raising the minimum wage also found that it would dramatically decrease poverty, with a $15 minimum lifting 1.3 million people above the poverty line. Opponents argue a minimum wage increase could have unintended negative consequences, including burdening small businesses, reducing employment, and pushing companies toward automation.

Trump Impeachment Trial Details
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are nearing a deal on the framework for former President Trump’s second impeachment trial. Under the deal, which hasn’t yet been finalized, the trial could wrap up in roughly a week if no witnesses are called. “We are finalizing a resolution that’s been agreed to by all parties … that will ensure a fair, honest, bipartisan Senate impeachment trial,” Schumer said at a press conference in New York, adding that additional details would be released Monday.

The Senate would start the trial Tuesday with up to four hours of debate and a vote over its constitutionality, according to a person familiar with the talks. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) forced a similar vote late last month, which failed but underscored that there aren’t the votes to convict Trump. Republicans have been pledging to revive the issue during the trial. Opening arguments wouldn’t start until Wednesday at noon, with both the House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team getting 16 hours to present their case.

In order to comply with a request from one of Trump’s attorneys the trial would not be conducted on Saturday, but would reconvene on Sunday afternoon. Typically impeachment trials run every day of the week besides Sunday but one of Trump’s attorneys, David Schoen, asked Senate leadership to agree to pause the trial from 5:24 p.m. on Friday until Sunday in order to observe the Jewish Sabbath.

The Senate could also hold a debate and vote on whether or not to formally call witnesses after both sides present their case if House impeachment managers request it. Senators are also expected to get time to ask questions. In previous trials, the question-and-answer session has lasted two days. “If the managers decide they want witnesses there will be a vote on that. That’s what they requested. They weren’t sure they wanted witnesses. They wanted to preserve the option,” Schumer said.

The time for both sides to present their case is truncated from the 24 hours given during both Trump’s first trial and the Clinton impeachment trial. The impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers were given three days to present their case last year.

The burgeoning agreement comes as senators have signaled that they want a speedy trial that could be wrapped up in roughly a week. The Senate had been scheduled to leave town Friday for a one-week recess, but senators expect to have to yield back at least some of the break.

State Reminds Taxpayers to File ‘1099-G’ Form
Illinoisans who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2020 should make sure to file a special form when they complete federal and state tax filings by April 14, state officials say. The reminder is especially important this year because of the large number of state residents who were displaced from jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, officials said.

The 1099-G form, which states the amount of unemployment compensation received in 2020, “will be reaching a population of claimants that are new to the state’s unemployment insurance system? so we wanted to bring some awareness,” said Kristin Richards, acting director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Illinois sent out 1.4 million 1099-G forms to people who collected traditional unemployment benefits or benefits through new federal unemployment programs in 2020 that were authorized during the pandemic, IDES officials said. That number compares with 338,000 1099-G forms sent to people collecting unemployment benefits in Illinois in 2019. The number for 2020 represents a more than four-fold increase.

Illinois has dispensed more than $20 billion in pandemic related unemployment compensation through the traditional program and federally funded expansions, Richards said. Taxpayers who opted to receive their 1099-G form electronically should have received an email notification toward the end of January, she said. The email has instructions on how to obtain the document from the IDES website.

Program Notices & Reminders
Join the US Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, February 11, at 12 PM ET for the first episode of CO— Roadmap for Rebuilding: Starting a New Business, an interactive discussion focused on giving you the information and insight you need to start up smartly and smoothly, even under tough conditions. RSVP here:

Illinois DCEO’s Office of Regional Economic Development
Join DCEO for a webinar to learn more about the US Small Business Administration’s Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This federal forgivable COVID-19 Relief Loan Program will help Illinois small businesses keep their employees on payroll during this unprecedented time.

Date:  February 9, 2021
Time:  2:00 pm
Presenters:  Kala Lambert, Southeast Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Aly Grady, Central Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Registration Link:

Date:  February 10, 2021
Time:  10:00 am
Presenter:  Tracey Glenn, Southwest Regional Manager for Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Registration Link:

Date:  February 11, 2021
Time:  2:00 pm
Presenter:  Joe McKeown, Northeast Senior Account Manager for Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Registration Link:

SBA Page Links for Direction and Questions on PPP

1st draw info:
First draw app:

2nd draw info:
Second draw app:

SBDC at JJC Update
Quick Books (with Annette Szobar)
February 10th 2pm
Learn why keeping track of your finances is important, what information can you get from QuickBooks, and which version should you get!  Join independent entrepreneur and small business expert Annette Szobar who will help you solve your QuickBooks problems.

SEO (with Jason McCoy)
February 17 at 2pm
More consumers are doing research and shopping online than ever before due to circumstance, convenience, and cost. Businesses that wish to remain relevant and profitable need to adapt to the shift in consumer behavior. Creating optimized content for your website that will deliver interested consumers is critical now more than ever. Crafting a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan is imperative and second only to building a website in ‘getting your business online’.

Starting Your Business in Illinois
February 23rd at 11am
Thinking about starting a business in Illinois? This informative workshop helps entrepreneurs understand many of the steps and requirements. In this no-cost overview of Starting Your Business in Illinois, we will touch on many aspects of your business plan, including legal, accounting, banking, marketing, and sales.
Starting Your Business in Illinois Webinar (

Finally, we would like to ask that you take a few minutes to fill out a new survey that we’ve put together. This member survey is intended to gather feedback on the continuing issues, opportunities, and perceptions based around covid, the economy, and your business.

As we move forward during the pandemic and shifting political landscapes, please share your feedback so that we can best serve our membership.

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors

Mike Paone
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct