Government Affairs Roundup
“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”

Chamber Members:

Some big news has transpired since the last roundup, most notably a new order from President Biden. Illinois has received another upgrade on bond ratings, but not so good news on Unemployment Insurance trust fund balance.

*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital*

President Biden Declares War on Anti-competitive Practices with Sweeping Order
President Biden signed a sweeping order on Friday, aimed at promoting competition in the economy through 72 initiatives cracking down on anti-competitive practices in multiple industries. The order aims to bolster competition and make broadband services affordable, encourage innovation and competition among tech companies, address prescription drug pricing, allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter at drug stores, ban or limit non-compete agreements for workers, and make it easier for people to get refunds from airlines, among other provisions.

It aims to encourage innovation and boost the U.S. economy, through dozens of consumer-focused and worker-focused provisions. In a fact sheet released by the White House Friday morning, the Biden administration said that anti-competitive practices across industries have driven up prices, made it harder for employees to bargain for a better wage and stunted economic growth.

Here are five key elements of the president’s massive executive order.

  1. Boosts leverage for workers

Biden’s most notable move toward giving workers more power is the order would ban or limit noncompete agreements used by employers to prevent employees from moving to rival firms. One in three businesses in the U.S. require a worker to sign a non-compete clause, according to the White House.

Other provisions to directly help workers, and target certain practices of businesses, include a ban on unnecessary licensing restrictions and crack down on employers sharing data on workers with one another. Nearly 30 percent of jobs in the U.S. require a license, according to the White House. Biden said at the executive order signing ceremony at the White House on Friday that these licensing requirements hinder military families. “Look, it can’t be a significant burden to get a new license in a new state. That burden can’t be around anymore,” Biden said.

Worker unions have praised Biden for making corporations change their practices from non-competes to wage data sharing. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International, the union for 1.3 million workers in food and health care, applauded the commitment “to creating a level playing field for American workers.”

The business sector pushed back on the order. The Chamber of Commerce said it “smacks of a ‘government knows best’ approach to managing the economy” and the National Association of Manufacturers said the actions “threaten to undo our progress by undermining free markets.”

  1. Tackles concentrated corporate power

The technology, health care, and agriculture sectors are targeted in this order, which encourages antitrust agencies to focus their enforcement efforts on responses to corporate consolidation. It allows for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to enforce the antitrust laws “vigorously” and to step up challenges to past mergers.

The order directs the FTC to also work on the issue of hospital consolidation, arguing that this practice can be harmful to patients. Ten health care systems control a quarter of the market, according to the White House, due to mergers.

To protect family farmers, it calls on the Department of Agriculture to stop practices of meat processors that it considers abusive. “The markets for seeds, equipment, feed, and fertilizer are now dominated by just a few large companies, meaning family farmers and ranchers now have to pay more for these inputs,” the White House said in a statement.

Democrats in Congress have also been focused on this issue. The Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is holding a hearing next week on the rise and concentration of corporate market power and how this increased concentration is harming consumers, workers and small businesses.

  1. Aims to lower the prices of drugs

President Biden’s move to lower drug prices by allowing imports of cheaper drugs from other countries was part of his health care plan during his presidential campaign. Before Friday, the Biden administration would point to congressional efforts on lowering drug pricing, which involves legislation to allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices.

The new order directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work with states on importing prescription drugs from Canada and directs officials to develop a plan to lower drug prices in 45 days. Biden on Friday noted that a “handful” of companies control the market for vital medicines. “As a result, Americans pay two and a half times more for prescription drugs than in any other leading country,” he said.

The order also issues new rules so hearing aids can be sold over the counter. Hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars and can’t be sold in pharmacies. “That’s something the last administration was supposed to get done but didn’t do. We’re going to get it done,” Biden said.

  1. Looks out for consumers

The travel industry is making a comeback following its depression during the coronavirus pandemic and now the Biden administration is targeting certain practices that it feels harms consumers. The order directs the Transportation Department to issue rules requiring that consumers are refunded for fees when baggage is delayed or when the airline doesn’t provide a service, such as if the plane’s Wi-Fi is broken. It also gives the department power to consider issuing new rules that would require baggage, change and cancellation fees to be clearly disclosed to the customer.

In banking, the order seeks to help consumers to switch banks more easily. It requires banks to allow customers to take their financial transaction data with them to a competitor. The U.S. has lost 70 percent of its banks over the past two decades due largely to mergers and acquisitions, according to the White House. Additionally, it’s difficult to switch banks because banks made it hard to take financial transitional history data to a new bank.

The order also aims to help people make more educated decisions about their food. It directs the Department of Agriculture to issue new rules for defining when meat can be labeled a “product of USA,” which the administration claims can also be a boost for American farmers. It would direct the department to develop another standard for labeling, which would allow consumers to know when buying products if its producer treats workers fairly.

  1. Bringing back net neutrality

Obama-era net neutrality rules could also be reinstated under this order. The president “encourages” the Federal Communications Commission to restore the rules, which prohibited internet service providers from blocking and throttling content and from charging for speed. The rules were undone by the Trump administration, spurring a series of legal challenges and failed attempts at congressional action to reinstate them.

Internet service providers are further targeted in this order. It prevents internet service providers from making deals with landlords so tenants are limited in their choices, in another effort to look out for consumers. More than 65 million Americans live in a place with only one high speed internet provider, Biden said Friday.

The order also cracks down on Big Tech’s efforts to purchase competitors, gather personal information, and certain competition practices that impact small businesses. “No more tolerance for abusive actions by monopolies, no more bad mergers that lead to mass layoffs, higher prices, fewer options for workers and consumers alike,” Biden said Friday.

Unprecedented Unemployment Deficit Threatens to ‘Cripple’ Businesses, Claimants
Since economic shutdowns began and COVID-19 death counts started to rise in March 2020, national unemployment rates have hovered at historically high numbers, stressing state unemployment systems left dealing with an unprecedented number of claims. In Illinois, that’s led to a deficit in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund – or the pool of money used to sustain the social safety net – that could rise to $5 billion.

Stakeholders from both political parties, as well as business and labor groups, are now warning of “crippling” tax increases on businesses and cuts to unemployment benefits that could result if the ongoing deficit goes unaddressed for too long. But even as the deficit continues to grow amid still-high unemployment rates, state lawmakers have not set a clear path forward for digging out of the historic hole.

“I think a larger discussion has to begin sooner rather than later, but we’re kind of waiting on, you know, getting a total handle on the size of the problem,” Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Swansea Democrat and assistant majority leader who is a lead House negotiator on unemployment insurance issues, said in a phone interview. Meanwhile, the state also faces looming interest payments that are likely to cost tens of millions of dollars annually on more than $4 billion of federal borrowing undertaken to pay out benefits at the height of the pandemic.

Lawmakers and stakeholders said they were hopeful for another round of federal aid, this time targeted to shore up trust funds nationwide. Failing that, members of both parties believe the state should use a large portion of its remaining federal American Rescue Plan Act funds – a sum of more than $5 billion of the $8.1 billion allocated to the state – to address the deficit.

The Trust Fund
Each state has an Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund account maintained by the U.S. Treasury but funded by the state’s businesses through insurance premiums collected via payroll taxes. The rates at which businesses pay into Illinois’ fund are determined by a complex statutory formula, based on unemployment rates, the solvency of the Trust Fund, employer experience, number of employees and other factors.

Normally, the incoming funds outpace the amount of outgoing unemployment benefits, but as the state’s unemployment rate grew as high as an unprecedented 16 percent in April 2020 amid forced economic shutdowns, those trends drastically reversed.

When this happens, states can borrow from the federal government in what is called a Title XII advance to pay unemployment claims. As of July 7, Illinois’ outstanding balance for federal Title XII borrowing was $4.2 billion, according to the U.S Treasury, but that number is expected to grow this year as the unemployment rate remains high, most recently measuring at 7.1 percent in May 2021.

By the end of 2021, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the deficit is expected to grow to somewhere between $4.37 billion in an expected trajectory to $4.97 billion in a pessimistic scenario. At its current pace, the department projects the deficit would continue to grow into 2022, increasing to somewhere between $4.4 billion and $5.29 billion before it begins to slowly taper off.

As of July 7, Illinois was one of 17 states with a trust fund deficit, and the collective national deficit exceeded $54 billion. California had the largest hole at more than $22 billion, followed by New York at more than $9.8 billion, Texas at $6.9 billion, Massachusetts at more than $2.2 billion, four states over $1 billion and the rest below that amount.

While federal lawmakers passed a moratorium on Title XII interest payments in previous COVID-19 relief packages, it is scheduled to expire on Sept. 6, at which point interest will begin to accrue at a rate of 2.27 percent. According to IDES, the state has allocated $10 million for interest payments in the current fiscal year, the first of which will be due Sept. 30.

Business groups have projected the interest payment could be as high as $14 million for the four-month period in 2021 after the moratorium ends, and about $50-60 million annually thereafter while the deficit remains.

Addressing the deficit
When deficits reach such a mass, options for paring them down include an increase to the tax rate for employers, a reduction in unemployment benefits, an addition of other state, federal or private sector funds, or some combination of those efforts.

If any state maintains an outstanding balance of federal borrowing for too long, federal law stipulates that Federal Unemployment Tax Act credits for businesses would decrease incrementally, eventually increasing an employer’s tax burden from about 0.6 percent to 6 percent. But no states are in danger of a reduction to that credit in 2021.

Illinois law, however, builds “speed bumps” into the repayment process which encourage labor and business interests to come to the negotiating table to address deficits in a timely manner. Those “speed bumps” initiate penalties that, beginning in 2022, would include shortening the benefit period from 26 to 24 weeks, lowering wage repayment for claimants from 47 percent to 42.4 percent, and an increase to the formulaic employer tax rates, according to IDES.

Rob Karr, CEO and president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, estimated that the “speed bumps” would essentially raise taxes by $500 million on employers and cut $500 million in unemployment benefits. Karr said IRMA joined other business and labor organizations in submitting a letter to Illinois’ congressional delegation to encourage further federal aid, but there’s no timeline yet as to when, or if, such aid would be coming.

But the simplest solution to avoid those penalties, Karr said, is to dedicate a large portion of the state’s remaining $5-plus billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding – a measure signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this year to stimulate state economies amid the pandemic’s toll – to paying down the deficit. “Other states have used ARPA money to restore the trust fund to protect workers and employers, and if the state doesn’t do it, employers are going to have crippling taxes and employees are going to have crippling benefit cuts,” Karr said.

State Sen. Chapin Rose, a Mahomet Republican who spoke against this fiscal year’s budget at the end of May due in large part to its failure to address the Trust Fund deficit, warned of drastic economic repercussions if the “speed bumps” take effect. “If you’re a restaurant trying to reopen after COVID and you’ve been closed, and you’re just now getting your feet back under you and suddenly you get hit with this smack-down penalty, well, you know, that’s less employees you can rehire, it’s less new employees that you could hire, or maybe you just don’t reopen at all,” he said. “Or that cost gets passed along to the consumer.”

Labor interests will be in on negotiations to address the deficit as well. Pat Devaney, secretary treasurer at the Illinois AFL-CIO federation of labor unions, said unions will work to limit the burden on those claiming benefits, but he also noted some other form of state or federal funding would be needed to shore up the Trust Fund. “I think everybody agrees, whether you’re on the employer side or the employee side, that given the current deficit, it’s going to be near impossible to cut your way or to raise employer taxes to resolve the existing level of deficit,” he said.

Past, potential solutions
In the current fiscal year budget, which took effect July 1, lawmakers dedicated just $100 million to the Trust Fund, but that will go mostly to allowing non-instructional education employees to claim benefits and ensuring that Illinoisans who were paid extra unemployment funds through no fault of their own would not be forced to repay them.

While Republicans voted unanimously in favor of the measure implementing that provision, they also argued that the General Assembly should have already been developing a plan for dedicating ARPA funds to the deficit.

Hoffman said “every single possible solution has to be on the table” for addressing the deficit when lawmakers begin negotiations, including using ARPA funds, reducing benefits, raising employer taxes or some combination of all three.

The closest precedent the state has for addressing such a deficit comes from its effort to dig out of a $2.3 billion hole from 2010 which followed the nationwide financial crisis which began in 2007. Karr was part of the negotiations to address the deficit stemming from that crisis.

The solution at that time included benefit cuts and raised premium rates for employers, but lawmakers also dedicated a portion of those premiums as a revenue stream to pay back 10-year bonds, which they used to replenish the Trust Fund. Those bonds were paid back in about 7.5 years, Karr said, and the Trust Fund was back above water by 2012, according to IDES. “But this time, you’ve got such a big problem that that’s not going to be feasible,” Karr said.

Governor Pritzker’s office did not directly respond to questions as to whether ARPA funds might be put toward the deficit. Instead, a spokesperson issued a statement saying the governor is seeking further federal aid as well. “The COVID-19 global pandemic has left every state in the nation facing unemployment trust fund shortfalls,” the spokesperson said. “As the state works to emerge from this pandemic with continued economic growth, the administration has been in communication with our federal partners to ensure there is a comprehensive solution that provides support for working families and balances that vital need with consideration for the business community.”

In a news conference in Springfield, Illinois’ U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, said “there’s been a conversation” in Washington, D.C., about addressing state trust fund deficits. He expects unemployment discussions to progress starting in September, when federal unemployment boosts expire.

Durbin also noted that the federal ARPA funds should provide Illinois some budget leeway, but when asked if he would advise the governor to save some of the remaining funding to pay down the Trust Fund deficit, he did not directly answer. “I was with him (Pritzker) yesterday, and I asked him if they had any definite plans for the $8 billion. Not yet,” Durbin said. “They’re working with the legislature on that. So in terms of the Unemployment Trust Fund, it didn’t come up in the conversation.”

Rose and other Republicans have argued for ending an extra $300 monthly payment to those on unemployment earlier than the federal expiration set for September. They argue that the money – even though it is fully funded by the federal government – disincentives people from rejoining the workforce by making unemployment benefits more lucrative than taking a lower wage job, thus adding to the state’s burden by keeping people on unemployment.

Democrats, however, have pushed back on that narrative and outright rejected any suggestion of ending the added federal benefits early. Pritzker has focused on the need for affordable childcare to allow parents to go back to work. “We’re trying to measure doing enough to help families and still creating an incentive to get back to work,” Durbin said at his news conference Thursday.

S&P Upgrades Illinois’ Bond Rating
The credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings upgraded Illinois’ bond rating last Thursday, citing the state’s improved financial condition. It’s the second upgrade from a major credit rating agency to move the state away from the brink of “junk” status. “The upgrade reflects our view of improved liquidity, demonstrated operational controls during the pandemic, and an improved economic condition,” S&P credit analyst Geoff Buswick said in a news release.

The upgrade moved the rating on Illinois’ general obligation bonds to BBB from BBB-, the lowest investment-grade rating available. The state’s long-term credit outlook was rated as stable. S&P’s decision came one week after Moody’s Investors Service raised its rating to Baa2 from Baa3.

In its announcement, S&P noted that state tax revenues held up stronger than expected during the recession brought on by the pandemic as well as the receipt of federal stimulus money “to help bridge the gap to a fully functioning economy. It also cited Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision during the pandemic to cut more than $700 million in spending and freezes as a reason for the upgrade, though not all of those were related to the state’s general revenue fund. And it noted the political gridlock that led to a two-year budget stalemate during former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s term had dissipated. S&P also said it now views the COVID-19 pandemic as a “social factor” affecting public health and safety, but said the risk is abating “and is not viewed as a material credit factor.”

Like Moody’s, however, S&P said Illinois still faces a number of financial pressures, including its poorly funded public pension systems and constraints under the state constitution that prevent the state from changing pension benefits. But S&P also did not rule out the possibility of another credit upgrade in the future if the economy continues to recover and the state continues to manage its budget responsibly.

“The state’s economic base can already support a higher rating,” S&P said. “Any upside to the state’s creditworthiness, however, remains somewhat constrained by the poorly funded pension systems and other outsize liabilities. If Illinois were to make sustainable progress toward structural balance, including meeting its pension obligations, further reducing its bill backlog, and increasing reserves, we could raise the rating.”

Pritzker and other Democratic leaders responded quickly to the news, claiming credit for the state’s improved financial outlook. “A well-known proverb states, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Throughout my administration we’ve remained steadfast in our goal to return Illinois to fiscal stability. That has meant making responsible decisions step by step, day by day, working closely with our partners in state government.”

Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, called the news “further proof we are on the right track in balancing our fiscal realities with the real-world needs of working men and women,” while House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, said it was the result of “positive changes you see when government leadership is truly working for the people they represent.”

Illinois Department of Public Health Adopts CDC COVID-19 Prevention School Guidance
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is fully adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Kindergarten (K)-12 Schools released today.

“Our goal is to protect the health of students, teachers, and staff so that in-person learning can resume as safely as possible,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “The CDC is right: vaccination is the best preventive strategy. As school board members, parents, teachers and superintendents plan for a return to in-person learning in the fall, we strongly encourage those who are not vaccinated to continue to mask. IDPH is proud to fully adopt school guidance issued by CDC, which is based on the latest scientific information about COVID-19.”

The updated school guidance now aligns with guidance for fully vaccinated people, which allows activities to resume for fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, and local rules and regulations.

Major elements of the updated guidance include:

• Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated.
• CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk.  When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as indoor masking.
• Screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
• Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time.  Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (masking, distancing, testing) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated.

Schools and communities should monitor community transmission of COVID-19, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and outbreaks to guide decisions about on the level of layered prevention strategies being implemented.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala issued the following declaration mandating in-person learning with limited exceptions:

Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, all schools must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days, provided that, pursuant to 105 ILCS 5/10-30 and 105 ILCS 5/34-18.66, remote instruction be made available for students who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, only while they are under quarantine consistent with guidance or requirements from a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“All our students deserve to return safely in-person to schools this fall,” said Dr. Ayala. “With vaccination rates continually rising and unprecedented federal funding to support safe in-person learning, and mitigations such as contact tracing and increased ventilation in place in schools, we are fully confident in the safety of in-person learning this fall. We look forward to a great school year and to the energy of Illinois’ young minds once again filling our school buildings.”

The updated school guidance can be found at  This guidance is subject to change pursuant to changing public health conditions and updates from CDC.

Illinois Higher Education Organizations Laud $2.484 Billion Level of Funding in State’s FY22 Budget
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), and Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) praised the Illinois FY 2022 budget which includes $2.484 billion for colleges, universities, and direct student support. The budget also allocates additional dollars for tuition assistance and workforce programs which give students from all backgrounds the ability to achieve their educational goals.
Building on Gov. Pritzker’s equity goals, the budget includes an increase of $28 million for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), bringing total funding for the grant program for low-income students to approximately $479 million.

“Students are truly the focus of this budget. Direct support for low-income students, along with funding for A Thriving Illinois: Higher Education Paths to Equity, Sustainability, and Growth, the new higher education strategic plan, demonstrate Gov. Pritzker’s ongoing commitment to serving students who  for too long have been underserved by the postsecondary education system,” said Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Ginger Ostro. “We saw equity gaps exacerbated during the pandemic and higher education is central to closing those gaps. With the investments in this budget and the launch of A Thriving Illinois, we can focus on creating broader and more equitable paths to opportunity for all Illinoisans, especially those facing the greatest barriers.”

“We are grateful to Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly for the commitment to access and equity reflected in this budget,” said Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) Executive Director Eric Zarnikow. “With MAP at a historic high, we can increase grant size to help our low-income students manage the rising costs of college and reach new students as well. The budget also begins to address the shortfall for the College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program with the first two of a proposed series of manageable payments — which will save the state money in the long run as it honors its commitment to families whose students will attend college using program benefits.”

Funding for community colleges and public universities will be held level in FY22, recognizing the importance of higher education, particularly as students and families in Illinois and across the nation continue to face financial struggles as a result of the pandemic.

“This new budget maintains Illinois’ baseline investment in community colleges while also providing significant support in federal relief dollars.  This critical funding will help students recover from the impact of the pandemic more quickly by providing a path forward for job training leading to better employment opportunities and helping Illinois to meet its immediate and future workforce needs,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.

Higher education highlights of the FY 22 budget include:
• $28m increase for MAP, bringing funding for the program to a historic level of approximately $479m
• Funding for College Illinois! (allocated as funding $30m in FY21 and $20m in FY22)
• $1M for implementation of the Common App, which will allow students to apply to any Illinois public university with a single application
• Flat funding for all other scholarship/grant programs, operations and outreach, however $7 million in federal funding will provide significantly increased support for the Golden Apple Scholars and Golden Apple Accelerators programs for teachers in training
• $10 million State Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund (CURE) for college bridge programs

Congressman Foster Wants to Change Transportation Funding Fairness
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, wants states such as Illinois to receive their fair share of federal transportation funds. Last week, the congressman introduced in Congress the Fair Allocation of Highway Funds Act, according to a news release.

The bipartisan bill aims to ensure a fair allocation of money to states from the Highway Trust Fund. “Illinois and many other states don’t receive fair shares of federal funding for transportation projects because of a flawed budgetary method that hurts more populous states,” Foster said in a statement.

Some states receive as much as six times more funding than they contribute to the fund while others receive less than what they paid. This is because the allocation system doesn’t consider how much each state contributes to the U.S. Treasury to make up the shortfall from the gas tax.

Foster’s bill would require that states receive credit for their contribution to the general fund transfer. “Illinois residents are rightly concerned about the safety of the roads and bridges they rely on every day,” Foster said in the release. “They deserve to know the federal government is fairly allocating transportation funding so we can make the necessary infrastructure investments that our state needs.”

Program Notices & Reminders – Expanded Information

Special Presentation: Small Business Compliance with Department of Labor
Did you know that most employees in the U.S. are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? As an employer, are you aware of and meeting your obligations?

The chamber recently joined with Andres Mendez, a Benefits Advisor with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division and the Employee Benefits Security Administration for an overview of the COBRA premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, federal wage and hour laws, and how they are enforced.

Click here to view the special presentation:

Connect with the Workforce Center
The Workforce Center hosts various workshops, hiring events, and activities throughout the month. Be sure to connect with the Workforce Center and share their flyers and event announcements through your social media platforms.

Visit the Workforce Center of Will County’s web page for more information about the programs, services, and activities available for Will County businesses and residents.

Small Business Tax Credit Programs
Did you know that the American Rescue Plan extends a number of critical tax benefits, particularly the Employee Retention Credit and Paid Leave Credit, to small businesses?
Learn more

Small Disadvantaged Business Contracting Goal News
On June 1, 2021, the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new steps to help narrow the racial wealth gap and reinvest in communities that have been left behind by failed policies. Specifically, the Administration is expanding access to two key wealth-creators – small business ownership and homeownership – in communities of color and disadvantaged communities.

  • Use the federal government’s purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent, translating to an additional $100 billion over five years, and helping more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams.
  • Take action to address racial discrimination in the housing market, including by launching a first-of-its-kind interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals, and conducting rulemaking to aggressively combat housing discrimination.

Learn more

Federal Contracting Webinar Series
Do you need help with federal contracting? The ChallengeHER webinar series offers education and training on the federal contracting system. Below is a list of upcoming webinars.

  • Tips for GSA Schedule Compliance and Success
    July 22 | 2:00 p.m. ET

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
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