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

Chamber members:

It looks like lawmakers will be home for the weekend and follow through on their plan to wrap up session today. A budget agreement has been reached and as of this writing, just needs to be voted on.

Read below for more updates and be on the watch for the announcement of our next member luncheon to take place in April featuring a legislative update (now that we know for sure they’ll be out of session!) at the end of the month.

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

Governor, Senate, and House Leadership Agree on Final State Budget
Springfield Democrats have reached a deal on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed fiscal 2023 budget, one what will grant taxpayers $1.83 billion in mostly one-year tax cuts while filling some debt holes, continuing services and allowing lawmakers to leave Springfield on time by this weekend.

The agreement, announced this evening, came when Pritzker and leaders of the Democratic-controlled General Assembly settled on a series of temporary tax cuts, plus a permanent increase in the earned-income tax credit for low-income people. That’s well above the $1 billion originally proposed by the governor, and even the $1.8 billion the Senate pitched.

Included in the temporary cuts are reductions in the sales tax on food and medicine for a year, a 6-month suspension of a planned hike in the sales tax on gasoline, a one-year doubling of the income-tax credit for property taxes, and a new income tax rebate, in which individuals earning up to $200,000 and joint filers up to $400,000 will get checks up for $50 per individual and $100 per child, up to three children.

In addition, municipalities will get a bigger share of state income-tax collections. Their share once was 10% but had been steadily reduced in recent years. And the sales tax on school-related items will be briefly suspended this fall as kids head back to the classroom. At the same time, Governor Pritzker will get the extra $200 million he wanted to get into state pension funds and $1 billion to deposit in the state’s rainy day tax account.

Republicans want even more cuts, with Senate Republicans earlier in the day proposing to make many of the cuts the governor later outlined permanent. But Pritzker insists that’s all that’s possible under still-limited rises in state revenue, with income from federal COVID relief programs pretty well dried up after this year.

The plan is “responsible (and) compassionate,” Pritzker said.  Added Senate President Don Harmon, “This is what it looks like when you have people who are willing to work together and compromise. . . .This is going to be a budget we can all be proud of.”

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Welch and Harmon said they indeed expect to pass the budget and its tax cuts sometime on Friday. Both command supermajorities in which Republicans can object but do little to slow down the process.

All of this is expected to spark considerable debate in advance of the June 28 primary and the November general election, in which Pritzker will face a GOP nominee who has not yet been selected but could have huge financial backing from Chicago hedge fund operator Ken Griffin.

Gov. Pritzker Statement on State Budget Agreement
Governor JB Pritzker issued the following statement on the budget agreement with Democratic leadership. “For the past three and a half years, my partners in the General Assembly and I have worked to right this state’s fiscal ship and ensure state resources are responsibly directed to government’s fundamental purpose: uplifting working families,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Today, leaders in both chambers have come to an agreement on yet another responsible, balanced budget that does just that. Our plan delivers more than $1.8 billion in tax relief to Illinois residents, adds $1 billion to our state’s long-depleted Rainy-Day Fund, and doubles down on our efforts to make unprecedented investments in public safety.

“I thank Speaker Welch, Senate President Harmon and their teams for a productive negotiation process that always placed the best interests of Illinoisans at the forefront. Once again, Democrats are demonstrating that ours is the party of fiscal responsibility — and there’s nothing more responsible than putting working families first. I look forward to passing our third consecutive balanced budget through the legislature, signing it into law, and delivering real relief to working families across Illinois.”

A strong economic recovery paired with responsible fiscal decisions has resulted in the state’s largest surplus in more than two decades. Democrats have worked to ensure Fiscal Year 2023’s budget puts money back into the pockets of hardworking families, invests in critical public safety measures, supports human services, and saves for a rainy day.
After a strong economic performance in the first quarter of this calendar year, revenue projections have been revised upward from the Governor’s proposed budget by approximately $2 billion over FY22 and FY23.


  • Suspend the tax on groceries for one year – saving consumers $400 million
  • Freeze the motor fuel tax for six months – saving consumers $70 million
  • Double the property tax rebate – up to $300 per household
  • Permanently expand the earned income tax credit – putting $100 million per year back into the pockets of working families who need it most
  • Provide direct checks to working families
    • $50 per individual
    • $100 per child, up to three children per family
      • Income limits: $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for joint filers
  • Back to school tax relief for families and teachers – saving $50 million

Builds on $4.1 Billion in Debt Paydown in SB2803

  • 1 billion for Budget Stabilization Fund
  • An additional $200 million pension payment, bringing the total pension payment over what is required to $500 million dollars and saving taxpayers more than $1.8 billion.
    • These measures are in addition to the debt payment outlined in SB2803, which included $230 million for College Illinois and $898 million for Group Health Insurance bill backlog.

Invests more than $200 million on top of the Governor’s proposed budget to support public safety measures, invest in the tools law enforcement needs to prevent and solve crimes and strengthen investments in violence prevent programs that keep communities safe.

Other Springfield Updates
A package of bills that Democrats have pegged as a response to increasing crime rates are among the major measures still to be tied up. A measure addressing organized retail crime was rumored to be primed for a committee vote several times throughout Thursday, but the vote never materialized.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul, a backer of that proposal, was seen in both the House and the Senate this week. Negotiations continued Thursday with the possibility of passage before adjournment today – or tomorrow if session goes past midnight. Lawmakers are also still considering a wage theft proposal that we reported on previously, among several other measures.

Parties involved in negotiations on paying down a $1.8 billion debt in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund said Thursday a long-term solution isn’t likely to come by Friday. But there is agreement to push back, from July until January, the so-called “speed bumps” which would drastically hike insurance premium rates on employers and decrease unemployment benefits. Those are written into law to encourage negotiations when the trust fund is under water like it is now, but so far the only agreement between business and labor is that neither wants those “speed bumps” to take effect.

The public safety measures touted by Democrats create new state funds to address mental health at correctional facilities, officer recruitment and retention, and a to-be-developed off-hours childcare program, among several other provisions. The House and Senate have each passed their own spate of public safety-related reforms this week, some of which were duplicative. But by the end of today, Democratic leaders said they expect the so-called public safety bills to pass as a cohesive package.

“We are working together and working together very well,” Senate President Don Harmon said at a news conference outside of the governor’s office. “And I expect before we adjourn tomorrow, you’ll see a comprehensive package of public safety legislation moved through both chambers.” Gov. JB Pritzker and Democrats in the General Assembly, meanwhile, said more than $200 million would be allocated to the new funds, along with other community investment and early intervention programs that are either newly created or already exist in state law.

We’ll have a clearer breakdown of the state’s spending plan as more details emerge today.

Bill adding years to state employee pension buyout program passes General Assembly
A bill adding two years to the state employee pension buyout program is going to the desk of Gov. JB Pritzker. Pritzker announced Thursday House Bill 4292 has moved through the General Assembly. He released the following statement:

“I want to applaud Representative Bob Morgan and Senator Rob Martwick for leading the effort to add an additional two years to our state employee pension buyout program, which would be extended to June 30, 2026, under this legislation,” Pritzker. “Since the expansion we implemented early in my administration, the program has already led to overall liability reductions of $1.4 billion.

“My administration has always supported every constitutional action to address our pension structures while honoring promises made to retirees. This session alone, we are set to invest $500 million beyond the state’s required pension payment, reducing unfunded liabilities by $1.8 billion for taxpayers. I’m pleased to see the General Assembly send this legislation to my desk and look forward to our continued partnership in responsibly managing the state’s pension obligation.”

Supreme Court Confirmation
Thursday was promotion day for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the Senate confirmed her to the Supreme Court, where she will become the first Black female justice in the court’s history.

Senators confirmed her to the bench, 53-47, with three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) — joining with all Democrats to hand President Biden a historic victory.

The president and the newly minted justice celebrated together in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, with the pair taking a selfie shortly after as television screens showed the upper chamber’s tally in the background. “Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her,” President Biden tweeted.

Thursday’s vote also capped a relatively drama-free confirmation process that was completed in less than six weeks, ending exactly when Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had planned. Schumer recalled that he told White House chief of staff Ron Klain that Jackson would be the best choice to move swiftly through the upper chamber given the precarious 50-50 nature of the Senate.

The confirmation battle also hands Biden a major win at a key time as he continues to face economic headwinds from rising inflation and high gas prices, the ongoing fighting between Ukraine and Russia, and continued trouble in getting his agenda through Congress. Democrats are praying it also helps swing the political pendulum in their direction ahead of what is expected to be a troublesome midterm election cycle.

Jobless claims fall to 166K, lowest level since 1968
New weekly claims for unemployment insurance fell to the lowest level since 1968 at the end of March, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.

In the week ending April 2, the seasonally adjusted total of new claims for jobless benefits fell to 166,000, a decline of 5,000 from the previous week. Seasonally adjusted weekly jobless claims have fallen to the lowest level since the week ending Nov. 30, 1968, when 162,000 Americans filed to start a new cycle of unemployment insurance.

Houbolt Road interchange, widening plans laid out
Details of the Houbolt Road interchange and road-widening project were spelled out at an open house Wednesday, including the targeted completion date of July 2023. Those who came to the meeting sought information ranging from the impact of the new interchange on students commuting to Joliet Junior College to what could be done at to alter plans to widen the road to only 10 feet from the wall of one house along its path.

“I was hoping it didn’t come to this,” said Harry Stanford, who rents the house to tenants who may see semitrailers rumbling 10 feet away from a back room window when the project is completed.

The interchange and road-widening project is linked to the Houbolt Road bridge now being built over the Des Plaines River to create a new route for trucks between the CenterPoint Intermodal Center and Interstate 80. The bridge is being built by a private partnership that includes CenterPoint Properties.

The widening of Hollywood Road – which becomes Houbolt Road north of Interstate 80 – from Route 6, where the bridge will land, to the interchange and reconstruction of the interchange is a state-funded project overseen by the city of Joliet.

Key elements of the project include:
• A November target date for completion of the Route 6 intersection, which will have seven lanes including turn lanes at the southbound lanes of the interchange, so the intersection will be ready when the bridge opens.
• An early 2023 target date for opening of the Houbolt Road bridge, when trucks likely will use Route 6 to get to Interstate 55 while construction continues on Hollywood/Houbolt Road.
• A one- to two-week period in the coming months when Hollywood Road will be closed between Mound Road and Route 6 as a CSX railroad crossing is improved for the future four-lane road.
• The widening of Hollywood Road from its current two lanes to four lanes between Route 6 and the I-80 interchange to accommodate expected semitrailer traffic that will come with the new bridge.
• The creation of a diverging diamond interchange at I-80 to ease traffic flow at the Houbolt Road interchange when the project is completed in July 2023.

Joliet City Traffic Engineer Russ Lubash discussed the value of the diverging diamond interchange, which creates lanes allowing turning traffic to merge rather than cross lanes in the process of changing directions. “Where these work is at interchanges that have higher volumes of turning movements than through movements,” Lubash said. “The new bridge is going to bring a lot more traffic to Houbolt Road, and the majority of that traffic will be going to I-80.”

The new interchange should work out well for Joliet Junior College commuters, said Patrick Van Duyne, JJC senior director of facilities. “We are always interested in how these types of projects so close to our campus will affect our students,” said Van Duyne, who planned to report back to his colleagues on what he learned at the meeting.

Joliet City Council member Joe Clement asked city staff to organize the meeting, expecting there would be people wanting more information about the project. “It’s a big project,” Clement said. “I think it impacts everybody who is in the area, all the businesses and residents along Route 6, Joliet Junior College and the people and businesses up and down Houbolt.”



  • USDA’S Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) – This grant assistance to create and augment high-wage jobs, accelerate the formation of new businesses, support industry clusters and maximize the use of local productive assets in eligible low-income rural areas. Deadline is April 19, 2022. Get more information

Building Blocks of Success: IDOT announces dates for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program workshops
The Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting free virtual workshops as part of its continuing Building Blocks of Success series for firms interested in participating in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, strengthening their skills and bidding on state construction projects.

The workshop dates and topics are:

April 12, 10 a.m. to noon: Scheduling Work
April 21, 10 a.m. to noon: Avoiding Pitfalls
May 4, 10 a.m. to noon: How to… IDOT Electrical Work

Workshop information is available through Eventbrite at Advance registration is required.

Questions can be directed to IDOT’s DBE Resource Center at (312) 939.1100.

As part of Gov. Pritzker’s historic and bipartisan Rebuild Illinois program, IDOT is helping to deliver the largest capital program in state history. IDOT strives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the implementation of this program, including contracting and workforce participation.

Administered by IDOT, the DBE program provides minorities, women and other eligible small businesses opportunities to participate in highway, transit and airport contracts that are federally and state funded. For more information on becoming a certified DBE and learning more about IDOT resources that are available, visit

Stay well,

Mike Paone
Executive Vice President
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct