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

Chamber members:

Now that the primaries are over here in Illinois and we move closer to the November election, you’ll hear a lot more about inflation, gas prices, abortion, and so much more. With the continual incidents of mass shootings striking communities across the country, gun laws are shaping up to be a major topic of interest for the midterms as well.

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

Special Session Delayed
Springfield sources confirm that a special legislative session initially set for the coming weeks to take up new measures to protect abortion rights has been postponed until later. It appears to be a combination of scheduling people during prime vacation time and the immediate attention being turned to the Highland Park shooting.

Gov. JB Pritzker and top Democratic leaders in the Illinois General Assembly said Tuesday that while they still plan to call a special session this year to strengthen abortion rights, they expect to take the “remainder of the summer” to craft policies before lawmakers return to the Capitol.

Pritzker first announced his plan for a special session on June 24, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide. While the governor said at the time he would call the special session with support from Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, he did not set a specific date for lawmakers to return. He said only he would call the session “in the coming weeks.”

In a joint statement Tuesday, the three leaders indicated the return to Springfield could come as late as the fall. “In the coming weeks, as the ripples of the decision to overturn Roe are felt throughout the nation, we expect to get an acute sense of our needs and how Illinois can play an even more vital role in standing up for reproductive freedom,” the statement read. “We plan to work closely together for the remainder of the summer to assess every possibility of what we can do and convene a special session in the coming months.”

U.S. small businesses react to inflation
More than a third of small businesses can’t pay rent, newly released data shows. The small business network Alignable released new survey results that found that 35% of U.S. small business owners “could not pay their rent in full or on time in June.”

“Most small business owners attribute this worsening situation to record-breaking inflation, which includes escalating gas, labor, and supply costs,” Alignable said. “Simply put, there’s less money available to pay the rent.”

According to the survey, rent increased for 48% of small businesses this month. Meanwhile, rent delinquencies have continued to increase all year. “This is the highest rate of U.S. rent delinquency among SMBs this year,” the group said.

Inflation dominates the minds of small businesses, according to the MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index. Reportedly 88% of small business owners are concerned about the impact of inflation on their businesses. Nearly half (49%) are very concerned, compared to 44% last quarter and 31% in Q4 2021.

Despite the sharp increase in inflation worries and ongoing economic uncertainty, the Small Business Index ticked up 2.7 points to reach a new pandemic-era high. The Index’s rise comes from its unique focus on individual small business circumstances, with less weight assigned to attitudes toward the broader economy.

Two-in-three small business owners say their business is in good health, a five-point increase from last quarter. Two-thirds (66%) say they expect revenue to increase over the next year. 43% plan to hire more staff, the highest number recorded in the past two years.

Historic inflation is top-of-mind and deeply troubling to small businesses. But at the same time, there is confidence among small business owners that customer demand will remain strong, and this quarter’s Index shows they want to hire and plan on meeting that demand in the coming months.

COVID’s $8 Trillion Toll on the Economy
The COVID-19 recession that started in March 2020 and ended by the end of June 2022 will cost the economy more than $8 trillion when all is said and done. Recessions exact a heavy toll on the economy, and larger recessions exact larger tolls.

The economy rebounded strongly after the shock of COVID. This was the latest proof it is resilient and tends to grow well absent policy mistakes and outside shocks. That’s the good news. The less-good news is that the economy is still not back to the size it would’ve been had COVID never happened.

To match and get above that level, the economy must grow well above the previous growth trajectory for several quarters. Despite decent growth since the recession ended, we are not likely to get there until late 2023 or early 2024. Recessions are costly, which is why we should cross our fingers we stay out of one while fighting the current bout of inflation.

Illinois Secure Choice
By this November, all Illinois employers with 16 or more employees will need to offer their own retirement program. Fortunately, for those that do not have a program in place, we have a number of chamber members that can assist in this process. Please refer to the member directory to seek out assistance.

For those that prefer to learn about the state-run Illinois Secure Choice program and how to sign up yourself and your employees before the November 1 deadline, you can join a webinar offered by the Small Business Majority group. During this event, they will discuss upcoming deadlines for enrollment and penalties for those who do not enroll by the deadline. Additionally, they will cover how your employees can easily opt-out of the program.

Illinois Secure Choice: What small business owners need to know
Wednesday, July 13, 2022 at 12:00 PM (CT)
Register here »

Stay well,

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