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

Chamber members:

Thanks to all that supported our golf outing as a sponsor, golfer, volunteer, or in any other role. It was a great day for having some fun, making connections, and of course golfing. The outing marks that re-start of a busy calendar up through the holidays, so see you soon at an event or program in the coming weeks and months. Here’s a little news on the state and country side of things.

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

Grant applications available for $15 million to boost Illinois’ tourism industry
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced $15 million in funding to support tourism sector across Illinois, through the second round of the Tourism Attraction and Festivals Grant program offered by the State.

Through the $15 million investment, which is open for applicants beginning today, $5 million will be reserved for festivals, which serve as economic drivers while bringing communities together, and $10 million will support a broad range of other tourism-related project such as attractions, museums, live performance venues and more. This grant is funded using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars.

“When the pandemic struck, the tourism industry across the globe lurched to a standstill,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That’s why, last August, I launched the Tourism Attraction and Festivals Grant program—delivering the support our communities needed to bring back parades, festivals, and cultural celebrations that are so vital to families in neighborhoods across our state. Today, I’m proud to announce an additional $15 million for this successful program to continue supporting our tourism sector, driving economic development, and bringing our communities together.”

“From boosting local economies and small businesses to showcasing the beauty of our state, Illinois’ tourism industry contributes more than fun experiences for all of us. It is also about history and community—and preserving the rich, diverse stories that make Illinois a great place to live in and visit,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “Our administration has been committed to supporting the tourism industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic because of how integral it is to our state’s communities. This additional $15 million in funding is a testament to that.”

This round of funding prioritizes downstate communities, communities that have experienced declines in hotel tax revenues and provides $5 million specifically for festivals. Additionally, in order to maximize funding, applicants are required to submit matching funds with the goal of attracting additional visitors to localities and events, thereby supporting local hotels, restaurants, and businesses. Through the revised approach for the second round of funding, the State is ensuring localities and tourism entities hardest hit by the pandemic receive additional support.

Through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), localities, tourism and festival businesses, and entities can apply for grants of up to $500,000 that may be used to establish and enhance tourism attractions or festivals. Applications will be accepted until Friday, September 23, 2o22. To view the NOFO and apply for the grant, please visit this page.

“With world-class attractions, festivals, and historical sites in every part of Illinois, we’re proud to support the unique destinations that make Illinois a great place to live, work and do business,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, Director of DCEO. “Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, DCEO recognizes the importance of investing and reinvesting in tourism attractions and festivals that are important to residents and visitors alike, which is why today we’re announcing the award of $10 million to 41 grantees across the state and making an additional $15 million available for continued growth of our tourism economy.”

Building Upon $26 Million Total Investment in Tourism Attractions
The Tourism Attraction and Festivals Grant program, launched in August 2021 and awarded on a quarterly basis, helps organizations fund efforts intended to spur tourism. As part of this, $10 million in first round funding was met with $16 million in matching funds, for a total of $26 million in investments for 41 projects designed to support ongoing recovery efforts in the hard-hit tourism industry.

Income & Savings Down, Spending Up in June
On the heels of the big GDP report last week, we got data on income, spending, and savings. While the data clearly shows inflation taking a toll, consumers’ resilience in the face of higher prices remains impressive.

By the numbers:
Before adjusting for inflation

  • Income rose 0.6% in June.
  • Spending rose 1.1%

Inflation was 1%.

So when adjusting for inflation

  • Real income fell 0.4%.
  • Real spending eked out a small gain of 0.1%.

Despite inflation eating away at income gains, consumers can keep spending above inflation by using a combination of their savings and credit. The personal savings rate declined to 5.1%, which was the lowest since 2009. Savings dropped by $24 billion in June. It has fallen each month in 2022 for a total decline of $116 billion.

Consumers are also using credit more. Consumer credit outstanding has risen sharply all year.
Savings balances ballooned during the pandemic and remain historically elevated and credit balances remain manageable. So consumers may be able to use both to continue spending that keeps pace with inflation. But that can only last so long. Savings dwindle and credit balances can only go so high. Getting control of inflation is the only way to ensure consumer spending continues growing.

Congress Passes CHIPS Act of 2022
The U.S. Congress passed the CHIPS Act of 2022 via H.R.4346. The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 243-187-1. On Wednesday, the measure had passed the Senate by a vote of 64-33. Some of the provisions of the Act are as follows.

  • It appropriates $52 billion in grants for domestic semiconductor manufacturing under the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, which was enacted but not funded 18 months ago;
  • It creates an investment tax credit for semiconductor manufacturing;
  • For both of the above, it establishes “guardrails” on the grants and the investment tax credit to ensure that these benefits support semiconductor manufacturing investment in the United States;
  • It authorizes (but does not appropriate) support for basic research and R&D at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Commerce’s Regional Technology Hubs, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST);
  • It includes language to develop processes to ensure research security;
  • It provides $1.5 billion in funding for a Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund (including open architected networks) and$500 million for an American International Technology Security Fund, which will support secure and trusted telecommunication development and use of open, interoperable, software-based technologies.

The U.S. Chamber put together a coalition of national, state and local business groups and chambers in support of the Act, with all signing onto a letter of support early this summer.

U.S. Chamber Urges Congress to Reject Tax Increases and Prescription Drug Price Controls
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announced a deal on budget reconciliation.

“This legislation includes taxes that would discourage investment and undermine economic growth, and price controls that would limit American innovation. Both will make our economic problems worse. Congress and the Administration should reject these policies and focus on unleashing American made energy.”

This new $740 billion tax, prescription drug, and climate bill – while better and far smaller than the budget reconciliation bill proposed earlier this year – contains numerous provisions harmful to businesses and economic growth.

Stay well,

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