Government Affairs Roundup
“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”
A lot of information coming out from the State of Illinois this last week. Check out below the information about corporate income tax deadline extension, masking in health care setting, BIPA judgement, and investment in Clean Energy Renovations and New Construction. Additionally, news on social security increase and locally a portion of Houbolt Road will be closed for some improvements.
*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by CITGO & Silver Cross Hospital
Social Security Announces 8.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2023
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 8.7 percent in 2023, the Social Security Administration announced today. On average, Social Security benefits will increase by more than $140 per month starting in January.
The 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 65 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2023. Increased payments to more than 7 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2022. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Medicare premiums are going down and Social Security benefits are going up in 2023, which will give seniors more peace of mind and breathing room. This year’s substantial Social Security cost-of-living adjustment is the first time in over a decade that Medicare premiums are not rising and shows that we can provide more support to older Americans who count on the benefits they have earned,” Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said.
To view a COLA message from Acting Commissioner Kijakazi, please visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgm5q4YT1AM
Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $160,200 from $147,000.
Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount. The fastest way to find out their new benefit amount is to access their personal my Social Security account to view the COLA notice online. It’s secure, easy, and people find out before the mail arrives. People can also opt to receive a text or email alert when there is a new message from Social Security–such as their COLA notice–waiting for them, rather than receiving a letter in the mail. People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
Information about Medicare changes for 2023 is available at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare, their new higher 2023 benefit amount will be available in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.
The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.ssa.gov/cola.
Houbolt Road Closure, Between US Route 6 and Mound Road, October 24 through November 6, 2022
As part of the City of Joliet’s Houbolt Road Reconstruction Project, Houbolt Road, between US Route 6 and Mound Road, will be closed beginning Monday, October 24, through Sunday, November 6, 2022. New lanes to reopen on Monday, November 7. (Previous dates were October 24 through November 4)
A full road closure is required to allow for the CSX Railroad Company to reconstruct the railroad crossing. All ramps at the interchange of Houbolt Road and I-80 will remain open as well as the intersection of Houbolt Road and Mound Road.
A detour will be posted that utilizes Houbolt Road, McDonough Street, Larkin Avenue, and US Route 6. During the closure, two new permanent concrete lanes will be paved on the east side of Houbolt Road between US Route 6 and Mound Road. Upon the reopening of Houbolt Road, traffic will be moved on to the new lanes.
This detour has been coordinated with the recent weekend lane closures along I-80, which are scheduled to be completed by October 23. Motorists are advised to exercise caution and seek alternate routes when traveling in the area. For further information, contact the City of Joliet Public Works Department at (815) 724-4200.
Governor Pritzker addresses Illinois’ lag in job growth
Governor Pritzker made an unexpected admission in his interview with Crain’s editorial board in a recent sit down. He said there are two main reasons behind the state’s decades-long habit of lagging behind the nation when it comes to job growth.
First, the state’s long-rocky finances have left the impression that tax hikes are on the way so you better not move or expand your company in Illinois. The second big negative on the state’s economy: perceptions that Illinois’ economic engine, Chicago, is too dangerous to consider for locating or expanding a business.
One option that the Governor has suggested for helping with this issue is Illinois could use a big deal-closing fund. Governor Pritzker said the fund would essentially be a pot of money the governor is empowered to dip into to sweeten economic development deals when the competition with other states is tight. “Michigan has, I believe, a $1 billion fund. They can just write a check,” he said. “It would be great if we had a closing fund in Illinois.”
Asked if he’ll ask Illinois lawmakers to authorize such a fund—Texas created such a program decades ago—Pritzker suggested it would depend on whether the state has an available budget surplus. If a recession comes, Illinois is much better positioned than it was a few years ago, Pritzker asserted. But he’s prepared to cut spending if need be, Pritzker said without getting specific.
Illinois Department of Revenue Announces Extended Income Tax Filing Due Date for Corporations
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) announced that corporations filing for the tax year ending on December 31, 2021, will have one extra month beyond the extended federal filing deadline to file their Illinois corporate income tax returns. Currently, the extended due date for calendar-year 2021 Form IL-1120 returns is October 17, 2022. The new extended due date is November 15, 2022.
Every corporation subject to income tax must file an income tax return by the required due date. The return must be filed if the corporation was in existence during any part of the tax year and must cover that part of the tax year that the corporation was in existence.
Historically, corporate income tax returns are generally due on or before April 15 of the following year for a calendar-year corporation, or the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the tax year for a fiscal-year corporation (15th day of the third month for June 30 filers). A corporation may generally receive an automatic extension of six months for filing its income tax return (seven months for June 30 filers). Required payments not received by the original due date may result in penalty and interest.
“A change in 2016 to the federal due date for non-June 30 fiscal year filers resulted in the federal and state automatic extensions coinciding,” Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris explained. “This year, we have extended the due date for corporate income tax returns, as we await permanent action later this month by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), a bipartisan legislative oversight committee.”
A proposed amendment before JCAR (86 Ill. Admin. Code 100.5020) will permanently extend the automatic extension deadline for all corporations filing Form IL-1120 to one month after the federal extended due dates for filing Form 1120 with the Internal Revenue Service. If adopted, this amendment will be retroactive to returns for tax year ending December 31, 2021, moving the extended due date to November 15, 2022.
IDOR will issue additional guidance if and when this amendment is adopted by JCAR.
Illinois drops mask requirement in health care settings
Face masks are now optional in Illinois health care settings, according to state rules. Governor Pritzker updated the state’s executive order as COVID-19 cases and deaths have steadily come down in recent weeks. While masks are no longer required, they will continue to be recommended in health care facilities within areas of high community transmission.
The update also removes the vaccine mandate and the weekly testing requirement for unvaccinated health care and long-term care workers. However, a federal rule from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention still requires vaccination for workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities.
Illinois’ new guidelines took effect Monday. The state said in a statement its rules are in line with updated recommendations from the CDC but individual care sites are still allowed to institute their own mask and vaccine policies if they wish. “As always, employers are encouraged to put appropriate testing, vaccination, and masking regulations in place if they so choose,” the statement reads.
Recent BIPA Case of Note
A recent decision involving a case on the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) deserves an explanation. This past week a Chicago federal jury ruled against railroad BNSF in the first BIPA case to go to trial.
In Rogers v. BNSF, the jury ruled that by collecting truck driver fingerprints as they entered BNSF yards, the railroad intentionally violated the BIPA statute over 45,000 times. An intentional or reckless violation carries a penalty of $5,000 per violation. This means the railroad is on the hook for up to $228 million in damages. BNSF attempted to shift blame onto a vendor serving as an independent contractor. The jury disagreed in less than an hour. BNSF will surely appeal.
The previous 1,000+ BIPA cases have settled out of court. It will be interesting to see what appellate judges think as to the proportionality of the damages to the actual harm caused here. Please make sure that you are up to date on policy concerning BIPA as you can clearly see by the volume of cases that it will continue to be an employer issue.
Pritzker Administration Announces Launch of a Statewide PACE Program to Spur Commercial Investment in Clean Energy Renovations and New Construction
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Finance Authority today announced the launch of a statewide PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program to spur investment in electric vehicle charging stations, energy efficiency, and water conservation, and to stimulate the growth of renewable energy and resilient building design throughout Illinois. The Illinois Finance Authority PACE program, now available to all Illinois counties and municipalities, is designed to reduce costs, improve service delivery, and create uniformity in Illinois’ Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing market.
Under Illinois law, counties, cities, villages, and incorporated towns may create PACE areas at the request of for-profit and non-profit owners of commercial, industrial, and multi-family (of 5 or more units) properties. C-PACE financing can be used by owners and developers of commercial properties to finance or refinance eligible clean energy improvements in connection with the renovation of existing buildings and new construction, in each case up to 25% of the value of the property.
“Here in Illinois, we are at the very forefront of the clean energy revolution,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to the Illinois Finance Authority PACE Program, we are making it easier for communities throughout Illinois to advance our state’s clean energy goals like EV adoption and energy storage—all while attracting capital investment. This is exactly the kind of program that will help us achieve our goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.”
“We know climate action is needed now, and we all can have a role in paving the way to a greener future in our state. Not only are we committed to transitioning to clean energy, we are also focused on empowering communities statewide to be part of this transformation,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “The Illinois Finance Authority PACE Program provides a path to invest in improvements that foster much-needed development, bring down energy costs for commercial property owners, and ensure we effectively work together to build a more sustainable state.”
On October 11, 2022, the inaugural meeting of the Illinois C-PACE Open Market Initiative, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation and component unit of the Illinois Finance Authority, was held. The nonpartisan, nonpolitical Illinois Finance Authority PACE program approved at the inaugural meeting allows capital providers to not only originate C-PACE financings in a statewide, open market sponsored by IFA’s C-PACE Open Market Initiative as an independent, neutral program administrator but also allows capital providers to administer and service PACE Projects for their own account.
While C-PACE financing offers attractive features not available elsewhere and plenty of capital from enthusiastic investors, the use of C-PACE financing in Illinois has been limited to date. “Feedback we received from local government leaders indicated an interest in C-PACE financing, but not in devoting the time and resources needed to develop and implement a property assessed clean energy program. Changes to State law and the launch of the Illinois Finance Authority PACE Program addresses those concerns which we expect will lead to statewide adoption, all at no cost to each participating county and municipality,” said IFA Vice President Brad Fletcher.
After multiple legislative efforts, in July of 2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed into law a comprehensive technical rewrite of the Illinois PACE Act making it possible for IFA to finance or refinance several PACE Projects located in Chicago, Rosemont, Beardstown, Highland Park, and Skokie totaling $72,388,222. These PACE Projects will result in estimated annual energy savings of 9,781,288 kWh and conserve approximately 8,615,790 gallons of water each year for the commercial property owners that voluntarily requested C-PACE financing. Additional PACE Projects in Springfield, Quincy, and Freeport are currently under consideration.
“When Governor Pritzker signed into law the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, he designated the Illinois Finance Authority as Illinois’ Climate Bank. By easing the burden on counties and municipalities, the Illinois Finance Authority PACE program will encourage the renovation and construction of more green energy properties, helping Illinois to achieve its zero-emission goals,” IFA Executive Director Chris Meister.
Counties and municipalities interested in learning more about the Illinois Finance Authority PACE Program are encouraged to visit its website here. Contact Brad Fletcher (firstname.lastname@example.org) to opt into the Illinois Finance Authority PACE Program for free!
Executive Vice President
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry