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

Chamber members:

A good amount of information in today’s roundup. First, the usual Federal government shutdown update. Congress is racing toward a Friday shutdown deadline, with leaders putting the finishing touches on the final funding package for fiscal year 2024 amid uncertainty about the timeline for passing the legislation.

Funding for the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and State; the Internal Revenue Service; and general government and foreign operations could lapse Saturday morning, leaving lawmakers with little time to get the package to President Biden’s desk.

*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by CITGO*

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood Finalizes Nearly $13 Million For Local Projects in Government Funding Package
Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14) announced that $12,662,536 in Community Project Funding that she previously secured for Illinois’s 14th District in the 2024 appropriations bills has been finalized. This funding, included in the first of the appropriations government funding packages, responds directly to some of the most pressing needs in Illinois’ 14th District.

“From my very first day in Congress, bringing federal resources home to the 14th District has been a top priority. These federal funds to support critical infrastructure, address our hunger crisis, improve services for survivors of domestic violence, and so much more, will have a profound impact on our northern Illinois community,” Rep. Underwood said. “These investments grow our economy and will make a tangible difference in the lives of so many Illinoisans. I am proud to have fought for funding that will make our community healthier, safer, and stronger.”

Rep. Underwood championed funding for 14 projects that will directly benefit Illinois’s 14th District residents. Of the fourteen, seven are impactful here in our area:

  • $950,000 for Lewis University to support innovation in semiconductor manufacturing through research at their state-of-the-art semiconductor innovation and workforce development center. The project will offer Lewis students, scientists, and engineers opportunities to collaborate with semiconductor manufacturers to improve production processes and create more jobs in the industry. These innovations will help advance cutting-edge technologies in Illinois, boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing to protect American economic and national security, and grow our economy.
  • $850,000 for the Greater Joliet Area YMCA, a major investment in young people in our community, to establish the Joliet Salvation Army – YMCA Youth Innovation Center. The funding will support the renovation of 4,000 square feet of youth classrooms at the Joliet Salvation Army Corps Center. The Center will host after school childcare, summer day camp, and STEAM enrichment programming. The Joliet Salvation Army Corps Center has temporarily hosted YMCA programs in the past, but these facility improvements will make this a permanent offering. The project will include repairing or replacing HVAC systems, repairing and resealing the parking lot, classroom renovations, security system upgrades, and the purchase of fixtures, furniture, and equipment.
  • $477,000 for Guardian Angel Community Services to employ six, full-time staff members and purchase office equipment and supplies at Guardian Angel Community Service’s primary Sexual Assault Service Center and their two satellite locations. The funding will also help the Center maintain its 24-hour hotline for survivors of sexual assault. This funding will ensure they can continue providing critical services – including counseling, medical and legal advocacy, case management, a 24-hour hotline, and educational and informational services – to survivors of sexual violence and their non-offending significant others. The project will also strengthen partnerships with local schools, the Will County Adult Detention Facility, and the River Valley Juvenile Justice Center to provide programming on age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention.
  • $1,552,500 for the Joliet Regional Port District to expand the aircraft staging and apron pavement area for the growing pilot flight training schools at Lewis University Airport Chicago-Romeoville (LOT). The funding is a significant investment in critically important local infrastructure. LOT has historically served as the South Chicago Metro area’s main flight training base, and with additional space, training activities will be able to operate more safely and efficiently, eliminate wasted operating fuel, and serve more student pilots. By increasing the number of training spots available, this project will help address our nation’s pilot shortage.
  • $826,779 for Pace Bus – Heritage Division to purchase an electric bus for their fleet for use in their I-55 express bus service to downtown Chicago. The new electric bus will serve passengers boarding in Plainfield and other southwest suburbs as they travel to downtown Chicago. Pace Suburban Bus is the only transit option for much of the Chicago suburbs and exurbs, serving tens of thousands of riders including seniors, those with disabilities, and veterans receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The project will help fight climate change in northern Illinois, reduce traffic on I-55, strengthen Illinois’ suburban transit system, and help reduce health risks associated with air pollution.
  • $959,757 for the Village of Romeoville to help protect public health in Romeoville support the replacement of their sanitary lift station, an essential part of the wastewater system. The existing 60-year-old lift station has severely corroded, causing wastewater to occasionally back up into homes and businesses. This project addresses the health and environmental hazards of wastewater exposure for nearly 10,000 residents who are served by the lift station, businesses in the downtown area, and patrons of public facilities including recreational facilities, schools, and a library.
  • $200,000 for the City of Crest Hill to fund a Corrosion Control Treatment Study to examine how the new water source the town is transitioning to will interact with the town’s existing water pipes, looking specifically at levels of copper and lead. Crest Hill is part of the Grand Prairie Water Commission, a group of six communities in northern Illinois that will be utilizing Lake Michigan as an alternative water source. This study is an important step in the transition that will ensure the community continues to have access to safe and clean water.

Governor Pritzker Announces $5 Million in Funding for the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced $5 million in funding for the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program. This program is a partnership between DCEO, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness to Prevent and End Homelessness and is an extension of the Illinois Job Training and Economic Development Program (JTED). Grantees will be selected through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) process.

“We know that meaningful employment can lead to financial and housing stability,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That’s why the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program is seeking to prevent and end homelessness by helping our most vulnerable residents become career ready.”

“Preventing and ending homelessness takes an all hands on deck approach. The Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program not only provides support for those experiencing homelessness, but it also provides meaningful employment, bolstering our workforce,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “This program is building the groundwork to uplift our most vulnerable Illinoisans.”

The goal of the Home Illinois Workforce Pilot is to support individuals experiencing homelessness by improving employment opportunities, helping them establish financial stability and improving their ability to afford permanent housing in their community. The program is an essential part of the JTED Program. The JTED Program was created to provide workforce training and wrap-around services to bolster equitable workforce recovery for Illinoisans struggling to gain meaningful employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Home Illinois Workforce Pilot Program is essential to DCEO’s continued efforts to support Illinois families who need it most,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “This additional funding will increase job opportunities, providing a pathway to sustainable employment and ensure individuals who are underemployed, unemployed and underrepresented have the support and resources they need to obtain permanent housing.”

Eligible applicants must be the lead entity of the Continuum of Care (COC) organizations, or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) administrative entities that have demonstrated expertise and effectiveness in administering workforce development programs [20 ILCS 605/605-415(b)]. The program will be implemented in areas throughout the state that connect people who are experiencing homelessness to employment and that demonstrate systemic coordination of the homeless response system and workforce system.

The JTED program regulations require that services be provided to the “target population,” defined as persons who are unemployed, underemployed, or underrepresented that have one or more barriers to employment.

Eligible entities can apply for grants up to $2 million. Applications will be accepted until May 3, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. To view the NOFO and apply for the grant, please visit the DCEO website.

To help applicants prepare to apply for funding, DCEO will hold a webinar from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on March 26, 2024. Interested parties are also encouraged to reach out to for application assistance.

Pritzker Administration Announces New Cohort for Program Focusing on Equity in Affordable Housing Development
Governor JB Pritzker, together with the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), announced the inaugural class of the Next Generation Capacity Building Initiative (Next Gen). Next Gen will provide capital, training, and technical assistance focused on reducing barriers to entry for developers of color. The initial cohort of 21 emerging developers are part of the State’s continuing efforts to support the capacity and growth of a diverse pool of affordable housing developers in Illinois.

“From Chicago to East St. Louis, every person in Illinois deserves access to fair and affordable housing,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The Nex Gen program is creating equitable opportunities for 21 diverse housing developers from across the state and building the next generation of affordable housing developers in Illinois.”

Beginning in March, participants will receive 160 hours of curriculum focused on developing affordable housing utilizing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. Discussion topics will range from forming and managing a development group, financing and deal structuring, the IHDA application process, property management and more. The provided technical assistance will be curated to participants’ specific needs and include tracking milestones of program participants and their development projects. Throughout the year, participants will also be given opportunities to network with housing developers to ask questions, learn best practices, and receive advice during their journey.

“We want Illinois to be a leader in producing talented affordable housing developers that reflect the many communities that make up this great state,” IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust said. “These professionals in the Next Gen program will help break down the barriers that have long existed in the field of housing development. Greater diversity among our development partners will lead to positive outcomes for residents and the communities where they reside.”

After completing the curriculum, Next Gen participants will be eligible to apply for a pre-development loan funded by IHDA and administered by LISC. This capital will support the pre-construction and planning costs necessary to establish project design, scope, site control, and other early costs that have historically created significant barriers for small-scale or emerging developers.

After completing the curriculum, Next Gen participants will be eligible to apply for a pre-development loan funded by IHDA and administered by LISC. This capital will support the pre-construction and planning costs necessary to establish project design, scope, site control, and other early costs that have historically created significant barriers for small-scale or emerging developers.

Next Gen is funded through a $5 million Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund Bond Indenture. The application portal will open in October 2024 for selection of the 2025 cohort. Additional information on the Next Gen program can be found here.

“The launch of the Next Generation Capacity Building Initiative reflects our dedication to building a strong, diverse talent pipeline in affordable housing development,” said Meghan Harte, Executive Director, LISC. “Through this program, we aim to equip these emerging leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of the industry. We are excited to see these participants grow into impactful contributors to the affordable housing sector.”

“Being part of the Next Generation Capacity Building Initiative is a tremendous opportunity for me. I’m excited to engage with industry professionals, learn from experienced mentors, and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive housing development sector,” said Next Gen cohort Michele Jarrell. “This program opens doors for aspiring developers like me, and I’m eager to make a meaningful impact.”

Higher Education Report Seeks Additional $1.4 Billion
The latest report on funding equity in Illinois aims to secure an additional $1.4 billion for higher education, as Democrats propose increased taxpayer contributions to support public universities. However, a Republican legislator has raised concerns about whether this investment will prevent students from seeking higher education opportunities outside of Illinois.

Established by law in 2021, the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding released a report suggesting that an annual increase of $100 million to $135 million for public universities could address the funding gap within 10-15 years.

Robin Steans, president of Advance Illinois, likened the proposed funding formula to the successful model implemented in K-12 schools in the state. Despite Illinois facing challenges such as low literacy and math proficiency rates, Steans believes the state’s prior investments in critical districts have positioned it well to weather crises like the pandemic.

However, recent data from Illinois’ 2023 Report Card indicates that despite increased funding, 65% of the state’s 1.86 million public school children still struggle to read at grade level.

State Representative Paul Jacobs, serving on the House Appropriations-Higher Education Committee, criticized the lack of involvement of relevant committees in the funding discussions. He emphasized the need for universities to offer attractive programs to students, highlighting that his grandchildren chose out-of-state schools due to cost concerns.

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 includes a $24.6 million increase in public university funding. Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford emphasized the importance of addressing in-state disparities before considering programs like tuition-matching initiatives.

While some improvements in enrollment have been observed, Jacobs noted that high fees across Illinois universities contribute to students choosing out-of-state institutions. He attributed this trend to high taxes and what he perceives as anti-business policies in the state.

Push Back from Manufactures’ Group on EV Mandates
As Governor J.B. Pritzker persists in advancing his objective of increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles on Illinois roads, a certain faction contends that the nation is hastily moving towards banning the sale of new gasoline vehicles.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers have expressed concern that both federal and state governments are swiftly implementing policies that restrict consumer choice and phase out the availability of new gasoline-powered cars.

Chet Thompson, President and CEO of AFPM, remarked, “The fact that consumers in a couple of years are going to be deprived of their ability to choose the cars that are most popular and best meet their needs, that is not something that people are happy about.”

Pritzker has set a goal of having one million electric vehicles on Illinois roads by 2030, asserting that electric vehicles will become commonplace and positioning Illinois at the forefront of workforce readiness.

Thompson criticized President Joe Biden’s electric vehicle agenda, deeming it detrimental to families, the economy, and U.S. manufacturing jobs, and suggesting that the transition is occurring too rapidly. He pointed out that in a few years, California will mandate the sale of only electric vehicles, encompassing 35% of the new car market, with two-thirds of cars nationwide compelled to be electric. While legislation is pending in Springfield to align Illinois with California’s stringent emission standards, Pritzker has voiced opposition to the idea.

The adoption of electric vehicles has been sluggish among Americans. Electric vehicle manufacturers, such as Tesla and Ford, have been reducing prices to bolster sales, and General Motors is considering reintroducing plug-in hybrids, potentially deviating from its prior commitment to transitioning exclusively to pure electric vehicles.

Rivian Automotive, headquartered in Normal, recently announced layoffs amounting to 10% of its workforce and intends to maintain production levels this year on par with those of 2023. The company also disclosed the suspension of construction on a $5 billion factory in Georgia, opting instead to transfer production of R2 mid-sized SUVs to Normal. In 2017, Rivian received nearly $50 million in Illinois tax credits aimed at job creation.

Recurring Business:

Will County Long-Range Transportation Plan: Our Way Forward 2050
Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and the Will County Division of Transportation announced that the county is embarking on a long-term planning effort to guide the next 25 years of transportation projects. The Plan will incorporate public feedback in evaluating future priorities, including through an online survey and workshops.

During the development of the plan, the county-wide infrastructure for all modes of transportation will be assessed, including walking, biking, driving transit, and freight. Once completed, the plan will be used to identify transportation investments that align with the public’s goals for the county, such as improved safety and quality of life, reduced congestion, and enhanced economic development.

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Illinois Regulatory Alert – March 15, 2024

Department of Revenue
Retailers’ Occupation Tax (86 Ill. Adm. Code 130)
Text of Rulemaking: 48 Ill. Reg. 3576
Link to Flinn Report summary

Makes numerous changes. Key points: ■ Machinery and Equipment: ● Machinery and equipment that will be used in manufacturing or assembling personal property for sale/lease is exempt from tax regardless of whether the manufacturer or some other person owns the materials used in the process and whether the materials used are made apart from or incident to the seller’s productions of custom machines, tools, dies, jigs, patterns, gauges, or similar items of no commercial value on special order. Machinery and equipment does not, however, include the foundations for or special-purpose buildings to house or support the machinery and equipment. ● Preparing food for immediate consumption does not qualify for the manufacturing exemption. Food production or processing, such as using baking equipment to make bakery items, is considered manufacturing as long as the equipment is used primarily in the production or processing of food that is not for immediate consumption. ● Using machinery or equipment for HVAC or lighting purposes does not qualify for the manufacturing exemption. ■ Chiropodists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Optometrists, and Opticians are not engaged in selling tangible personal property and are not subject to the Retailer’s Occupation Tax, but to the extent tangible personal property is transferred incident to service, they may be liable for service occupation tax. ■ Physicians and Surgeons incur retailer’s occupation tax when they sell items of tangible personal property apart from their rendering of service, and service occupation tax when they transfer those items incident to service.

Comments (through 4/29/24), requests for public hearing (through 3/29/24), or questions to:

Kimberly Rossini
Illinois Department of Revenue
Legal Services Office
101 West Jefferson
Springfield, Illinois 62794


Stay well,

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