To our members:
The spring session of the Illinois General Assembly concluded in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 9. The Chambers All In for Economic Recovery Coalition stayed keyed into the activity around our platform throughout the session. This note shares an update and celebrates our successes on each platform item. We encourage you to click on the links provided for additional information on the action.
- Platform Item: Utilize American Rescue Plan Act funding to help replenish the unemployment trust fund and alleviate the impending financial drain from the state's businesses.
- A new law was passed and signed to put $2.7 billion dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies into the $4.5 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit. Chambers All In repeatedly shared with legislators the importance of this action for the business community's recovery. Replenishing this fund remained our highest priority this session. While we advocated for the entirety of the remaining ARPA funds to be used for this purpose, we recognize that this $2.7 billion infusion is a critical step toward reducing the burden on the business community.
- This action is coupled with legislation (SB157) to extend the deadline that would trigger higher taxes and reduced benefits for the unemployed. Should the amendment be signed into law by Governor Pritzker, the deadline would be moved from July 3, 2022 to January 1, 2023, allowing additional time for negotiation on behalf of the business community.
- Platform Item: Provide legal protections to employers who follow the CDC established safety guidelines from claims that COVID-19 was contracted at the place of business.
- While this item failed to gain traction, we remain steadfast in our call that business owners must be protected.
- Platform Item: Restructure the Minimum Wage Credit's incremental phase-out to allow small businesses to capture the original intent of the credit.
- The coalition is proud that we got HB 5320 introduced in this session. The legislation would have allowed the state's small businesses to take advantage of more significant credit amounts through the credit's phase-out in 2025. We secured 16 sponsors for the legislation through our advocacy work and brought it to a subject matter hearing in committee. While our coalition was optimistic that the bill would get incorporated into a larger package, unfortunately, this did not materialize. This past session has set a foundation to continue work on this issue.
- Platform Item: Extend the EDGE credit sunset clause out for another ten years and utilize the tax credit as an incentive to attract new businesses to the state and allow for the growth and development of existing companies.
- Illinois' economic development tool is the EDGE credit. This call was a part of the Chambers All In platform, as retaining the program allows Illinois to remain competitive against other states. We are grateful that Gov. Pritzker acknowledged the need to renew this credit in his February budget address. We are pleased the General Assembly agreed and extended the program for another five years (SB157).
Chambers All In for Economic Recovery is proud to advocate for our members with our peer chambers from across the state. We recognize that advocacy is a process and we look forward to continued work to better the state's business community in the weeks to come.
Should you have any questions or seek additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Ashley at Ashley@kankakeecountychamber.com or 815-351-9068.
President & CEO
Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce