As the unifying voice for business in Illinois, the Chamber pursues an aggressive agenda in Springfield. Working closely with member businesses, our full-time Government Affairs representatives strive to make state government more business-friendly and the Illinois business climate more competitive.
Government Affairs Team
Left to right: Tom Wolf, Connie Beard, Jay Shattuck, Doug Whitley, Todd Maisch, Andrew Proctor, Laura Minzer, Sarah Frye and Gideon Blustein.
Government Affairs Report
January 4, 2013
Green Light on Pension Reform?
The January lame duck session may see some major substantive action after all. Governor Quinn appeared at a press conference this morning with DuPage County Board Chairman and former Senator Dan Cronin and a number of DuPage County legislators to announce movement on a pension reform deal that may receive a House committee action on Monday morning. Following the press conference, the Governor reached out personally to Chamber President and CEO Doug Whitley to discuss the encouraging progress on pension reform and confirmed statements made earlier that Speaker Madigan appears open to deferring discussions on the cost shift to schools and universities until a later date.
The House Personnel and Pensions Committee is scheduled to hear House Amendment #9 to SB 1673, which was filed just today, at 10 am on Monday, January 7. The amendment contains many of the reform provisions that had previously surfaced in pension reform proposals, including reduced benefits to retirees in exchange for state contribution guarantees, as well as the cost shift provisions that the Governor announced earlier would be set aside for later consideration. Legislative staff has suggested that this may be for discussion purposes and could later be amended to remove the cost shift provisions; provisions that effectively led to a stalemate on reform this past spring.
The House is scheduled to return on Sunday, January 6 and while the Senate has not committed to any additional lame duck session days, Senate members were told they could be called back on Tuesday, January 8 – the final day of the 97th General Assembly – to take up any substantive action the House may have sent to them. A pension reform bill passed by the House would likely trigger that return.
Tax Return Disclosure Bill to be Heard Sunday
Legislation that would put corporation’s private income tax information on the internet will be heard in House Revenue Committee this Sunday upon the House’s return for the “Lame Duck” session. SB 282, as amended, passed the Senate with the minimum votes necessary despite strenuous object from the Chamber and a united business community. Contrary to information the Chamber and others received about the fate of the bill in the House, the majority did assign the bill to committee and post it for hearing.
The Chamber has worked the issue over the holiday season and all this week. Members have also responded with a strong grassroots effort against the bill. While this bill has surprised us in the past, we believe the bill is more likely to be defeated in committee on Sunday and it is likely to pass. Committee members have been receptive to the key thrusts of business opposition: the bill is an unprecedented betrayal of taxpayer privacy; no other states require such disclosure, once again distinguishing Illinois as anti-employer, and the bill puts employers doing business in Illinois at a competitive disadvantage by allowing competitors to harvest vital tax information.