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Government Affairs Reports


July 17, 2015


More Continuous Session

The House was in session Wednesday. The Senate met Tuesday and Wednesday. The House will be back next Tuesday, the 21st, while the Senate has no scheduled return date at this point.


Temporary Budget Work

The Senate concurred with the one-month appropriation bill for “essential services” after the bill was amended to include state worker pay. SB 2040, as amended in the House, cleared the Senate on a vote of 39-0-15. The bill now heads to the Governor, though it is unlikely he signs it.

There are concerns that the one-month budget is based on the Democrats’ budget plan, which includes a $4 billion hole over the full year. Republicans prefer to use the revenue estimate and divide by 12. In general, the Chamber supports a balanced budget.

Gov. Bruce Rauner believes state government can continue to pay state workers, which would keep state government open for business. Two judges in two jurisdictions in Illinois have ruled on opposite ends: One saying there can be no paychecks without a budget in place; the other ruling that paychecks should be given. The final word on that may come from the Illinois Supreme Court as AG Madigan has asked the high court to immediately take up the measure under the motion of an emergency appeal. In the interim, the Comptroller successfully processed payroll checks for the July 15 payroll.


Veto Override

The Senate voted on a partisan roll call to override the Governor’s veto of 5 of the 9 budget bills that passed in May; SB 2031, SB 2032, SB 2034, SB 2036, and SB 2037. In debate, senate pres. John Cullerton characterized these bills as the public safety components of the budget. They will now be sent to the House, which has 15 calendar days once the bills have been read into the record to act on them. At this point it is unlikely the House has the 71 votes needed to override as Rep. Jack Franks has publicly indicated he is still a “no”.


Property Tax Relief

The House took up their weekly property tax bill, which took the form of HA 1 and HA 2 to HB 680. HA 1 was the freeze which was adopted, and HA 2 was the collective bargaining limitations and prevailing wage language. The underlying bill remains on third reading. This is identical to previous proposals HB 692HB 693 and HB 697.

The Senate took up their own property tax bill, sponsored by senate pres. John Cullerton. SB 316 as amended, would have imposed a property tax freeze for the 2016 through 2018 levy years. The bill also contained provisions dealing with Chicago teacher pension funding and would also have mandated the adoption of a new state school aid formula by sunsetting the current formula effective July 1, 2017. Due to the immediate effective date, SB 316 needed a three-fifths majority and ultimately failed on a vote of 32-0-22.


Other Session Work

The House, on Wednesday, held another Committee of the Whole, which focused on the FY 16 budget. Testimony included representatives from Respite Care, the Lincoln Challenge, domestic violence programs, the summer jobs program, and Autism funding.


Cook County Sales Tax

Earlier this week the Illinois Chamber of Commerce was a cosigner of a letter sent to Cook County Commissioners stating our opposition to the 1% sales tax increase. As a result of the 1% increase pushed by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County taxpayers are once again paying the highest sales tax in the U.S.

President Preckwinkle pushed this increase due to the General Assembly in Springfield not passing legislation enabling pension reform for Cook County. While pension reform is a serious issue for Illinois, this legislation was unnecessarily rushed forward.

Cook County has until October 1st to notify the Illinois Department of Revenue of a change in the sales tax rate for the next year. With plenty of time remaining between now and October first for legislators and Governor Bruce Rauner to address issues at the state level, there is time for this issue to be resolved. Additionally, there is no guarantee that this revenue will be used for Cook County pensions.

Prior to the vote, President Preckwinkle did not release the details of Cook County’s FY 16 proposed budget. This lack of information combined with the speed at which the proposal was introduced and voted on denied taxpayers the opportunity to understand the situation. President Preckwinkle has publicly stated that if pension reform is passed that she would consider rolling back the sales tax increase. If this is the case, we again ask why this proposal was rushed through.

We will continue to monitor this issue and engage with President Preckwinkle and other Cook County Commissioners after the state budget situation is resolved.


Annual Meeting and Luncheon

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday had a successful Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. The Annual Meeting is one of the premiere events of the year for business, political and civic leaders from across the state. With more than 450 attendees, the event included a recognition of this year’s Edie Award winners as well as a presentation by Tyson Food’s president and CEO, Donnie Smith.


“Positioning Tyson Foods as a Global Business Leader”

As the keynote speaker of the Annual Luncheon, Donnie Smith spoke about Tyson Foods and the goal for the company to be a global leader in food experiences and the opportunity to be the largest protein focused food company in the world, with Illinois playing a large role in achieving that goal. Also discussed was Tyson Food’s responsibility to lead conversation on sustainable food production.


Edie Awards

The Edies honor those who imagine, design, invest, build and bring jobs, growth and prosperity to Illinois communities. The Illinois Chamber, in conjunction with the Illinois Economic Development Association and sponsor ComEd, were proud to honor the winners of the 7th Annual Economic Development in Illinois (Edie) Awards at our Annual Meeting. Winners included:

St. Nicholas Brewing Co., DuQuoin
Horizon Pharma, Deerfield
Magid Glove & Safety Manufacturing Co., Romeoville
Practice Velocity, Machesney Park
Shops and Lofts at 47, Chicago


Military Committee Newsletter

The Military Committee has published its first newsletter. If you are interested in the committee, email Ben Brockschmidt.


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