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Government Affairs Reports

                                           

September 5, 2014

 

Repeal of New Premium Tax on Fall Veto Session Agenda

Despite our requests for a veto or amendatory veto Governor Quinn signed SB 3324, on August 15th. SB 3324 imposes a new tax on Illinois-based companies who self-insure risk through the use of captive insurance companies. The bill, which amended the Insurance Code, was promoted by the Department of Insurance during legislative session as a technical bill designed to close “loopholes” created by the federal Dodd-Frank Act. The tax aspects of the bill were not debated in Committee and, in fact, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Wm. Haine, was unaware that the bill imposed a new tax on captive insurance plans when it was called for a vote. The new tax will take effect January 1, 2015 unless repealed during veto session. Senator Haine advised us this week that he will be sponsoring repealing legislation during this fall’s veto session. In a September 3rd letter to Governor Quinn that was signed by all 47 House Republicans, House Minority Leader, Jim Durkin, promised his members would vote to repeal the new law. A legislative amendment to repeal the tax is being prepared and we will advise members of the bill number as soon as it is filed.

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization

Since January of this year, two of our staff, Laura Ortega and Benjamin Brockschmidt, have been actively advocating for reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. The Ex-Im Bank finances sales of U.S. exports to international buyers while insuring foreign purchases of American goods for customers who do not want or cannot accept credit risk. The Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private lenders but rather steps in when private banks determine that a sale is too risky to finance. The Ex-Im Bank requires congressional authority to continue operating and has been reauthorized every time since it was established in the 1930s. However, some Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives want the banks authorization to expire, arguing that the U.S. government should not play a role in financing sales to foreign companies and that it has little or no impact on small or medium sized businesses.

In Illinois, these opinions could not be farther from the truth. Illinois the fifth-largest exporting state in the U.S. and over the last five years the Ex-Im Bank has helped provide $8 billion in sales to 299 Illinois companies, of which 205 are small businesses, 22 are minority owned, and 25 are owned by women. In June, CEO Todd Maisch co-signed a letter to the members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation asking for their support to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. We have also engaged with member companies who use the Ex-Im Bank, advocated for reauthorization with other organizations across the U.S., and met with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation about this issue.

U.S. EPA Proposed Waters of the U.S Rule

The U.S. EPA is considering a Agency’s proposed rule, which would change the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The EPA’s proposal would allow the agency to assert jurisdiction over ditches, conveyances, isolated waters, and other waters, that are presently under the jurisdiction of the states. If enacted, this rule would add to the uncertainty of what would be covered jurisdictionally and who would or would not need a permit. Additionally, the proposed rule relies on a set of complicated regulatory definitions, including new and poorly defined terms, which are based on ambiguous and untested legal theories and regulatory exclusions.
We have been working with allies across Illinois and across the U.S. to stop this rule from coming into effect. Earlier this year at a U.S. Science Committee hearing, Congressman Randy Hultgren specifically mentioned a letter we sent to him during his time. That letter was also sent to other Illinois Congressional offices as well as the U.S. EPA.

Additional if needed – Next week we are hosting a press conference with other organizations from Illinois about how bad this proposed rule. The participants include representatives from nearly all industries, which shows how bad this proposed rule really is.

Illinois Chamber Endorses Tom Cross for Illinois Treasurer

On Thursday the Illinois Chamber announced its endorsement of Tom Cross for State Treasurer. Because of the Office of Treasurer’s expanding role in the business community and increasingly becoming the spokesperson for the fiscal integrity of the state, we believed it important to do so, making this the first time the Illinois Chamber has ever endorsed in the Illinois Treasurer’s race.

State Representative Tom Cross’s stances on fiscal policy issues, opposition to a progressive income tax, and pledge to use the office to require the legislature to enact a balanced budget, make him the best person for the role of state treasurer.

Furthermore, Cross has repeatedly been a recipient of the Illinois Chamber’s Champion of Free Enterprise award, highlighting his pro-business and pro-jobs voting record supporting employers and employees in Illinois.

 

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Free Luncheon on Employer Grassroots Policy and Political Engagement

You are invited to join Greg Casey, President & CEO of BIPAC and Todd Maisch, President & CEO of the Illinois Chamber for a free luncheon on, September 10 in Naperville.  The Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the DuPage Business Council is hosting a luncheon with senior leadership from BIPAC to help provide guidance to Illinois employers and employees on how to engage in voter education and public policy engagement at the workplace.

The business community must become more involved in the electoral process to improve the legislative and regulatory environment. This luncheon will provide practical guidance to employers on how they can educate their employees on public policy matters and engage in the political process. The result will be a better business environment for all of us to foster growth and profitability.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
11:30am to 1:00pm
Hotel Arista
2139 City Gate Lane, Naperville, Illinois 60563

Topics for discussion include:

  • Best Practices for Employee and Member Communications,
  • Illinois General Election Activities,
  • Tools and Strategies to Influence Policies and Politics,
  • Involvement Options and Implementing Employer and Employee Grassroots Activities,

Members of BIPAC’s and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s senior leadership will be giving tangible, practical guidance to state business leaders about best practices in influencing the political landscape and how to engage employees and members most effectively. BIPAC is focusing on states with political races that are particularly important to the business community so that business leaders can play the most effective role possible in shaping political outcomes and creating a legislative and regulatory environment that fosters growth and profitability.

Attendance is free, but RSVPs are required. To RSVP, please contact Andrew Proctor, The Illinois Chamber’s Director of Advocacy at aproctor@ilchamber.org.

More About BIPAC
The Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) helps the business community play a more active role in the public policy process. BIPAC provides its members the tools and strategies they need to keep their employees abreast of the key policy decisions impacting their livelihood, and opportunities to get involved in the public policy process. BIPAC helps state business organizations and its members impact political outcomes through the nation’s largest employee-focused grassroots network in the states, providing meaningful political analysis, crafting forward-thinking election strategies, and deploying cutting-edge PAC strategies. BIPAC is made up of more than 6,300 businesses and associations and has deployment partners in more than 40 states.

 

 

 

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