Last week, the House was in session Wednesday and Thursday. The deadline for bill introductions in the House was Friday. Senate members spent the week in district. Senate-bill introductions concluded last Friday. The next substantive deadline is Friday, March 27, which is the deadline for bills to be passed out of standing committees.
Deadlines are for stand-alone introductions. As such, introduced bills may be amended at any time. Committee hearings for both houses will begin this week.
Here is a brief listing of some of the recent introductions.
SB 1836 creates the Healthy Workplace Act and requires employers to provide seven paid sick days to part-time and full-time employees each year they are employed.
HB 3554 provides that employees must be given notice of the shifts to be worked two weeks in advance of the scheduled shift. In addition, it establishes requirements for minimum pay for working shifts outside of scheduled shifts.
HB 3619 expands the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to include all employers rather any employer with four or more employees. It increases the maximum civil penalty for all violations to $5,000.
HB 3336 provides a sales tax exemption for building materials, machinery, and equipment used in the construction and operation of data centers. It includes an electricity excise tax exemption to help offset some of the high-power costs incurred in the operation of data centers.
SB 1863 would encourage new investment in several infrastructure areas including public buildings, transportation assets, and other public assets that are in dire need of improvements.
SB 1660 focuses on the EDGE Credit sale or transfer. The EDGE credit is a credit against the Illinois Income Tax Act awarded for a combination of investment and new job creation in Illinois. This legislation provides that a company that is unable to use the credit against its own income taxes because it has no income may sell or transfer the credit to another company.
SB 1737 amends the Illinois Income Tax Act to allow small businesses to immediately expense property that must be depreciated for federal income tax purposes.
HB 3888 addresses the sunset of the Manufacturers’ Purchase Credit by modifying the definition of manufacturing machinery and equipment to include production-related, tangible personal property used in a manufacturing operation.
Minimum wage legislation SB 11 seeks to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.00 beginning July 1 and increases it by $0.50 each July 1 until July 1, 2019, at which point the minimum wage will be $11.00. It creates a $1,500 per employee income tax credit for employers with fewer than 50 employees.
HB 166 creates the Family Leave Insurance Program Act, which requires the Illinois Department of Labor to establish and administer a Family Leave Insurance Program that provides family leave insurance benefits to eligible employees who take unpaid family leave to care for a newborn child, a newly adopted or newly placed foster child, or a family member with a serious health condition. The program is financed by a $2.50 per month fee paid by employees of employers of 50 or more employees.
HB 432 proposes employers would be required to pay overtime to any employee earning less than $69,000 per year. The weekly or monthly equivalent will increase annually by the percentage of increase in the consumer price index.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of serving on a panel with Congressman Bill Foster and Mayor Tom Weisner, among others, to raise awareness of Illinois being a “Payer State” within our country.
In a typical year, $20 billion leaves Illinois; we pay $1.36 in federal taxes for every dollar of federal spending returned to the state. In fact, according to figures compiled by the Pew Charitable Trust, Illinois receives the third smallest amount of federal spending per capita in the country.
While the entire country is governed by the same federal tax code, individual and corporate tax burdens vary substantially between states. Many states get much more back in federal spending than others. This transfer of wealth from the “Payer States” to the “Taker States” inevitably shows up as higher state taxes, higher government debt and underinvestment in education, infrastructure and health care in the “Payer States.”
While much has been said in recent years to malign Illinois employers, they have done their best through the economic downturn to support their employees, communities, state and even their country.
According to the Tax Foundation, Illinois businesses are among the most generous in the nation. Only businesses in four other states had a higher tax rate than Illinois’ 9.5 percent last year.
It’s no wonder business men and women from throughout the state are frustrated with the opportunities before them.
With respect to our neighbors, Wisconsin had the next closest corporate income tax rate at 7.9 percent. And yet for every dollar generated from taxes, Wisconsin saw a return of $1.68.
Indiana, at 7.5 percent, realized more than $2 in the exchange. Nearly every state around Illinois saw a positive return…but not Illinois.
According to WalletHub.com, Illinois was the second least dependent on federal return on taxpayer investment. During the 1990s and 2000s, Illinois contributed $2 trillion in Federal taxes. Unfortunately, during that same 20-year period, we received less than $1.3 trillion in Federal spending — a mere 65 percent of what was contributed.
How would look if there was more equity in the distribution of Federal spending? Illinois could focus investment in new technologies and equipment, stimulate the expansion of existing businesses, address stagnant wages and revitalize infrastructure and education services. With refocused investment, Illinois would be poised to attract new business ventures and top talent. These changes would reinforce Illinois’ role as a business leader and net contributor to our nation’s prosperity.
Congressman Foster recently introduced The Payer State Transparency Act of 2015. The Act would require the Office of Management and Budget, in conjunction with the Council of Economic Advisors and the Treasury Department, to produce annual assessments of net economic effect on individual states of all federal spending programs. A comparison of these figures against a model of state tax burdens developed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis would be reported.
We appreciate Congressman Foster’s commitment to the people of Illinois. We look forward to better transparency – and more discussion – when it comes to this topic.
Gov. Bruce Rauner announced recently the selection of Jim Schultz as director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. According to the announcement, Schultz’s experience in agribusiness and as a banking entrepreneur gives him the breadth of knowledge to develop and support businesses across the State of Illinois. He will bring 30 years of experience to the position.
Schultz is currently the chairman of Open Prairie Ventures, Inc., a company he founded in 1997. Open Prairie provides private equity services and manages more than $135 million in fund commitments.
Prior to founding Open Prairie Ventures, Schultz was the chairman and CEO of Telemind Capital Corporation. The company provides merger and acquisition guidance and financial consulting services to businesses. Schultz assisted clients in a number of industries, including software development, banking, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and entertainment.
Schultz earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University in 1980. He holds a law degree from DePaul University and an MBA from Northwestern University.
Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti has been picked to lead a consolidation, unfunded mandates commission. With the goal of reducing property taxes paid by Illinois property owners and homeowners, Gov. Rauner asked Sanguinetti to head a new task force that will look at opportunities for savings from the consolidation of taxing bodies.
Illinois currently has 6,963 units of local government. It is #1 in this metric; none of the other 50 states top 6,000.
Bodies with the power to extend property taxes include:
Sanguinetti’s task force will look into both unfunded mandates and the possible existence of redundant units of local government. The members will conduct a comprehensive review of State laws that impose burdens on local schools and governments, and their taxpayers. They are asked to report their findings to the Governor and the General Assembly no later than Dec. 31.
Thank you to Orchard Valley Golf Course for sponsoring a successful Business After Hours event last week.
Gigi’s Playhouse Family Fun Night needs volunteer families to host the activities for February 27, March 27, April 24, May 22, June 26, July 24, August 28, September 25, October 23, November 20, and December 18 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Pick a date and send your name, phone number, and email to email@example.com.
School’s Out Day Camps at Naper Settlement on February 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Children grades one through five are $45. Reservations are required.
Waubonsee Community College Adult Literacy Project volunteer tutor training is March 14 and March 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
BKD, LLP has been selected as the principal partner for accounting by The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). BKD’s dedicated professionals offer a variety of services in accounting, audit and assurance, tax, risk management, technology, corporate finance, forensic and valuation services, and wealth management.
The Growing Place kicks off their 79th year on Saturday, March 28, with a day packed full of activities to inspire and engage gardeners for another year of success in gardening. Call to register for their free Opening Day classes.
Rich Harvest Farms is excited to play host to the 2015 Palmer Cup! To make the event run smoothly, they are looking for volunteers to assist Friday, June 12, through Sunday, June 14. Opportunities include live scoring, shuttle driving, hospitality, and marshalling. Click here to sign up, as spots are filling up quickly. For more information on the tournament, please visit www.palmercup.org.
Engineering Enterprises, Inc. announces the promotions of Kurtis T. Muth, PE, LEED AP, and Timothy V. Weidner, PE, to project managers. They also have two new staff members, Nadia L. Simek, EI, and Michael R. Brouch, PE.
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has recognized The City of Aurora’s Broadcast Real-time Inspection Transparency Emails (BRITE).
Join Green Buddha Life Eco-Art Gallery for the grand opening of internationally renowned spiritual artist Joanne Koenig-Macko’s solo exhibition on Friday, March 6, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Her artwork will remain displayed during the month of March.
The City of Aurora’s African –American Heritage Advisory Board’s 11th Annual Heritage Dinner will honor Sherman Jenkins at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 27. Tickets can be purchased online at www.aurora-il.org or by calling (630) 256-3402.
Naper Settlement announces the headliners for the history of rock music during this summer’s Naper Nights Community Concert Series. They include American English, Elevation, Daryl Stuermer, Think Floyd, Mike and Joe, Deacon Blues, Simply Elton. More information and tickets are available online.
Prevailing wage law, project labor agreements, and unfunded mandates are elements of the “big picture” of Illinois public-sector spending. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda, presented to the General Assembly in his State of the State address on Wednesday, February 4, called for comprehensive reforms to the “iron triangle.” The Chicago Tribune covered the story.
Governor Rauner looked repeatedly at Illinois tax and labor law as a factor in the Prairie State’s poor economic performance. States that neighbor Illinois, led by Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, have enacted reforms to their states’ tax laws and labor laws. Rauner pointed out the comprehensively better economic performance enjoyed by these states, and presented an example of a typical firm – Modern Forge, formerly of Blue Island – that has joined many of its fellow small businesses in moving to Indiana.
“We must avoid slipping further behind,” he warned, calling for dramatic changes in the laws of Illinois to match its neighbors.”
The governor called for additional support for Illinois elementary, secondary, and higher education. He pledged to reform the education bureaucracy and to prioritize early education programs, elementary and secondary education in geographically challenged areas of the State, and to return Illinois support to historic levels for credential-oriented programs within community colleges. Rauner’s pledge included fighting to lift the current cap on Illinois charter schools.
Rauner called for major changes in the face of elected government in Springfield. He strongly requested approval by the General Assembly, for submission to the people of Illinois, of constitutional amendments to limit the terms of Illinois elected officials and merge the offices of Illinois comptroller and treasurer.
Rauner’s office has posted a video of his speech online and welcomes social-media discussion of the points made in it using the hashtag #ILTurnaround.
Partisan Senate majority passes minimum wage increase; bill moves to House. SB 11 would increase the standard Illinois minimum wage, applicable to most employment positions, from $8.25 an hour (current rate) to $11.00 an hour over a five-year period. The Senate vote was 35-15-1.
Local Senators voted along party lines with Democrats Bertino-Tarrant and Holmes voting in support while Republicans Connelly, McConnaughay, Oberweis, and Rezin voted against the measure. Sen. Syverson did not vote.
A separate Chicago minimum wage increase is held harmless by SB 11, which means enactment of this bill would complete the “decoupling” of the minimum wage in Chicago from the minimum wage in the suburbs and in Downstate Illinois. A temporary tax credit is created which supporters say could provide some relief for small businesses that are negatively affected by the enactment of this bill.
SB 11 did not contain workers’ compensation reform or any of the other labor-market reforms coupled to minimum-wage action by Gov. Bruce Rauner in his State of the State address as part of an overall Illinois economic-turnaround strategy.