Illinois schools have biggest funding gap in nation

March 29th, 2015

Courtesy of Chicago Tribune and Phil Kadner

Illinois has the most unfair school funding system in the nation, according to a study released this week by The Education Trust.

The state’s school districts with the greatest number of students living in poverty receive substantially fewer state and local dollars than their more affluent counterparts — nearly 20 percent less, according to the study.

In addition, it contends that school districts with the largest enrollments of minority students receive 16 percent less than those districts serving the fewest.

This comes on the heels of another study by WalletHub that contends that Illinois’ tax structure places a greater burden on the poor and middle class than any other in the nation. It says Illinois has the second-worst tax system in the nation for low-income workers, who on average pay 12.1 percent of their income in taxes (that includes property, sales and income taxes) and the worst tax system for middle-income wage earners, taking 11.3 percent of their income.

While the statistics may be new, none of this comes as a surprise to anyone who has looked at either of these issues over the past 20 years.

And to a great extent, both of those ratings can be traced to this state’s overreliance on the property tax to fund the schools.

The property tax system doesn’t tax wealth. It has nothing to do with a person’s ability to pay. In fact, as a person gets older and finds himself living on a fixed income, loses his job or finds new employment at a lower wage, property tax bills remain the same or continue to increase, often forcing people to sell their homes.

Using the property tax to primarily finance public education allows a school district with the greatest property wealth (whose students typically start out with more advantages), to spend more on teacher salaries and extracurricular programs, while forcing districts with a comparatively small property tax base to cut corners.

All of this is created by legislative policies set in Springfield, and none of it happened by accident.

 

For the full article, visit the Chicago Tribune.

Aurora Veterans Council Seeks Input

March 29th, 2015

The City of Aurora Veterans Advisory Committee wants to know whether your business offers a discount on programs, services, or products for our Veterans.

To participate in the survey, please take the following brief survey: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eas2bouvi7ulm1mz/start

Public Policy Updates

March 29th, 2015

Gov. Rauner, Ill. GA Take Steps to Resolve FY15 Budget Shortfall

Faced with a $1.6 billion FY15 budget deficit upon taking office, Gov. Bruce Rauner almost immediately asked for executive powers to reorganize spending and enable the State to get through the fiscal year, which covers spending needs through June 30.

Without immediate action, the State would have been unable to make payroll at Illinois prisons, low-income working families would lose their child care assistance, court reporters would be laid off and money for services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled would run out. In addition, inaction would have further delayed and perhaps jeopardized critical categorical school funding and State aid payments.

After negotiations in which House Republicans were full participants, the General Assembly agreed this week to language contained in HB 317 and HB 318. HB 317, an appropriations bill, made cuts and transfers in State spending. HB 318, a budget implementation bill, granted the Governor the legal authority to carry out and implement the cuts in spending and spending transfers made in HB 317. Together, these bills work to fill critical holes in the deliberately unbalanced FY15 budget passed by majority Democrats and signed by former Governor Quinn.

Approximately $1.3 billion of the moves occurred in the form of budget transfers from various funds, and approximately $400 million was in the form of an across-the-board budget cut. The HB 317-HB 318 package created $97 million in budgetary flexibility that can be used to respond to specific challenges, including the challenge of school districts that have run out of reserves.

The House vote on HB 317 was 72-45-0 and the House vote on HB 318 was 69-48-0, with all House Republicans voting in favor of the measures. The Senate followed up by approving both bills on Thursday, March 26, sending the measures to Gov. Rauner for final action. Rauner, who pushed for and signed both bills into law, expressed a readiness to follow up on this work in alliance with House Republicans. The two bills became law as Public Acts 99-0001 and 99-0002, the first bills signed into law by the new Governor.

House Panel Hears FY16 Revenue Estimates

The House Revenue and Finance Committee heard testimony on Friday, March 27, from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) on expected State revenues in FY16, the spending period that will begin on July 1.

Spending pressures in FY16 are being driven by the continuing phase-down of the “temporary” January 2011 income tax increase. CGFA estimates that the State’s cash intake from the income tax hike is dropping by nearly $5 billion over the two-year period starting in FY14 and leveling off in FY16. This matches the two-year period marked by a drop in the State’s personal income tax rate from 5.00% to 3.75%. GOMB’s numbers and IDOR’s numbers closely match these estimates.

House Committees Advance 512 Bills to Floor

Including action in “committee deadline week,” which ended on Friday, March 27, the Illinois House advanced 512 bills from committee to the House floor in the 2015 spring session. House committees began meeting in February to take testimony and hear advocacy from witnesses, proponents and opponents for and against the measures filed by House members. This work was finished up this week. After the conclusion of the two-week “Easter break,” the House and its committees will consider floor action and amendments to the House bills that advanced out of committee. The House will also start looking at bills coming over from the state Senate.

Most of the 4,198 House bills filed so far in the spring session will not be considered further this spring, at least under their own names. Less than 13% of the bills filed this spring were able to achieve approval by a House committee. Advocates sometimes try to “consolidate” a stalled bill into a moving bill by redrafting the stalled bill as an amendment to the moving one. In addition, bills that do not move in the 2015 spring session may be taken up by the Illinois General Assembly in fall 2015 or spring 2016.

Jobless Rate Falls to 6.0% in February

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced on Tuesday, March 24, that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2015 fell to 6.0% from 6.1% in January. While an estimated 391,100 workers remained jobless in February, the overall numbers indicated that Illinois could be coming out of recession-scale unemployment numbers for the first time since the 2000s. 13,800 net new jobs were created in February, all in the private sector.

Unadjusted numbers for January:

2015

United      States

Illinois

MSA

LWIA 5

Kane       County

Aurora

Joliet

Elgin

Rockford

Waukegan

January

6.1

6.9

6.9

6.7

6.9

6.6

9.5

9.5

8.8

10.1

 

The new Prairie State figures represented an improvement of almost two full percentage points from the deep-recession figure of 7.9% posted twelve months earlier in February 2014. Economists and commentators often use “year-over-year” unemployment figures, particularly for specific states and metropolitan areas, as a tactic to reduce false signals resulting from random fluctuations in the overall numbers.

Most areas of Illinois employment showed strength in February, with two key sectors – trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services – each adding more than 5,000 net new paid positions statewide. Three areas of weakness were statewide manufacturing, which lost 800 jobs statewide, educational and health services, which gave up 1,400 positions, and government, which yielded 1,600 positions.

IDES has rolled out a new, automated database for the use of Illinois residents seeking jobs and in possession of vital skill sets. Illinois Job Link offers a wide variety of positions and opportunities.

House Republicans Continue Push for Audit of Troubled Expense Accounts

After the story of mammoth expense-account spending by senior executives of the College of DuPage broke earlier this year, House Republican taxpayer advocates began calling for a deeper inquiry into the financial reality behind the troubled college management team’s books. The College’s board recently approved a severance package of benefits totaling $763,000 for the college’s president.

DuPage County lawmakers have made this a key focus area in 2015. HR 55, a resolution requesting that the Illinois Auditor General conduct a performance audit of the College of DuPage to cover fiscal years 2011 through 2014, was unanimously approved in House committee on Wednesday, March 25. HR 55’s lead co-sponsors are Representatives Jeanne Ives, Jim Durkin, Patti Bellock, Peter Breen, and Ron Sandack.

State Employees File Lawsuit, Seek Clarification

Three Illinois state employees filed a lawsuit on Monday, March 23, to seek legal clarification of their right to not make mandatory payments to labor unions in lieu of union dues. Called “fair share” payments, the funds raised by their mandatory payments are supposed to recompense public-sector labor unions for the administrative burden of representing all of the members of a unionized State office or workforce. Gov. Rauner has publicly called for granting freedom to Illinois State workers to decide whether or not to belong to a union and pay dues.

Illinois Helps U.S. Navy Prepare for Launch of New Submarine

The capital ship, which will be called the “USS Illinois” when it enters commissioned service, is in the final stages of being fitted out on the East Coast and is expected to be launched later in 2015. Chicago business leaders are helping train two key members of the crew – the culinary specialists who will man the submersible boat’s tiny galley.

Physically slightly smaller and with smaller crews than the armored battleships that were once the backbone of the U.S. Navy, an attack submarine like the “U.S.S. Illinois” is in some ways even more heavily armed. A crew of 145 to 150 men will sail on a six-month tour of duty, much of which will be spent submerged. Modern technology even allows submarines to communicate with naval headquarters while deep under water. Although the “Illinois” is only 370 feet long, the “silent service” believes that American submarines serve as the ultimate deterrent to potential enemy action.

The “Illinois” will be the first U.S. Navy capital ship to bear this name since an obsolete battleship commissioned in 1897. Efforts to build a new American super-battleship in the 1940s to carry on the heritage of the Prairie State did not survive the end of World War II in 1945. The Aurora-based U.S.S. Illinois Commissioning Committee is leading fundraising efforts to properly celebrate two separate events: the new vessel’s approaching launch and its commission.

This Week’s News from Our Members

March 29th, 2015

Thank you to Zippy Shell Fox Valley for sponsoring a successful Fox Valley Networking Professionals networking event at Pomegranate Restaurant.

Matt Perez, Fire Marshal Aurora Fire Department, has accepted the call from Gov. Rauner to become the Illinois Fire Marshal. He will begin is new position April 1, working out of the Chicago office.

Welcome Karen L. Johnson, vice president – commercial banking, to Old Second Bank, 37 South River St. Aurora branch.

April is the start of the Summer Season at Naper Settlement. Tour the buildings, attend class in a one-room school house and visit the Martin Mitchell Mansion. More information is available online.

Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley is proud to announce that it will be adding an office, 127 First Street, Suite 215, Geneva, IL 60134, on April 1.

The Label Printers wins TLMI’s Eugene Singer Award for Management Excellence, medium category for the sixth time in a row.

Engineering Enterprises, Inc. accepted the American Public Works Association, Fox Valley Branch Project of the Year Award in the Environmental category for less than $5 million.

Arnold Palmer Invitational, presented by MasterCard, will be extending an invitation to one of 20 participates and the junior caddie in the Palmer Cup, being held at Rich Harvest Farms. Congratulations Rich Harvest Farms on this exciting news.

SCORE Fox Valley 2015 Small Business Forum will be Tuesday, March 31 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Northern Illinois University, Naperville Campus, 1120 E. Diehl Rd., Naperville. The afternoon event will feature 12 educational sessions in a half-day format. Click here to register.

April is Earth Month so to celebrating the 45th anniversary, Green Buddha Life EcoArt Gallery presents “The Works of Lisa Goesling”.

”"Dawn Hartman has been appointed as the new director of marketing for Naper Settlement. Welcome Dawn.

Hesed House will sponsor the 7th Annual Champions of Hope Breakfast event at Stonebridge Country Club on Wednesday, April 8, from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. Click here for more information.

Change a Life: Be a tutor! Waubonsee Community College’s Adult Literacy Project has online, self-paced, new tutor training in April & May.

Rebuilding Together Aurora’s 2015 April Rebuild Event takes a house-by-house approach to improving the health and well-being of low-income households. The event will take place April 24 & 25. To sign up to volunteer, click here.

Congratulations to M/I Homes – Lehigh Station for a successful Open House and Ribbon Cutting event.

Aurora Candidate Forum Tomorrow Morning

March 23rd, 2015
Here is this week’s newsletter to members of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. If you have Member News to include,
please send it to us by Wednesday the week prior to publication. For more information, contact the Chamber at (630) 256-3180.
Header
March 23, 2015
In This Issue

 

Quick Links

Follow Us!
Facebook Twitter Blog

Elite Members

For more information contact the chamber.

95.9 The River
Accurate Personnel
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora University
Bad Monkey Circus Agency: Websites-Video
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
Basils Greek Dining
BKD, LLP
BMO Harris
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Premium Outlets
ComEd
Continental Acura of Naperville
Continental Audi of Naperville
Continental Mazda of Naperville
DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd.
Global Data Sciences
Green Buddha Life Books dba E3HRA, LLC
Ice Miller LLP
Idilus, LLC
ieple, LLC.
Junior Achievement of Chicago – Western Division
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Magnetrol International, Incorporated
Martin Whalen Office Solutions
McKesson
Mind and Body Chiropractic
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Northwestern Medicine
Cadence Fitness & Health Center
Cadence Health Convenient Care & Medical Offices
Central DuPage Hospital
Delnor Glen Senior Living
Delnor Hospital
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
Old Second National Bank
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
Ryland Homes – Ingham Park
S&S Metal Recyclers II
Safeguard Construction Company, Inc.
Sign*A*Rama – Aurora
Sleepy’s – Farnsworth
Sleepy’s – North Aurora
Sleepy’s – Rt. 59
SmithAmundsen, LLC
St. Charles Bank & Trust
State Farm Insurance Companies
Stumm Insurance, LLC
The UPS Store – Kirk & Butterfield
The Voice
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company
WIT-Enterprises, LLC
WSPY
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Welcome New Members

Goodwill Store & Donation Center
Beth Nowaczynski
1543 Mesa Lane
Aurora, IL 60502
Retail

Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Kelly Heldman
2567 W. Sullivan Rd.
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 907-1313
Church

 

Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189
www.aurorachamber.com

 

 

State of the City Registration Sold Out
Mayor Thomas J. Weisner The Hon. Thomas J. Weisner
Mayor, City of Aurora

Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m.
Piper’s Banquets
1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora

Sold Out

Register

To be placed on the wait list, please email info@aurorachamber.com today.

Thank You to the Following Sponsors

Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Cadence Health
Centrue Bank
Chicago Premium Outlets
Cordogan, Clark & Associates
Dreyer, Foote, Streit, Furgason & Slocum
Engineering Enterprises, Inc.
FHP-O-Cedar
First Midwest Bank
Heartland Recycling
Hollywood Casino – Aurora
HRGreen
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Old Second National Bank
OnLight Aurora
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Republic Services
Restoration Techs
Rush-Copley Medical Center
SmithAmundsen
Walter E. Deuchler Associates, Inc.
Waubonsee Community College

 

Aurora City Council Candidate Forum Set;
Join Us Tomorrow Morning
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is collaborating with the Fox Valley Political Action Committee and the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce to host a Candidates’ Forum for City Council candidates on Tuesday, March 24, at the Copley Theatre in North Island Center. The event begins with coffee and informal introductions at 8:00 a.m. followed by questions from the business community at 8:30 a.m. The event will conclude by approximately 10:00 a.m.

The format at 8:30 that morning is a two-minute introduction from those participating followed by questions posed by a moderator to the candidates. While all candidates on the ballot are being invited, the questions will be posed to those candidates in contested races. Candidates will have two minutes to respond to the question.

Public Policy Update
Early voting begins today, Monday, March 23, and runs through April 4. Vote now or April 7. Check out the Chamber blog for recent posts as well as information on the April election, including races, polling locations, and more.
Mark Your Calendars; Save the Dates
Business Leads Group 1
Tuesday, March 24, at 7:45 a.m.
Chamber offices

City Council Candidates Forum
Tuesday, March 24, at 8:00 a.m.
Copley Theatre in North Island Center

Business Leads Group 2
Wednesday, March 25, at 8:00 a.m.
Chamber offices

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, March 26, at 8:00 a.m.
Pomegranate Restaurant
55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by: Zippy Shell Fox Valley
Register

State of the City 2015
Sold Out
Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m.
Piper’s Banquets
1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora
Register

Save these dates:
May 1: Innovate Breakfast at IMSA
May 19: Coffee & Connections
June 11: Business After Hours: Mooseheart
June 23: Aurora Chamber Golf Classic 2015
July 8: ACA Compliance Program
July 23: Business After Hours: Hesed House
August 11: Multi-Chamber Women In Business Luncheon

Premier Members
Premier Members
Member News
Check out this week’s news from your fellow Aurora Chamber members.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 | www.aurorachamber.com
This email was sent by Email Patron on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.

This Week’s News from Our Members

March 22nd, 2015

Thank you to Aurora University for sponsoring a successful Coffee and Connections.

Josh Baum (tenor) and Ric Larsen (guitar) will perform at Aurora University’s Crimi Auditorium on Tuesday, March 24, at noon. Registration is required.

NIU National Safety Education Center will host a free seminar “Intro to OSHA for Small Businesses” on Friday, March 27, from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Contact gillis@niu.edu or atkins@niu.edu for more information.

Do you have a special event or announcement you want to share with other Chamber members? You can email Tracey Garza and get your information posted in the member news and social media.

Congratulations to Planet Fitness – Aurora on a successful ribbon cutting event.

DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd. is pleased to announce they have joined PKF North America. The PKF membership will provide another value-added service to their clients who have international-service needs within local markets.

Come and enjoy a night of entertainment and refreshments as the children of Resurrection Lutheran Church/School will perform “Barnyard Moosical” and “Pirates – The Musical” on Friday, March 27, at 7:00 p.m.

MAP Monday Group will meet Monday, March 30, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Community Career Center. Facilitator Becky Brillon leads this small group to share goals, strategize and motivate each other toward success.

M/I Homes unveiled their new model in the Lehigh Station location. Congratulations on a successful ribbon cutting event.

Save the Date for a Multi-Chamber of Commerce Open House at Mooseheart Child City & School on Thursday, June 11, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

SCORE Fox Valley 2015 Small Business Forum will be Tuesday, March 31, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Northern Illinois University, Naperville Campus, 1120 E. Diehl Rd., Naperville. The afternoon event will feature 12 educational sessions in a half-day format.

DuPage Children’s Museum is open seven days a week at Westfield Mall (near Carson’s) with admission “Pay As You Will. “ Visitors will experience DCM on a smaller scale. It includes the well-known and favorite “Neighborhoods” right in our backyard!

Please, Please! Vote on Tuesday, April 7

March 19th, 2015

A Consolidated Election will be held Tuesday, April 7. Voters will be asked to weigh in on a number of races and referenda, including:

  • Aurora City Council
  • Village of North Aurora Trustees
  • Waubonsee Community College Trustees
  • Batavia School Board
  • East Aurora School Board
  • Indian Prairie School Board
  • Kaneland School Board
  • Oswego School Board
  • West Aurora School Board
  • West Aurora School District Referendum

 

Early Voting is open March 23 through April 4. City of Aurora residents in Kane, Kendall, and Will counties who may have missed the registration deadline, may be eligible to vote during the Grace Period.

To find your polling place, click here.

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce and Fox Valley PAC encourage you to share this voting information with your friends, employees, and family. While our community and region continue to bounce back from years of economic difficulty, it is critical that we take the time to vote and express our voice.

For those wanting to meet the candidates for Aurora City Council, the Chamber and PAC (in collaboration with the Quad County African American Chamber) are hosting a Candidates Forum on Tuesday, March 24, at 8:00 a.m. at the Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., in downtown Aurora. Thank you to Rasmussen College for providing refreshments for the event.

Member News, Policy Updates from Aurora Chamber

March 16th, 2015
Here is this week’s newsletter to members of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. If you have Member News to include,
please send it to us by Wednesday the week prior to publication. For more information, contact the Chamber at (630) 256-3180.
Header
March 16, 2015
In This Issue

 

Quick Links

Follow Us!
Facebook Twitter Blog

Elite Members

For more information contact the chamber.

95.9 The River
Accurate Personnel
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora University
Bad Monkey Circus Agency: Websites-Video
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
Basils Greek Dining
BKD, LLP
BMO Harris
Cadence Fitness & Health Center
Cadence Health Convenient Care & Medical Offices
Caterpillar, Inc.
Central DuPage Hospital
Chicago Premium Outlets
ComEd
Continental Acura of Naperville
Continental Audi of Naperville
Continental Mazda of Naperville
Delnor Glen Senior Living
Delnor Hospital
DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd.
Global Data Sciences
Green Buddha Life Books dba E3HRA, LLC
Ice Miller LLP
Idilus, LLC
ieple, LLC.
Junior Achievement of Chicago – Western Division
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
Magnetrol International, Incorporated
Martin Whalen Office Solutions
McKesson
Mind and Body Chiropractic
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Old Second National Bank
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
Ryland Homes – Ingham Park
S&S Metal Recyclers II
Safeguard Construction Company, Inc.
Sign*A*Rama – Aurora
Sleepy’s – Farnsworth
Sleepy’s – North Aurora
Sleepy’s – Rt. 59
SmithAmundsen, LLC
St. Charles Bank & Trust
State Farm Insurance Companies
Stumm Insurance, LLC
The UPS Store – Kirk & Butterfield
The Voice
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company
WIT-Enterprises, LLC
WSPY
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Welcome New Members

Elburn Lions Park
Debra Cornell
500 S. Filmore St.
Elburn, IL
(630) 365-6315
Community-Based Organizations

Belle Salle Banquets
Keith Wehrle
1920 E. New York St.
Aurora, IL
(630) 449-3064
Banquet Facilities & Caterers

Planet Fitness – Aurora
Luke Urban
4306 E. New York St.
Aurora, IL
(630) 995-9555
Fitness Center

WIT-Enterprises, LLC
David Walden
481 N. Commons Dr., Ste. F
Aurora, IL
(630) 566-9291
Computer Services

 

Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189
www.aurorachamber.com

 

 

State of the City Registration Sold Out
Mayor Thomas J. Weisner The Hon. Thomas J. Weisner
Mayor, City of Aurora

Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m.
Piper’s Banquets
1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora

Sold Out

Register

To be placed on the wait list, please email info@aurorachamber.com today.

Thank You to the Following Sponsors

Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Cadence Health
Centrue Bank
Chicago Premium Outlets
Cordogan, Clark & Associates
Dreyer, Foote, Streit, Furgason & Slocum
Engineering Enterprises, Inc.
FHP-O-Cedar
First Midwest Bank
Heartland Recycling
Hollywood Casino – Aurora
HRGreen Mitutoyo America Corporation
Old Second National Bank
OnLight Aurora
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Republic Services
Restoration Techs
Rush-Copley Medical Center
SmithAmundsen
Walter E. Deuchler Associates, Inc.
Waubonsee Community College

 

Aurora City Council Candidate Forum Set
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is collaborating with the Fox Valley Political Action Committee and the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce to host a Candidates’ Forum for City Council candidates on Tuesday, March 24, at the Copley Theatre in North Island Center. The event begins with coffee and informal introductions at 8:00 a.m. followed by questions from the business community at 8:30 a.m. The event will conclude by approximately 10:00 a.m.

The format at 8:30 that morning is a two-minute introduction from those participating followed by questions posed by a moderator to the candidates. While all candidates on the ballot are being invited, the questions will be posed to those candidates in contested races. Candidates will have two minutes to respond to the question.

Public Policy Update
Check out the Chamber blog for recent posts and updates on:

Public Policy Updates: Economy, Unemployment, Budget, Pensions

Intro to Exporting and New Technologies

Mayor Weisner Encourages Community to Help Fight Crime

Mark Your Calendars; Save the Dates
Coffee & Connections
Tuesday, March 17, at 8:30 a.m.
Painters District Council #30
1905 Sequoia Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by: Aurora University
Register

Ribbon Cutting: Planet Fitness
Wednesday, March 18, at 11:00 a.m.
4306 E. New York St., Aurora

Ribbon Cutting: M/I Homes Lehigh Station
Thursday, March 19, at 4:30 p.m.
847 Station Blvd., Aurora

Business Leads Group 1
Tuesday, March 24, at 7:45 a.m.
Chamber offices

Business Leads Group 2
Wednesday, March 25, at 8:00 a.m.
Chamber offices

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, March 26, at 8:00 a.m.
Pomegranate Restaurant
55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by: Zippy Shell Fox Valley
Register

State of the City 2015
Sold Out
Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m.
Piper’s Banquets
1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora
Register

Premier Members
Premier Members
Member News
Congratulations to Stericycle and Dr. Gadget on their recent openings. We welcome them to the Chamber and wish them much success!

The City of Aurora is proud to recognize the achievements of the Aurora Water Production Division in providing some of the nation’s safest, cleanest drinking water to the City’s residents. The team has been honored with the Presidents Award from the Partnership for Safe Water. This is also the fifth year in a row in which the team has achieved the Directors Award from the Partnership for Safe Water.

Aurora University Faculty Speaker Series features Sharon Miller, Chetna Patel and Regina Rahn at Perry Theatre, 349 S. Gladstone Ave. Aurora on Wednesday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m. Registration is required, contact artsandideas@aurora.edu.

Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 | www.aurorachamber.com
This email was sent by Email Patron on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Public Policy Updates: Economy, Unemployment, Budget, Pensions

March 14th, 2015

COGFA forecast: Illinois Economy
Slow economic growth continues; budget deficit continues to mount a yawning challenge. The staff of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) presented their FY16 Economic Forecast to COGFA members at the Commission’s meeting in Springfield on Wednesday, March 10. COGFA is the nonpartisan economic think tank of the Illinois General Assembly, and their Revenue Update for FY15 and numbers for FY16 will be key background data to be used by the General Assembly as they modify the State’s FY15 budget and craft a FY16 budget to meet the urgent fiscal needs of the State.

COGFA’s numbers confirm that the post-2009 Illinois “recovery” has been the slowest economic expansion of the post-World War II period. In each previous recession, not only were the rates of decline in economic output less severe, but the ensuing recoveries were faster and steeper. Illinois economic trend lines, starting in 2010, show steady but very shallow, palely upward-trending movements. New jobs are created in relatively low numbers and are being created, in Illinois, in sufficient numbers to force increases in median overall wage rates.

The pale post-2009 “recovery,” combined with the pushdown of State income tax rates in January 2015 are two forces that continue to combine to create a worsening State of Illinois budget crisis. A spreadsheet presented to staff by the Commission shows net income tax revenues dropping more than $4 billion in FY16, below what would have been paid to the State under the tax rates in effect in FY14. Growth rates in tax revenues attributable to underlying rates of growth in the Illinois private-sector economy are expected to make up only $500 million of the lost income, leading to a structural deficit of $3.5 billion in FY16. To this number is supplemented accumulated past-year deficits and unpaid State bills of many billions of additional dollars, plus the spending pressures created by many “entitlement” lines within the State’s budget.

Illinois Economy: Unemployment
Unemployment remains higher than U.S. as a whole, but drops another 0.1%. The figures for January 2015, reported on Thursday, March 12 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), show that Illinois’s jobless rate fell from 6.2% to 6.1% in January 2015. The same number was 8.2% in January 2014, down 2.1% over the 12-month period.

Soft spots in the statewide economic picture complicated the continued trend toward lower unemployment. Illinois employment – the number of Illinois residents with nonfarm payroll jobs – also dropped by 7,100 jobs in the same month. The declining employment and unemployment numbers reflected a stagnating Illinois population and the continued movement of many Illinois residents out of the labor force altogether. Movement out of the labor force is often correlated with a stagnant statewide economy, and with possible despair on the part of individuals of working age that they will be able to successfully find a job. “It’s clear Illinois has more work to do,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays, “to catch up with other states.”

Specific sectors that showed strength in Illinois included leisure and hospitality (up 3,300 jobs) and educational and health services (up 2,300 jobs). Areas of weakness included manufacturing (down 2,100 jobs), construction (down 2,500 jobs), government (down 2,700 jobs), and professional and business services (down 5,500 jobs).

State of Illinois: Budget
Clock is ticking on FY15 budget crisis situation. The decision by the General Assembly and former Gov. Quinn to pass and sign an unbalanced FY15 budget in spring 2014 continues to endanger many Illinois residents. These are persons who are paid from, or dependent on, budget lines in the FY15 State budget where the amounts set aside were not enough to fully fund the expense item until the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2015.

Examples of groups affected by unfunded FY15 budget expense lines include providers of subsidized Illinois child care, Illinois prison guards and circuit court reporters. These are individuals and contractors who have been told of a fast-approaching date when Illinois must find more money to pay them. Gov. Bruce Rauner has presented a proposal to the Illinois General Assembly to move money around within the budget to cover these anticipated urgent needs, but factions in the General Assembly who are politically opposed to the Governor have so far refused to allow this plan to come to the House floor for a vote.

Income Tax: Tax Refund Alerts
Comptroller Munger urges Illinois individual income taxpayers to register. The Illinois Tax Refund Alert system, rolled out this spring by new Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger, allows taxpayers to monitor the status of their Illinois tax returns, including an automated text-messaging system. Similar to the familiar warnings that many of us get when our phone or cable bill is due, the test message will tell eligible taxpayers of their payment notifications. Registration is free through this portal: https://myrefund.illinoiscomptroller.com/.

Pensions
Supreme Court hears oral arguments. The Illinois pension reform law enacted in December 2013 faced questions before the Illinois Supreme Court at oral arguments on Wednesday, March 11. The Illinois Solicitor General, advocating for the law, stated that the controversial law had been enacted to solve a fiscal emergency. Established constitutional law authorizes a state, in furtherance of its constitutional duty, to exercise what are called “police powers” that potentially override other considerations. Plaintiffs seeking to strike down the law say that it improperly violates a section of the state Constitution. Illinois has the worst-funded pension system of the 50 states. A decision by the state Supreme Court, which is expected later this spring, could affect budget and pension law policies that will be before the General Assembly as it approaches the May 31 adjournment date.

Intro to Exporting and New Technologies

March 14th, 2015

The Jobs Committee of the Kane County Board, co-chaired by Theresa Barreiro and Rebecca Gillam, is sponsoring a special workshop on exports and technology, presented by the COD International Trade Center. The presentation will be delivered by Zachary Person, the International Trade Center Program Manager at the College of DuPage.

For economic developers and local businesses seeking to capitalize on the benefits of exporting, this program will introduce strategies for getting started. Some of the learning objectives will include:

  • Using the newest tools and technology such as Ebay and Alibaba to find and test international markets before market entry.
  • Determine a company’s readiness to take advantage of new export markets.
  • Learn about free and low cost resources offered by your local International Trade Center (ITC).
  • Discover how to overcome barriers and risks.

 

This free workshop will be held on Thursday, March 26, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. It will be located in the first floor auditorium of the Kane County Government Center (Building A) at 719 S. Batavia Avenue in Geneva, IL. Light refreshments will be served from Corner Bakery Cafe®. Please RSVP no later than March 24 with Matt Tansley at tansleymatthew@co.kane.il.us.

Zachary Person brings more than a decade of international business experience to the table working with both manufacturers and service based companies. His background includes, marketing strategy and implementation, international distributor development, regulatory affairs, sales and product management. Zach also speaks German, a little Spanish and enjoys all things technology.