Save the Dates: Many January 2015 Events

December 15th, 2014
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
December 15, 2014
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
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
WSPY

Contact Us

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

 

Public Policy Update
Judy Baar Topinka

Last week, we were shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Described as an “advocate for all of her constituents,” anyone who met her would walk away referring to her simply as Judy. And all would know to whom you were referring. She distinguished herself by remaining core to her values and loyal to her oath. She served as State Representative, State Senator, Treasurer, and Comptroller – and was a mentor to many. We extend our condolences to her son and family and to her team in the Comptroller’s office.During the recently-concluded veto session, both houses passed SB 2758, which creates the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act and establishes a retirement savings program in the form of an automatic Roth IRA payroll deduction of three percent. The intent of this legislation is to promote greater retirement savings for private-sector employees who do not currently have a retirement savings plan. All employers with 25 or more employees must offer this as a payroll option to employees, who do not have a pension or other retirement plan, but there is no mandated matching fund from the employer, and the employee may opt out. The governor must act on SB 2758 before Jan. 14.

The 99th General Assembly Inauguration will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 14, following the Gubernatorial Inauguration on Monday, Jan. 12.

COA Veterans Advisory Council Seeks Support
The City of Aurora’s Veterans Advisory Council and the Veteran community of Aurora invite community businesses and members to support the fundraising campaign to a new Veterans monument. Valued sponsors of the “Salute to Aurora’s Fallen Heroes” can participate by completing the information below and mailing it to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley. The monument will be placed at the entrance of the Sunken Gardens at Phillips Park. The new monument will honor all Aurorans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the nation’s conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan.For more information, visit the Chamber blog.
Aurora to Host a Number of Get Covered Illinois Events
The first of a number of Get Covered Illinois events in Aurora will be held Monday, Dec. 15, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Prisco Center, 150 W. Illinois Avenue. More events will be held through February 2015. Whether you need to find healthcare insurance or renew your current health insurance, certified navigators will help answer your questions and assist your enrollment.For more information, visit the Chamber blog.
Help Put a Smile on a Child’s Face!
The holiday season is just around the corner, and once again we know that folks in our community will not have the means to celebrate the season. The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is partnering again this year with the Fox Valley United Way to make a difference.For more information, click here.
Mark Your Calendars; Save the Dates
Chamber offices closed
Thursday, Dec. 25
Thursday, Jan. 1Coffee & Connections
Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 8:30 a.m.

Economic Forecast
Thursday, Jan. 22, at 11:30 a.m.

Ribbon Cutting: Sunnymere
Thursday, Jan. 22, at 4:00 p.m.

Leadership Academy
Begins Friday, Jan. 23, at 8:30 a.m.

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, Jan. 29, at 8:00 a.m.

Premier Members
Premier Members
Member News
For more news and program information from your fellow Chamber members, visit the Aurora Chamber blog.
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 Member News

December 12th, 2014

Naper Settlement presents the second annual Naper Lights Celebration starting Thursday, Nov. 27, through Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015.

Holiday Lights at Mooseheart continues through Dec. 31 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Association for Individual Development reminds you that Holiday Gift Baskets make amazing gifts for friends, family, neighbors, teachers, and co-workers. For only $10, gift baskets are assembled by and benefit individuals with special needs. To order or purchase, contact the AID Elgin or Aurora offices.

In addition, AID asks that you help fulfill the requests from their client-based “Hope for the Holidays” project. Each Giving Star has a special request (e.g., arts and crafts supplies, gloves, scarves, and more) from one of their clients. Stars may be found at either AID office today.

Take a break from the holiday hustle and join Green Buddha for a peaceful, natural, and harmonic healing session with Gong Guru Andres Peraza on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. This will be a good opportunity to find relaxation through the healing properties of sound vibration. Admission for the session is $20 at the door or $17 through online pre-registration.

Aurora Historical Society’s Tanner House will be open free of charge this holiday season on Fridays and Sundays.

The Holiday Express train is welcoming all aboard during the first three weekends in December at Fox Valley Park District’s Blackberry Farm for its annual Yuletide celebration amid thousands of glittering lights and festive activities. The holiday spirit comes to life from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Dec. 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21.

The YWCA of Aurora will offer a very impactful and motivating “Ready for Anything” women’s empowerment workshop series on Jan. 8 and Feb. 15 at our new location next door to the STEM school on Aurora University campus.

Kluber Architects & Engineers will be featured in a documentary being filmed at Elgin Community College for its contribution to the award-winning Health & Life Sciences Building.

Check out what’s happening at the Fox Valley Park District’s Vaughan Athletic Center in the month of December: Winter Solstice Contest, Give the Gift of Fitness, Student Winter Pass, Winter Blast Camps, Holiday Gifts Galore, Winter Break Camps and a Family New Year’s Eve Party. For more information about any of these programs contact foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.

Congratulations to Sunnymere of Aurora for being awarded the 2015 Best of Assisted Living Award.

Donna Morsovillo was named as Broker Assistant at Third Day Commercial Real Estate, LLC.

Our 2014-2014 Aurora Community Street Maps are here! If you need a map or have sales reps, drivers, delivery staff who travel around the area, pick up a map or two or many to have in their vehicles. Great stocking stuffers! Maps are available at the Chamber office during business hours 8:30 AM – 5 PM, Monday – Friday.

Fox Valley United Way were invited to host a Gift Wrapping Fundraiser at the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall. We will receive all monetary donations and an additional gift of $500 from the Outlet Mall. Our volunteer student wrappers are from West High, East High, IMSA, and Waubonsee Community College. The Gift Wrapping Station will be located in the VIP Lounge (Suite 1127) near the Adidas entrance. It is to the left of Disney (Suite 1123) and the right of Coach Men’s (Suite 1129). You can’t miss it; the doors are wrapped in red with white text saying, “VIP Lounge” and “Spread Love.” We will be open this Saturday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 14, from noon to 5 p.m. Free cookies and hot chocolate will be available for shoppers.

 

Your Weekly Newsletter from the Aurora Chamber

December 8th, 2014
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
December 08, 2014
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
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
WSPY

Contact Us

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

 

 

Holiday Celebration Thanks
Holiday Celebration
Holiday Celebration

Holiday Celebration
On behalf of our partners – Aurora Hispanic and Quad County African American chambers of commerce, the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce would like to thank our sponsors and attendees at the annual Holiday Celebration last week. Thank you to Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.; Cano Container Company; Daleiden Mortuary; Dreyer, Foote, Streit, Furgason & Slocum; Geneva Construction Company; Healy Chapel; Kelmscott Communications; Konen Insurance Agency; Mitutoyo America Corporation; Old Second National Bank; Paramount Arts Centre; Pipe Fitters Local 597; Rasmussen College; Rush-Copley Medical Center; and Valley Linen Supply/Aurora Laundry.

Shop Local Saturday Update
According to American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, more than $14.3 billion was spent with independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

For more information, visit the Chamber blog.

Aurora to Host a Number of Get Covered Illinois Events
The first of a number of Get Covered Illinois events in Aurora will be held Monday, Dec. 15, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Prisco Center, 150 W. Illinois Avenue. More events will be held through February 2015. Whether you need to find healthcare insurance or renew your current health insurance, certified navigators will help answer your questions and assist your enrollment.

For more information, visit the Chamber blog.

COA Veterans Advisory Council Seeks Support
The City of Aurora’s Veterans Advisory Council and the Veteran community of Aurora invite community businesses and members to support the fundraising campaign to a new Veterans monument. Valued sponsors of the “Salute to Aurora’s Fallen Heroes” can participate by completing the information below and mailing it to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley. The monument will be placed at the entrance of the Sunken Gardens at Phillips Park. The new monument will honor all Aurorans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the nation’s conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

For more information, visit the Chamber blog.

Public Policy Update
Last week, House Speaker Michael Madigan adjourned the Illinois House with “sine die.” In effect, and barring any recall to special session by Governor Pat Quinn, the House will remain adjourned until January when the new members are sworn in.

With the end of the 98th General Assembly, a number of legislative issues expired. SB 16, the school funding reform proposal, was one of the items remaining behind. Other issues included a minimum wage increase as well as an extension of the income tax increase.

More information may be found on the Aurora Chamber blog.

Help Put a Smile on a Child’s Face!
The holiday season is just around the corner, and once again we know that folks in our community will not have the means to celebrate the season. The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is partnering again this year with the Fox Valley United Way to make a difference.

For more information, click here.

Premier Members
Premier Members
Member News
For more news and program information from your fellow Chamber members, visit the Aurora Chamber blog.
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 Update

December 7th, 2014

Last week, House Speaker Michael Madigan adjourned the Illinois House with “sine die.” In effect, and barring any recall to special session by Governor Pat Quinn, the House will remain adjourned until January when the new members are sworn in.

With the end of the 98th General Assembly, a number of legislative issues expired. SB 16, the school funding reform proposal, was one of the items remaining behind. Other issues included a minimum wage increase as well as an extension of the income tax increase.

In addition, the end of the session realized the retirement of key House leaders from our region. Our thanks and appreciation are extended to Tom Cross (Oswego-97th), Tim Schmitz (Batavia-65th), Kay Hatcher (Yorkville-50th), and Darlene Senger (Naperville-41st) for their service and dedication to the residents and businesses of our area. We wish them well as they begin new opportunities.

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner will be sworn in on Jan. 12. When the House reconvenes on Jan. 14, new members will be representing those districts. While the House and Senate will remain in Democrat control, the Governor’s office will have switched to the Republican party.

Many of those items that were left unresolved last week will likely return. In addition, topics including pension reform and workers’ compensation reform will need to be addressed.

We will continue to monitor the activities. We will continue to work with our business members to advocate for legislation that supports their growth and success. We will continue to ask for your support in communicating the impact proposed legislation will have on you, your business, and your employees. We hope you will accept that challenge and work with us.

COA Veterans Advisory Council Seeks Support

December 7th, 2014

The City of Aurora’s Veterans Advisory Council and the Veteran community of Aurora invite community businesses and members to support the fundraising campaign to a new Veterans monument. Valued sponsors of the “Salute to Aurora’s Fallen Heroes” can participate by completing the information below and mailing it to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley. The monument will be placed at the entrance of the Sunken Gardens at Phillips Park. The new monument will honor all Aurorans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the nation’s conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Contact the VAC with questions.

”"

Aurora to Host a Number of Get Covered Illinois Events

December 7th, 2014

The first of a number of Get Covered Illinois events in Aurora will be held Monday, Dec. 15, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Prisco Center, 150 W. Illinois Avenue. More events will be held through February 2015. Whether you need to find healthcare insurance or renew your current health insurance, certified navigators will help answer your questions and assist your enrollment.

Shop Local Saturday Update

December 7th, 2014

According to American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, more than $14.3 billion was spent with independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

This amount was up over 2013. The average shopper spent $162. More than two in three U.S. consumers were aware of the day.

Thank you to the following members for participating in the Shop Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29:

Aurora Fastprint, Inc.

Aurora Historical Society – Gift Shop

Edible Arrangements

Fox Valley Cycles Aurora

Fox Valley Nutrition

If These Walls Could Talk

Inkster iFixter

Mike & Denise’s Pizzeria & Pub

PM Music Center

Pomegranate Restaurant

Prisco’s Family Market

Reuland Food Service

Riverdale Auto Body

Spizzico To Go

The Growing Place

The Voice

Thomas’ BarbeQue

Wally’s Printing

Wayside Cross/The Hope Chest Resale Store

WBIG Radio AM 1280

This Week’s News from Chamber Members

December 6th, 2014

Naper Settlement presents the second annual Naper Lights Celebration starting Thursday, Nov. 27, through Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015.

Holiday Lights at Mooseheart continues through Dec. 31 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The Fox Valley Marines #1233 will be once again be collecting Toys For Tots this holiday season.  They are collecting new and unwrapped toys as that will go to children in Kane County. Drop off a toy in the collection box at the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce office now through Dec. 12. For details on Toys For Tots click here or to make a monetary contribution.

Association for Individual Development reminds you that Holiday Gift Baskets make amazing gifts for friends, family, neighbors, teachers, and co-workers. For only $10, gift baskets are assembled by and benefit individuals with special needs. To order or purchase, contact the AID Elgin or Aurora offices.

In addition, AID asks that you help fulfill the requests from their client-based “Hope for the Holidays” project. Each Giving Star has a special request (e.g., arts and crafts supplies, gloves, scarves, and more) from one of their clients. Stars may be found at either AID office today.

Take a break from the holiday hustle and join Green Buddha for a peaceful, natural, and harmonic healing session with Gong Guru Andres Peraza on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. This will be a good opportunity to find relaxation through the healing properties of sound vibration. Admission for the session is $20 at the door or $17 through online pre-registration.

Aurora Historical Society’s Tanner House will be open free of charge this holiday season on Fridays and Sundays.

West Aurora High School Basketball is back on Fox Sports Radio WBIG starting Nov. 28. Join legendary Hall of Fame Broadcaster Neal Ormond as he calls every game, home and away, all season long on The Big One WBIG AM 1280.

The Holiday Express train is welcoming all aboard during the first three weekends in December at Fox Valley Park District’s Blackberry Farm for its annual Yuletide celebration amid thousands of glittering lights and festive activities. The holiday spirit comes to life from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Dec. 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21.

Advocate Dreyer welcomes Brittany Hubbard, AuD, to the Department of Audiology.

The YWCA of Aurora will offer a very impactful and motivating “Ready for Anything” women’s empowerment workshop series on Jan. 8 and Feb. 125 at our new location next door to the STEM school on Aurora University campus.

This Week’s Chamber Member Newsletter

December 3rd, 2014
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
December 01, 2014
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
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
Junior Achievement of Chicago – Western Division
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Liberty Mutual – Dawn Tully
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
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
Wolf & Company LLP
WSPY

Contact Us

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

 

 

Holiday Celebration
Help Put a Smile on a Child’s Face!
The holiday season is just around the corner, and once again we know that folks in our community will not have the means to celebrate the season. The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is partnering again this year with the Fox Valley United Way to make a difference.

For more information, click here.

WBDC to Launch ScaleUp Aurora; Seeks Coordinator
In collaboration with a number of local community leaders and organizations – including the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Business Development Center plans to launch a ScaleUp Aurora satellite to support and strengthen local small businesses.

More information may be found on the Aurora Chamber blog.

Public Policy Update
The week before Thanksgiving, the General Assembly returned to Springfield on Wednesday and Thursday to continue discussions on legislation addressing a number of topics and issues.

This week, Veto Session continues with the legislators returning for a second week Tuesday through Thursday. Although a number of topics are expected to be discussed, many observers believe few points of interest will be acted on.

Gov. Elect Bruce Rauner has asked current elected officials to hold off on passing anything major during the session. A recent conference call with Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs staff included highlights on a number of legislative issues.

More information may be found on the Aurora Chamber blog.

Premier Members
Premier Members
Upcoming Programs for Members
Diversity Network: Business Before Hours
No meeting due to Holiday Celebration

Holiday Celebration 2014
Tuesday, Dec. 02, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Paramount Theatre Grand Gallery
Bring the whole office for a holiday celebration! We’ll do all the planning so you can enjoy yourself and network with community leaders and other businesses. Presented in partnership with the Quad County African American and Aurora Hispanic chambers of commerce.
Register

Member News
For more news and program information from your fellow Chamber members, visit the Aurora Chamber blog.
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.

What’s In Store in Springfield

November 30th, 2014

The week before Thanksgiving, the General Assembly returned to Springfield on Wednesday and Thursday to continue discussions on legislation addressing a number of topics and issues.

This week, Veto Session continues with the legislators returning for a second week Tuesday through Thursday. Although a number of topics are expected to be discussed, many observers believe few points of interest will be acted on.

Gov. Elect Bruce Rauner has asked current elected officials to hold off on passing anything major during the session. A recent conference call with Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs staff included highlights on the following:

Minimum Wage Hike

Despite nearly three years of legislative debate and an advisory referendum placed on the ballot last month that received more than 67 percent approval from the voters, it appears unlikely that a vote increasing the minimum wage will take place during veto session. Illinois already has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation and small businesses simply cannot afford an increase of nearly 21 percent to their labor costs as our state’s economy continues to recovery from the Great Recession and our economic growth lags behind neighboring states.

Amendment #5 to SB 68 was debated late last week. Current write up calls for a staggered minimum wage increasing from $9.25 to $11 over the next three years.

Many expect this to be a January issue andduring a recent conference call, reference was made that most of the fight would take place in the House.

Manufacturers’ Purchase Credit

In August, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Purchase Credit (MPC) was subject to the automatic sunset provisions of the Illinois sales tax. The Illinois Chamber has been actively reaching out to legislators over the summer to explain how important the MPC credit is to our manufacturing members throughout the state and working to make sure that extension of the MPC is on a list of items to be considered during fall veto session. While there are no guarantees given, extension of the MPC is certainly an opportunity for members of the General Assembly to send a signal that legislators are willing to be responsive to the needs of the Illinois business community.

Premium Tax for Self-Insured Companies

Active consideration appears to be given to repeal the recently-enacted insurance premium tax (SB 3324/Public Act 98-0978) during fall veto session. The new tax imposes a 3.5 percent tax on insurance premiums paid directly by Industrial Insureds to unauthorized insurers (without the use of a Surplus Lines Broker) — in short, almost all self-insurers, including some large not-for-profits.

Prior to SB 3324, these self-insurance transactions were exempt from premium tax. Most legislators, including the bill’s sponsor, have indicated that they were not made aware of the new tax and its significant negative effect on Illinois-based businesses as the bill moved through the General Assembly. In fact, the new tax was not mentioned during House and Senate floor debates on the bill. Legislators that did not understand the full impact of SB 3324 will hopefully now have an opportunity to reconsider their vote prior to the January 1 effective date of the new tax.

Health Benefits Exchange

Advocates and coalition members for a state-based healthcare exchange are expected to meet during veto session to discuss the possibility of introducing legislation in the House to create a state-based exchange. The Senate has already passed a bill. The House could not reach consensus on the issue and it stalled.

Gov. Pat Quinn is urging the creation of a state-based exchange so Illinois does not potentially lose the Federal subsidies if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes them down next year in their ruling. Illinois currently partners with the Federal government to run its healthcare exchange. Federal law, as written, states tax credits to be given to individuals in exchanges established by the states. The Supreme Court will rule whether those tax credits are applicable to individual in exchanges run by the Federal government.

Those health insurers not participating on the exchange will have a capped assessment at the five-year average from their previous contribution to CHIP.

Lawsuit Lending

Legislation may also be introduced to regulate lawsuit lending in Illinois. This has been an initiative of the Illinois Chamber and others in the past and continues to be a priority to regulate an industry that seeks out plaintiffs with promising pending lawsuits and offer them “up front” cash to cover immediate living or medical expenses while they are engaged in a lawsuit and await settlement. These third-party loans are provided at exorbitant interest rates, and are then paid back to the lender from any settlement or judgment award the plaintiff may later receive.

In a real sense, the consumer lawsuit lender is a gambler who bets on the plaintiff’s case being successful. If the plaintiff recovers substantially through settlement or a damages award, the lawsuit lender wins big. But, if the plaintiff loses, the lawsuit lender recovers nothing. This fact leads lawsuit lenders to seek control over strategic decisions in litigation in order to prosecute lawsuits in their own interests, even if those interests diverge from those of the plaintiffs.

Legal reform advocates, such as the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), and consumer advocacy groups are promoting legislation that would actually protect consumers and curb lending abuses by bringing lawsuit lending into alignment with existing state law. These efforts would make consumer lawsuit lending subject to the same fair-lending laws already in force in that particular state.

Income Tax Extension

No action is expected to take place during the session.

Auto IRA

Legislation introduced earlier this year would mandate that employers set up an automatic Individual Retirement Account for their employees, a system to be administered by the Illinois Dept. of Revenue and a newly created board led by the Illinois Treasurer.

The legislation targets small businesses with 25 or more employees and forces them to set up the accounts and to automatically deduct at least 3 percent from their employees’ paychecks. An employee would have to actively pursue “opting out” if they did not want to participate.

The Illinois and Aurora chambers are part of a coalition that opposes this proposal as it is a mandate on employers, not an option. Small businesses currently have a variety of private sector options they may choose to participate in for retirement purposes. And the money from participants would not be held in or managed by a depository institution or a trained financial professional. Instead, it would be deposited into a new government holding account to be invested potentially by state officials. The consumer losses suffered under other state administered investment programs are reason enough to oppose implementing yet another government-run investment program.

Legislation for Public Utilities

During the first week of session, HA#1 and HA#2 were recommended to be adopted to HB 3975 in House Public Utilities Committee to extend the sunset date for the implementation of modernizing and upgrading Illinois’ electrical system.