The measure “holds harmless” essential State spending lines that are not burdens on taxpayers who pay income and sales taxes. SB 2042, as amended in the House on August 12, will “pass through” monies given to Illinois for programs mandated or strongly encouraged by Washington, D.C. Gov. Rauner signed SB 2042 into law on Aug. 20.
Although SB 2042 was a Senate bill, the final language approved by the General Assembly and the Governor was developed in the Illinois House after pressure from House Republicans. Led by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, the GOP caucus pointed out that the overall FY16 budget impasse was holding federally-funded programs “hostage.” Even though the underlying money to pay for these federally-funded programs had been paid by Illinois residents as part of their federal tax payments, Washington was not transferring funds for these programs to Springfield until the State’s government countersigned the transfer by assigning the money to legal appropriations line items. SB 2042, as urged and supported by House Republicans, created these line items and will enable this money to be transferred.
Before passing through the House, SB 2042 was carefully stripped of State taxpayer-funded items that will increase the State’s budget deficit. House Republicans continued to draw attention to the piecemeal FY16 Illinois budget taking shape, but noted that federal dollars should not be subject to the ongoing budget battle in Springfield. The House vote on SB 2042 was 98-0-0.
Every year, thousands of Illinois students take advantage of the Monetary Award Program (MAP) to help pay for the opportunity for higher education. The average student that is awarded a MAP grant receives about $2,700 to help pay for tuition. As college costs continue to skyrocket in Illinois, these grants are vital to many students’ college careers.
This year, however, due to the ongoing budget stalemate, the state has yet to invest funding in MAP grants.
“Each year, over 125,000 students in Illinois take advantage of MAP grants to help finance their college education, and with tuition costs on the rise, these grants are vital to many students’ futures,” said Kotowski. “If we fail to make this investment, we fail 125,000 leaders of tomorrow.”
The proposal, contained in Senate Bill 2043, calls for $374 million in MAP grant funding, the same amount proposed by Governor Rauner earlier this year.
“The program works: students who receive MAP grants graduate at the same rate as those that have the benefit of more financial resources, giving grant recipients an opportunity to achieve the American dream,” said Kotowski.
Congressman Bill Foster and US Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu will host a workshop for employers considering hiring people with disabilities on Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at Fox Metro, 682 State Rt. 31, Oswego, in the Administration building.
Representatives from the Great Lakes ADA Center, IDES, AbilityLinks and Chicagoland Business Network will provide information on:
• Recruiting and Hiring practices
• Business Tax credits & Deductions for Employment of People with Disabilities
• Hiring qualified candidates with disabilities
Employers will be provided with the tools and knowledge to better understand the processes and practices, benefits and resources available when hiring people with disabilities.
This will be a great discussion which you cannot miss, you can go to www.foster.house.gov/disability to register.
Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto to SB 1833, which as passed by lawmakers would have placed far-reaching requirements on businesses and provided minimal benefit to consumers.
In returning the bill to lawmakers, Rauner said, “These unnecessary requirements will hurt our economic competitiveness without providing commensurate benefit to Illinois consumers and residents whom the bill is intending to protect.”
“In particular, the bill would add ‘consumer marketing information’ and ‘geolocation information’ to the types of protected personal information. This is significant departure from the data protection laws of other states.”
Proposed DOL Changes Impact Small and Large Businesses Alike; Now What Do You Do?
The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently announced a proposed rule to increase the minimum salary requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act for exempt employees. Do you have employees that make under $50,000? Do they ever answer emails at night? If you answered yes, and the rule goes into effect, you may have to pay overtime for that email. Whether you have 10 or 10,000 employees the proposed changes will substantially impact the way you do business. The proposed rule sets forth guidance and requests comment on the following proposed changes:
The proposed rule is subject to a required comment period and will not go into effect until that period has ended. However, employers must be cognizant of the proposed salary increases and begin contemplating how this is going to affect your current workforce.
In light of the proposed regulations, employers should analyze the following:
Employers have options regarding these Proposed DOL Changes; however, in order to determine which options are the most financially and operationally feasible, it is important to begin the review process now during the budgeting period and before end of the year reviews. The legwork now will save your pocketbook some heartache later.
Julie Proscia is an equity partner at SmithAmundsen who assists business owners and management with their Labor and Employment needs. For more information or assistance, please contact Julie.
As the FY16 budget showdown continues, House Republicans took the lead in keeping a federal only pass through bill on track, ensuring approximately $5 billion in federal dollars will flow to state agencies and service providers. SB 2042, as amended in the House on Wednesday, August 12, will appropriate federal funds given to Illinois for specific state programs mandated or strongly encouraged by Washington, D.C. The Governor has signaled his support for a “federal funds” budget bill.
Despite overwhelming passage in the Senate, the original SB 2042 almost failed in the House due to a late amendment added by House Democrats that attempted to hold these federally-funded programs “hostage” to the overall budget impasse. In the end, the majority party yielded and allowed the original federal funds appropriation bill to be voted on by the full House with a handful of Republican suggested additions related to homeland security.
House Republicans continued to draw attention to the piecemeal FY16 Illinois budget taking shape, but noted that federal dollars should not be subject to the ongoing budget battle in Springfield.
Governor Rauner and his office begin to cut the FY16 budget on their own. In the absence of an FY16 budget, Illinois faces an immediate FY16 spending situation right now and a worsening crisis. The Governor and his office have begun to take unilateral action, utilizing the emergency rulemaking authority possessed by State agencies, to cut spending. Rules to reduce taxpayer spending on medical hospital reimbursements, Medicaid-paid medical transportation (ambulance services), State-subsidized child care services, and the operations of the Illinois Labor Relations Board have been promulgated in the first weeks of the GY16 budget impasse.
The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), an arm of the Illinois General Assembly, considered these budget-cutting rules at their meeting on Tuesday, August 11. JCAR did not take steps to block these rules, which will remain in effect.
Illinois continues to operate without a budget for FY16. While many sections of State government are approaching crisis conditions, many others are operating normally due to various court cases, consent decrees and continuing appropriations. This ability by much of the State to “carry on as usual,” even in the absence of a budget, is seen by many observers as a factor that is delaying pressure from building towards a resolution of the crisis.
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The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the nonpartisan agency within the Illinois State Legislature that tracks the budget status of the State, issued its monthly report for July 2015 on Monday, August 3. General funds tax receipts continued to fall short of spending in the first month of the FY16 fiscal year, largely due to the partial rollback of State income tax rates in January 2015. In July, income tax receipts fell by $204 million. Of this shortfall, $189 million of the shortfall was in personal income tax receipts and $15 million was in corporate income tax receipts.
Although this July 2015 revenue shortfall was widely predicted and is now a matter of public record, the majority party in the Illinois General Assembly has not yet published an FY16 revenue estimate matching the CGFA numbers, even though the Constitution and laws of Illinois require it. Of course, if the majority party adopted a balanced revenue estimate this would lead to increased pressure upon themselves to enact a constitutional balanced budget for the same fiscal year; and they have not done this, either.