Archive for the ‘Federal legislation’ Category

Does ACA Compliance Keep You Up At Night?

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Wednesday,
July 8, 2015

7:30 a.m. Registration

$15 per person (includes continental breakfast and answers)

Belle Salle Banquets
1920 E. New York
Aurora 60502

Does ACA Compliance
Keep You Up at Night?

ACA has most employers anxious about its impact on their businesses, particularly those with more than 30 employees. Would learning how to turn it to your advantage in controlling your premiums be worth attending our event?

While enrolling employees in benefit plans, many employers run afoul of compliance with multiple governing agencies, including the IRS. Would you attend our event to learn how to stay out of jail?

PRESENTED BY
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora 60506
(630) 256-3180

 

2570 Beverly Drive #100

Aurora 60502

(630) 897-4239 

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Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. | Aurora | IL | 60506

 

 

This Week’s Member News

Monday, May 4th, 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
May 04, 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
CARSTAR North Aurora Collision Center
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Premium Outlets
ComEd
Continental Acura of Naperville
Continental Audi of Naperville
Continental Mazda of Naperville
Copy King Office Solutions, Inc.
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
Rick’s Auto Service
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

Contact Us

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

 

 

2015 Golf Classic presented by FirstMerit Bank
Tuesday, June 23, at Orchard Valley Golf Course

Thank you to FirstMerit Bank for their continued support of the Golf Classic as a Presenting Sponsor. Sponsorships are available – ranging from $250 to $1,500 – and feature a number of great benefits at a remarkable value. Please contact info@aurorachamber.com for details.

Register

Simon Sinek to Discuss Team Successes
The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce has invited members of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce to attend renowned leadership expert and best-selling author, Simon Sinek on Tuesday, May 5, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Community Christian Church – Yellow Box,1635 Emerson Lane in Naperville.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don’t

Simon will explain what it takes to create an environment in which people work as they were designed-together. It is under these conditions we are at our natural best.

When registering, click on Chamber Member registration, and add “Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce” in the comments.

Register

Premier Members
Premier Members
Public Policy: Ill. General Assembly Updates
Activity continues in Springfield with committee hearings. Check out the Chamber’s blog for details on legislative activities.

IDOT Launches ‘Listening Tour’

Remapping Returns

COGFA Increases Revenue Projections; Gov. Rescinds $26M Cuts

Gov. Rauner Convenes Working Groups

Aurora City Council Inauguration to be Held Tuesday

This Week’s Events for Members
Speaker Series: Simon Sinek
Tuesday, May 5, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
1635 Emerson Ln., Naperville

Save these dates:
May 12: Business Leads Group 1
May 13: Business Leads Group 2
May 14: Ambassador’s Committee Meeting
May 19: Coffee & Connections
June 11: Multi-Chamber Business After Hours at Mooseheart
June 23: 2015 Golf Classic presented by FirstMerit Bank
July 8: ACA Compliance Program
July 23: Business After Hours – Hesed House

Member News
Check out this week’s news from your fellow Aurora Chamber members.
Business Poll: Veterans Council Seeks Input
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: Take Survey
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.

Illinois ranks 5th in export-related jobs

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

From the Chicago Tribune:

Illinois ranks fifth in the number of jobs supported by exports but the growth in number of those jobs has slowed, according to a report published Thursday.

The number of Illinois jobs supported by exports rose only slightly — by 1.3 percent — to 345,050, according to the report from the United States Trade Administration and the Commerce Department. That compares with a post-recession high of 374,162 export-related jobs in 2012.

In 2013, Illinois saw export-related jobs dip nearly 9 percent to 340,609. The decline most likely was because the state saw a drop in exports of machinery, particularly heavy equipment to Australia, said Mary Trupo, a senior adviser at the United States Trade Administration. This was partially offset by increases in other areas, mainly petroleum and coal products, agricultural products, and computer and electronic products, she said.

Texas and California topped the list of states with jobs supported by exports with 1.1 million and 775,320 jobs, respectively.

The report also found that the export of goods from Illinois grew 3 percent in 2014 to a record $68.2 billion, according to the report.

Overall, the state’s export growth has mirrored that of the nation as a whole: double-digit growth from 2004 to 2008, reflecting the strong national and global economy; a drop in 2009 related to the global recession; double-digit growth again in 2010 and 2011 as the world economy recovered; and then slow growth since 2012 as the world economy slowed.

“State exports are always going to be more volatile than national exports,” Trupo said. “But in the case of Illinois they are tracking fairly well and are likely influenced by the same factors.”

Trade-supported jobs are important because they tend to pay more, said Trevor Kincaid, deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative. “In fact, studies have shown that export-dependent jobs pay up to 18 percent more on average than nonexport jobs.”

The United States is negotiating free trade deals with Asia and the European Union.

The report also listed Illinois’ key agricultural exports, which include soybeans and feeds. The state’s manufacturing exports included machinery, transportation equipment, chemicals, computer and electronic products and petroleum and coal products.

 

Public Policy Updates

Sunday, 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.

What Could Illinois Do with $20B a Year?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

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.

 

 

Last Call for Leadership Academy…and More in Your eMail

Monday, February 2nd, 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
February 02, 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
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
WSPY
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Welcome New Members

The Learning Experience
Andrea Gast
1555 Mesa Ln.
Aurora, IL 60502
(630) 692-0550
Education

Advanced Physicians
Debbie Brooks
3052 Weber Dr.
Aurora, IL 60502
(630) 898-9700
Health Services

 

Contact Us

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

 

 

Leadership Academy Begins Friday
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy is offered to representatives of member businesses and organizations and is designed to prepare a select group of qualified candidates for future leadership roles in the Aurora area. This program focuses on the unique strengths of our community and encourages a diverse mix of participants to engage in our community’s success.

Again this year, we are partnering with the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce to provide the opportunity to a wider audience.

Registration is due by Wednesday. For more information and application, visit the Chamber website.

Public Policy Update
Why Aren’t We Getting Our Fair Share?
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Chamber President Joseph Henning will join Congressman Bill Foster for a panel discussion on Illinois’ “Payer State” problem. Business and community leaders are invited to join the discussion Friday, Feb. 6, in Aurora City Council Chambers at 44 E. Downer Place. The event begins at 1:30 p.m.

Other panelists include Illinois Deputy Treasurer Jay Rowell and Illinois Poison Center Medical Director and MCHC Physician Michael Wahl, MD.

In a typical year, $20 billion leaves Illinois because we are a “payer state.” In fact, we pay $1.36 in Federal taxes for every dollar of Federal spending returned to the state. Illinois ranks in the bottom three nationwide when it comes to return on the Federal dollar. What could Illinois do with that money?

To attend, register at foster.house.gov/payerstate.

Public Policy Update: Senate Announces Committees
Last week, the Illinois Senate posted the committees and members of the 99th General Assembly. Local senators and their committee assignments may be found here.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, State of the State address preparations
Preparations continue for the State of the State address to be delivered by Gov. Bruce Rauner to the General Assembly on Wednesday, February 4. The Governor and his executive staff have published an advocacy platform, “The Illinois Turnaround,” that sets forth the broad goals he will be looking for in State policymaking. Gov. Rauner has fleshed out the points made in this package in a series of speeches delivered in key Illinois cities. For full article, visit the blog.

Mark Your Calendars; Save the Dates
Ribbon Cutting
Tuesday, February 3, at 4:00 p.m.
Sunnymere, 925 Sixth Ave., Aurora

2015 Leadership Academy
Begins Friday, February 6, at 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Chamber Offices
Register

Ambassador Committee Meeting
Thursday, February 12, at 11:30 a.m.
Chamber Offices

Premier Members
Premier Members
Member News
For more news and program information from your fellow Chamber members, visit the Aurora Chamber blog.
Board Nominations Sought
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for members willing to be considered to serve on the Board of Directors. All eligible nominees will be considered by the Nominating Committee. Nominations may be found online. Forms should be returned by Friday, February 13, at 5:00 p.m.

A Board of Directors governs the business, property, and affairs of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Board is responsible for establishing policy, budgets, and the guidance of affairs. The Board is composed of up to 22 persons who shall be members in good standing of the Chamber. Directors are elected for a term of three years which are staggered so that approximately one-third of the directors are elected each year. Vacancies in the board shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining directors.

To be considered to be a Director, nominees must be members in good standing.

ScaleUp Aurora to Launch Second Cohort in March
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is continuously looking for ways to provide our members with additional services and resources. Today, we are excited to announce a partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that welcomes you, through your existing membership with the Aurora Chamber, as a new member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at no additional cost.

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Women’s Business Development Center to support economic growth and job creation among small businesses. For information and details, visit our blog.

Register Now for GreenTown Aurora
The City of Aurora, in collaboration with other Fox River Valley communities, will be hosting Greentown Aurora-Fox River Valley on February 26 at Two Brothers Roundhouse. This event will bring together the public and private sectors to facilitate the sharing of ideas and promote the collaborative implementation of ongoing sustainability initiatives.

More information is available on the 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.

Why Aren’t We Getting Our Fair Share?

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Chamber President Joseph Henning will join Congressman Bill Foster for a panel discussion on Illinois’ “Payer State” problem. Business and community leaders are invited to join the discussion Friday, Feb. 6, in Aurora City Council Chambers at 44 E. Downer Place. The event begins at 1:30 p.m.

Other panelists include Illinois Deputy Treasurer Jay Rowell and Illinois Poison Center Medical Director and MCHC Physician Michael Wahl, MD.

In a typical year, $20 billion leaves Illinois because we are a “payer state.” In fact, we pay $1.36 in Federal taxes for every dollar of Federal spending returned to the state. Illinois ranks in the bottom three nationwide when it comes to return on the Federal dollar. What could Illinois do with that money?

To attend, register at foster.house.gov/payerstate.

Small Business Members Get Added Benefit

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is continuously looking for ways to provide our members with additional services and resources. Today, we are excited to announce a partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that welcomes you, through your existing membership with the Aurora Chamber, as a new member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at no additional cost.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation and 96% of their members are small businesses like you. Through your membership with the U.S. Chamber, you will have access to the many valuable benefits designed specifically for small businesses, including the toolkits available on Small Business Nation, news and advocacy updates, and other products, services, and publications.

In the coming week, you will receive an email directly from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce providing you with your membership number and information on how to access the many resources now available to you. Be sure to add smallbusiness@uschambersmallbusinessnation.com to your address book to ensure the email reaches you. We hope you find as much value in your membership with the U.S. Chamber as we have.

If you have any questions on this additional benefit, please contact the Aurora Chamber at (630) 256-3180 or via email info@aurorachamber.com.

 

IRS News for Business

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Tips to help you choose a tax preparer: Many people look for help from professionals when they file their federal income tax return. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax return preparer.

New Standard Mileage Rates Now Available. See Notice 2014-79

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

Many people give to charity each year during the holiday season. Remember, if you want to claim a tax deduction for your gifts, you must itemize your deductions. There are several tax rules that you should know about before you give. Here are Six IRS Tips for Year-End Gifts to Charity that you should keep in mind.

►AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Three new ACA pages on IRS.gov!

  • Use the Affordable Care Act and Taxes – At a Glance Chart to better understand the healthcare law and how it affects you.
  • See What’s Trending for news on trending topics and answers to questions we are hearing.
  • The IRS recently updated the Health Insurance Marketplace page on IRS.gov. The page now has two key sections. The first focuses on the Form 1095-A and what individuals and families can expect at tax time with respect to information about their 2014 Marketplace coverage. Notably it includes information about how to contact the federal and state marketplaces. The second section focuses on the current open enrollment period that runs through Feb. 15.

What’s In Store in Springfield

Sunday, 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.