The Illinois General Assembly adjourned well after midnight, on Friday, April 8th, ending a very abbreviated session. As you recall, several weeks of sessions were canceled in January/early February due to the rise in COVID-omicron variant cases. Normally the session ends in late May, but the session was shortened to allow elected officials in the June primary races to campaign in their local communities.
Here is a short recap of the outcomes of the bills in which we were advocating this General Assembly:
Replenishing of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund:
The General Assembly voted to allocate $2.7 billion of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Unemployment Insurance Trust fund (UI), $1.8 shy of what we were advocating for to prevent tremendously escalating unemployment insurance rates for businesses. ARPA is the latest federal stimulus bill to aid public health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The UI Trust fund is the pool of funds used to fund unemployment payments. This fund was depleted during the pandemic due to forced business shutdowns and fraudulent claims. There is a slight chance of re-negotiation in the fall but more likely January 2023 will be our next opportunity to work on increasing the ARPA allocation.
Extend the EDGE Tax Credit (Economic Development for a Growing Economy):
These are credits awarded per job created by the calendar year. The General Assembly agreed to extend this program for another five years helping IL stay competitive with neighboring states.
Hotel, Restaurants, and Tavern Grants:
The General Assembly allocated ARPA dollars for grants to support these industries. Restaurants and taverns could be eligible for one-time grants up to $50,000. One-time grants to hotels would be up to $1,500 per hotel room.
Restructure the Minimum Wage Credit’s incremental phase-out (HB5320):
We were encouraged to have Representative Janet Yang Rohr sign on as a sponsor of this bill and Representative Amy Grant was an initial sponsor. The hope was to have this bill pass to allow small businesses to capture the original intent of the credit, however, it did not pass this session. We will continue to work on this issue to extend this credit to 25% for the next three years.
UPCOMING NACC PROGRAM
End of Session Re-Cap Program
June 9th | 3:30 pm | NACC Calamos Conference Room
Local State House Representatives and Senators will join us to discuss the results of the General Assembly Session and the impact on the business community. There is a charge of $20 for Chamber Members and $45 for members of the community. A full house of Chamber Members for this event would send a clear message to our elected officials that the business community has a keen interest in their voting in Springfield.
As always, if you want more information about our advocacy efforts or have a policy in play that impacts your business or industry, please reach out to me.
Reba Osborne, Director of Government Affairs