Quarterly Update | July 2022
Current Advocacy Work
Opposition to the Requirement of Government Capital Contract Bidders and their Subcontractors to be Unionized Companies
The NACC Business Works Committee voted to oppose a requirement in the local “responsible bidder process” which would exclude non-union companies and their sub-contractors from bidding on capital projects in Naperville. Should this requirement be included in the “responsible bidder process” City of Naperville ordinance, all companies who bid on local capital projects and their subcontractors must participate in a U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeship training program.
Requiring such programs clearly discriminates against non-union companies preventing them from bidding on high-dollar capital projects. It further discriminates against sub-contractors, many of whom are small businesses and minority-owned businesses, from securing work through government contracts. It is not feasible or financially viable for small contractors to have a United States Department of Labor (USDOL) approved apprentice and training program
As a result, the City of Naperville will have significantly reduced competition for contracts. The apprentice and training requirement will stymie small contractors from bidding on local public works projects, which lessens competition and increases the cost of public projects increasing the burden on taxpayers. Additionally, it will become more difficult for the city to procure local contractors and use local labor.
A key legislative priority of the NACC advocacy efforts is to support education and workforce development. However, investment in workforce development must be done equitably. Giving preferential treatment to unionized businesses with established USDOL sanctioned apprenticeship programs is not equitable.
Requiring all bidders and sub-contractors to participate in active apprenticeship and training programs approved and registered with the USDOL’s Office of Apprenticeship is bad policy and prevents fair competition among members of our business community and discriminates against our small and minority-owned businesses.
This issue is currently scheduled to be discussed at the Naperville City Council at their August 16th meeting. If your business or you are aware of a business impacted by this issue, please reach out to Reba Osborne, Director of Government Affairs at Reba Osborne at Rosborne@naperville.net. We need your impact statements to strengthen our advocacy efforts.
Façade Improvement Grant Request
The NACC will be partnering with the Naperville Development Partnership to request that the city council direct funds for a grant program in which businesses throughout the city of Naperville could apply for grants for façade improvements. We recognize that the needs vary among members of our business community at this point in pandemic recovery. However, our brick-and-mortar establishments, restaurants, retailers, etc. who were unable to pivot to solely online and/or remote working were the hardest hit. It is well documented that there is a positive halo effect when investing in improvements to the outside of our establishments for surrounding businesses as it creates more foot traffic to area businesses.
We will be requesting that the city of Naperville earmark $500,00 to be directed to a grant program for façade improvements for these establishments throughout the city. We envision these grants being capped at $25,000 per establishment and require a 50/50 match from the business owner. Should we be successful in our ask to the City, we want to hear from our Members as to what components of the grant are needed to create the biggest impact on businesses in our area.
Landmarking of Private Property
The Chamber joined forces with several other stakeholders in asking the Naperville City Council to require the consent of private property owners before a landmark designation can be made on their property, significant reducing (and even eliminating in certain respects) the rights of property owners to make changes, alterations, or even sell their property. The current landmark ordinance allows for any person or entity to file a landmark petition for a property at least fifty years old and meeting one criterion for significance.
The Chamber recognizes the importance of preserving the historical significance of our great Community. However, we believe private property owners’ rights must be protected from arbitrary designations that can cause years of litigation and very significant legal expenses for private property owners.
Our advocacy efforts yielded a significant positive step forward for property owners. The City Council voted to direct its staff to draft an ordinance that would protect private property rights against involuntary landmarking applications, with exceptions for city council majority vote in unique circumstances. Our team will continue its efforts to protect the rights of property owners in our community.
Impact of Illinois Sales Tax Holiday on Local Businesses
A bill was signed into law this legislative session in Springfield which creates an “Illinois Sales Tax Holiday” from August 5th-August 15th. The stated intent of this law is to provide a temporary tax relief package to residents who are purchasing back-to-school items. Determining what purchases are eligible is a bit complex. It applies to clothing and footwear items under $125 certain school supplies, etc. A full list of qualifying and non-qualifying items can be found at the Illinois Department of Revenue informational bulletin.
The potential challenges of implementing this “Sales Tax Holiday” on our local business was a subject discussed with our state legislators at our End of Session Event in June. Specific issues under review are the resources required by our businesses to set up the point of sales devices to properly account for the tax differences among items sold and concerns over the hefty penalties a business can face in an audit – should items not be properly coded. To provide our state legislators with a clear understanding of the potentially negative consequences on our businesses and to propose policy adjustments, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to me (Reba Osborne, Director of Government Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org), and please complete this quick questionnaire.
International Trade Resources
A top priority of Business Works is to support and promote global commerce. We have a partnership with the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago. Their organization is a forum for the exchange of up-to-date and practical information and resources to support building your market internationally.
Certificates of Origin
Remember the NACC offers electronically Chamber-stamped Certificate of Origin and export-related documents with special pricing for Chamber Members. For more information and to get your COO, Click Here.
We work with so many great individuals and organizations who provide wonderful resources to us for our advocacy effort. One special person I would like to highlight this quarter is: Bruce Olson, Business Services Coordinator at the Illinois Department of Employment Security North Aurora Office. He provides us with detailed quarterly labor market data and statistical reports specific to our local area, by industry, gender, age, etc. These data points can be helpful in assessing the availability of workers for your business, etc. Please reach out to Reba Osborne, Director of Government Affairs at Reba Osborne at Rosborne@naperville.net if you are interested in these quarterly reports.