Our Public Policy Activities

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce advocates for business interests at all levels of government. The Chamber monitors and reviews proposed regulations and legislation, and supports business interests to the media.

Key Public Policy Issues

Key public policy issues include: 

  • Testifying at public meetings and hearings. 
  • Monitoring and reviewing proposed legislation and regulations.
  • Serving on committees and task forces.
  • Supporting business interests to the media.
  • Maintaining a competitive and fair tax climate.
  • Balancing environmental and economic interests.
  • Promoting economic development in Illinois.
  • Improving the technology and entrepreneurial infrastructure.
  • Creating an education system that produces a qualified workforce.
  • Improving our region's transportation infrastructure.

Public Policy Updates

Public policy updates cover policy issues relevant to business as well as actions the Chamber has taken on behalf of the business community. See the archive of public policy updates here.

If you would like to receive bi-weekly public policy updates please fill out this form.

Public Policy Principles

As the voice of the Chicagoland’s business community since 1904, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is focused on driving an aggressive, pro-active, and principled policy agenda to advance economic growth to improve the business climate of the Chicagoland region for businesses of all sizes and industries. We work with all levels of government, member companies and countless strategic partners and stakeholders to make Chicagoland the best place to live, work, and grow their business.

 2017 Public Policy Principles

  • Support balanced, structurally sound fiscal reforms and tax policies to put Illinois and the Chicagoland region on the path toward fiscal stability and create certainty in our economic environment so that businesses will seek to invest, grow, and thrive in Illinois.
  • Support government, insurance, and employment policies that make Illinois and the region more competitive by limiting expensive employer mandates. Support reasonable reforms to minimize the employer cost related to workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and tort laws.
  • Support efforts to enhance Chicago’s status as the nation’s transportation hub for rail, highways, and aviation. Encourage increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and selfsufficiency in public transportation.
  • Support efforts to ensure that if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed, any such replacement plan will limit the harm to healthcare providers, insurers, small businesses and the millions of Chicagoland residents who have been provided care under the ACA.
  • Support the spirit and intent of the environmental laws that govern the nation, state, region, and city while recognizing that these must be balanced with social and economic realities. Support regulations and laws that reward environmentally-effective investments, that are the least burdensome, that are supported by sound scientific analysis, and that provide the most cost-effective environmental benefits.
  • Support efforts to create a dynamic workforce, fostered by a stronger and more accessible pre-K through early childhood education system, and workforce development programs.
  • Support a government regulatory system that operates in an open and transparent manner. Regulations should be cost-effective, flexible, and minimize regulatory burdens on business. Eliminating or streamlining onerous and often duplicative - regulatory permitting and fee requirements. Support user fees when appropriate.
  • Support efforts to expand and encourage international trade by advancing a pro-America trade agenda and continue investment in trade missions.
  • Support a competitive economic and business climate by ensuring the respect and dignity of all individuals regardless of gender, religion, race, national origin, sexual orientation by ensuring Illinois is an inclusive, healthy, and equitable environment for our employees, clients, and customers to live and work in, in order to maintain a competitive edge for the best talent and workforce.
  • Support technological innovation and e-commerce by providing incentives that foster, enhance, and reward collaboration and public-private partnerships with the express purpose of driving Chicago as a leading global center of technology industry.
  • Oppose any labor-relations legislation and regulation that includes provisions to eliminate secret ballots, binding interest arbitration, and any provisions that would violate First Amendment rights and subject employees and employers to harassment at home and work.
  • Support reasonable and sensible reforms of government pensions and retiree health care programs for current employees as well as future hires.
  • Support comprehensive immigration reform that increases security; has an earned pathway to legalization for undocumented workers already contributing to our economy, provided that they are law-abiding and prepared to embrace the obligations and values of our society; creates a carefully monitored guest or essential worker program to fill the growing gaps in America's workforce recognizing that, in some cases, permanent immigrants will be needed to fill these gaps; and refrains from unduly burdening employers with worker verification systems that are underfunded or unworkable.
  • Support comprehensive criminal justice reform efforts that will reprioritize enforcement efforts toward those who drive and perpetuate senseless gun violence, while providing rehabilitative resources to those low risk individuals who need and deserve treatment rather than punishment. The Chamber recognizes the recidivism and fiscal benefits to identifying low risk offenders eligible for alternative treatment dispositions, and applying our scarce criminal justice resources to target those who pose the greatest threat of violence to the public.

Legislative Agenda

State of Illinois

  • Support a balanced budget with responsible revenue and reasonable economic reforms
    • Any new revenue must first be aggressively targeted to pay down our State’s backlog of bills and our unfunded pension liabilities before creating or investing in new programs;
    • Support reasonable changes to the workers’ compensation system and other economic reforms to make Illinois more competitive;
  • Support full funding for Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).
  • Support investments in workforce development programs that train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
  • Support increased investment in pre-K and early education efforts.
  • Support a 2017 update to the State’s outdated telecom law.
  • Support constitutional pension reform.
  • Support legislative efforts to improve and update corporate incentive and tax credit programs, including EDGE and R&D tax credits.
  • Support legislation authorizing a land-based casino in Chicago.
  • Support a State capital and infrastructure plan that is responsibly funded, including user fees and a transparent increase in the gas tax, as appropriate.
  • Oppose any effort to tax business to business transactions and professional services.
  • Oppose legislation to establish a progressive income tax.
  • Oppose any changes to the Unemployment Insurance system outside of the agreed bill process.

City of Chicago

  • Support fee waiver for small business startups.
  • Support efforts to streamline business licensing and permits.
  • Support efforts to make the administrative rules process more transparent and accountable to the public
  • Support efforts to make the inspection process less expensive, more transparent, and predictable to businesses.
  • Support efforts for the continued growth and expansion of O’Hare and Midway airports.
  • Oppose efforts to limit the independent authority and decision-making ability of the Department of Aviation and Commissioner.
  • Oppose City-only labor and employment law mandates.

Cook County

  • Advocate creation of a taxpayers’ bill of rights.
  • Support the elimination of the distinction between residential and commercial/industrial property of the Cook County property tax classification system through a responsible phase-out approach.
  • Support efforts to make the administrative rules process more transparent and accountable to the public.
  • Oppose County-only labor and employment law mandates.

United States Congress

  • Support a replacement to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that limits the harm to healthcare providers, insurers, small businesses and the millions of Chicagoland residents who have been provided care under the law.
  • If Congress moves forward with new Medicaid financing mechanisms, support efforts to correct the long-standing financing inequity for Illinois, which has one of the lowest federal matching rates in the nation.
  • Support passage of comprehensive immigration reform.
  • Support increased funding of transportation and infrastructure needs with a responsible funding mechanism.
  • Support expansion of the H1-B visa program.
  • Support efforts to eliminate or phase-in the Department of Labor rule to double the overtime wage requirements.
  • Support the full implementation of the Export-Import Bank.
  • Support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Contact the Government Relations team

Elise Houren
Director, Government Relations
ehouren@chicagolandchamber.org
Matt Murphy
State Government Affairs Consultant
murphy@macstrategiesgroup.com