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Public Policy Newsletter

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Chicagoland Chamber public policy team is monitoring, supporting and actively opposing several policy issues at all levels of government. Please see important updates below on issues for the State of Illinois, Cook County and City of Chicago.

State of Illinois

Senate Bill 1488

In Springfield on Tuesday, October 20, Michael Reever, Chamber vice president of government relations, testified at an Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee hearing to oppose Mayor Emanuel’s proposal to double the residential homeowners’ exemption. Senate Bill (SB) 1488, as amended, would allow the City of Chicago and any county statewide which chooses to opt-in to double its exemption from $7,000 to $14,000.

SB 1488, as amended, would shift more of the property tax burden onto businesses and renters because of Cook County’s archaic and unfair classification system that requires commercial and industrial properties to pay 2.5 times more than their residential counterparts. The Chamber recognizes Mayor Emanuel’s bold leadership in righting Chicago’s fiscal ship after decades of mismanagement, but we will not accept an additional property tax increase on the businesses—big and small—which anchor our neighborhoods.

On October 14, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle stated, “We can’t do it,” referring to Mayor Emanuel’s yet undisclosed plan. Immediately after the hearing, President Preckwinkle reaffirmed her concerns and skepticism of the Mayor’s plan to double the exemption amid the very real challenges Cook County faces in its implementation.

More information on Senate Bill 1488:

ACTION ALERT: Click here to contact your state legislator to let him or her know you oppose the proposed SB 1488 legislation.

The Illinois House and Senate return to Springfield on Tuesday, November 10.

Cook County

County Budget

Preckwinkle 10-22-2015 11-49-08 AMOn October 14, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle introduced the FY16 County budget. For more information on the County budget, please click here.

After a briefing by County staff, the Chamber determined it is opposing President Preckwinkle’s plan to expand the County amusement tax to include cable television. The County has already increased its sales tax by one percent, and it is unacceptable that employers and consumers be asked to pay more.

Click here to view the Chamber’s statement on the proposed Cook County amusement tax.

Cook County Minimum Wage Increase

In addition, Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele (2nd District) has introduced a County-wide minimum wage increase on employers with 750 employees or more. The County has already passed a $434 million sales tax increase on County residents and employers, and this is not the time to place yet another burden on employers.

On October 20, Elise Houren, Chamber Director of Government Relations, testified at a public hearing opposing Commissioner Steele’s proposed ordinance.

Click here to view the Chamber’s testimony on the proposed Cook County minimum wage increase.

Click here to read the Chamber’s press release on the proposed Cook County minimum wage increase.

The next Board of Cook County Commissioners meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 28, 11 a.m. at Cook County offices, 118 N. Clark Street.

City of Chicago

City Budget

Emanuel 10-22-2015As you have read in previous newsletters, Mayor Emanuel’s budget proposal was presented on September 22. Budget hearings immediately followed. Elise Houren, Chamber Director of Government Relations, attended and monitored these hearings.

On October 14, the Chamber testified at a City Council public hearing on the 2016 budget against the proposed homeowner’s exemption and conveyed the continuing challenges confronting Chicago’s business community.

Click here to view the Chamber’s testimony on the proposed homeowners’ exemption.

Click here to read the Chamber’s statement on the proposed homeowners’ exemption.

On October 20, the City Council’s Finance Committee approved the record property tax increase and revenue ordinance, while also agreeing to not increase the proposed garbage fee through 2019. A final vote will take place on October 28.

Working Families Task Force

The Chamber continues to serve on the Mayor’s Working Families Task Force. The Task Force is discussing paid sick leave, family leave, and fair scheduling. The Chamber is actively representing the interests of the business community to the members of the Task Force. A report will be produced following the conclusion of the Task Force this winter.

The next City Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 28, 10 a.m. at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle.

U.S. Government

Export-Import Bank Re-authorization Vote

The U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on Ex-Im re-authorization this coming Monday, October 26th. This is not the final step but it is a critical vote in our fight ‎to keep this vital tool for U.S. exporters.

We urge you to CALL and WRITE the Southern Illinois delegation in the House TODAY and tell your legislator to:

1) Be present October 26 in Washington, DC for an Ex-Im vote.

2) Vote YES to allow the U.S. House to vote for Re-authorization.

3) Vote YES to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.

ACTION ALERT: Taking action is easy. Simply follow the links below for instructions to quickly call and write your U.S. Representative:

Moreover, we also request you send this information to your employees to take action.

Without the re-authorization of Ex-Im Bank, the United States’ ability to compete and win in a fierce global economy is at risk. U.S. exporters and their customers have been unable to access Ex-Im financing since June 30, which has resulted in lost jobs and opportunities across the country.

Please take this important action TODAY. Your U.S. Representatives need to know they cannot wait any longer to finish their work on this critical issue.

Public Policy Committee and Forums

cullerton 2On October 16, the Chicagoland Chamber hosted Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton for a special, member-invite-only public policy discussion on the continuing State budget impasse.

We have two more upcoming member-invite-only public policy discussions:

  • November 2, 8:00 – 9:00 AM, at Chamber offices: Illinois House Revenue and Finance Chairman John Bradley and Illinois Republican spokesperson David Harris talk with members about the continuing State budget impasse and take your questions.
  • November 1, 12:00 – 1:00 PM, at Chamber offices: Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno will talk with members about the continuing State budget impasse and take your questions.

Chamber in the News

October 20 | Chicago Tonight: General Assembly Back at Work After Long Break

October 20 | Illinois News Network: Tax Change Sought by Chicago Passes Committee

October 20 | Chicago Tribune: Emanuel Property Tax Exemption Remains Work in Progress at Capitol

October 17 | Crain’s Chicago Business: Theresa E. Mintle Letter to the Editor – Choose Chicago Funding

October 14 | Chicago Tribune: Preckwinkle Plans to Tax Cable TV, Bowling and Golf

October 14 | Chicago Tribune: Emanuel Defends Budget Plan

We want to hear from you about any issues that may be of importance to you and your business. Please contact me directly with any questions or concerns at mreever@chicagolandchamber.org or 312-806-1508.


Michael L. Reever, Esq.
Vice President, Government Relations
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Public Policy Committee

Susan Sher, Vice-Chair, University of Chicago Hospital | Adrian Guerrero, Union Pacific Railroad | Ray Drake, UPS | Anil Anuja, CCJM | Manny Sanchez, Sanchez Hoffman Daniels | Ira Azulay, Immigration Attorneys, LLP | Robin L. Brown, Ingredion Incorporated | Pat Cermak, Wight & Company | Harry Seigle, The Elgin Company | Rick Bodnum, CME Group

Public Policy Division

Michael Reever, Vice President, Government Relations
Elise Houren, Director, Government Relations
Chamber Policy Consultant
Joan Parker
Joan A. Parker Government Affairs

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
The Wrigley Building , 410 North Michigan Ave, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone: (312) 494 6700
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