Public Policy Newsletter
|Friday, March 18, 2016
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce remains focused on its mission to serve our members by supporting pro-business policies to foster a more competitive economic climate for our region and Illinois. Our government relations team works with elected officials at every level of government, and on both sides of the aisle, to realize this mission. We are present at the City, County, and State level of government and working every day to serve you, our member.
State of Illinois
After nine months, the State of Illinois continues to operate without a budget. The Chamber actively monitors developments and engages in constant discussions with our members and state legislators to find opportunities for a breakthrough.
Additionally, we are monitoring hundreds of bills that are of concern to our members. We remain hopeful that the Governor and the Illinois General Assembly will come to a bi-partisan solution to ensure that Illinois works towards a balanced budget and the economic reforms needed to provide certainty to our members and the business community so that they can confidently invest in their businesses for future growth.
The Illinois House returns from its legislative recess on April 4. The Illinois Senate is in session this week, and will return from its legislative recess on April 5.
On March 2, an ordinance was introduced “governing the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals.” The ordinance mandates:
- Prescription drug manufacturers must implement a drug take-back program.
- Each producer must fund and administer a stewardship plan for the collection, transportation, and disposal of unwanted covered drugs.
- Reporting requirements, costs and fees that will result in higher prices for prescription and non-prescription medications.
The Chicagoland Chamber is opposed to the proposed ordinance. Click here to view the ordinance.
We have reached out to our members and continue to engage in discussions with stakeholders on this proposed legislation. Please contact me with any additional concerns or insights.
The next Cook County Board of Commissioners Meeting will be held on March 23 at 11 a.m.
City of Chicago
Here are many key issues the Chamber is actively involved in on behalf of our members and the broader business community at the City level.
On March 10, Michael Reever testified before the Aviation Committee in opposition to an ordinance restricting the Commissioner of Aviation’s management and control of Chicago airports. You can view the full testimony here.
The ordinance failed to pass, see the votes here. Thank you to the aldermen who staunchly stood in opposition to this proposal. The Chamber will continue to work with Commissioner Evans in supporting infrastructure improvements, job creation, and economic development in and around O’Hare and Midway airports.
Short-Term Rental Ordinance
The Chamber continues to monitor the short-term rental ordinance (Airbnb), which was introduced at the January 13 City Council meeting. The ordinance amends municipal code concerning short-term residential rental intermediaries (such as Airbnb, VRBO, etc.). View the full ordinance here.
Currently, 5,000+ unlicensed private residence rental units operate illegally in Chicago. That is equivalent to 17 large hotels. They are not paying taxes or meeting life-safety standards. The Chicagoland Chamber is working with the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association to ensure that all short-term rental properties are held to the same standard.
Municipal Depository Ordinance
The Chamber is involved in discussions with the City Treasurer’s Office and Comptroller’s Office regarding the municipal depository ordinance. View the ordinance here.
The ordinance was originally introduced to the City Council in June, and is currently pending in the Committee on Finance. This ordinance would require financial institutions to submit reports on employee data, community involvement, and loan data.
The Chamber is opposed to this ordinance because it:
- Creates unfunded and unnecessary regulations;
- Threatens the confidentiality of employee and customer financial data; and
- Exceeds local authority.
The Mayor’s proposal increasing the purchasing age from 18 to 21 for tobacco products and tobacco accessories, and placing new taxes on tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, cigars, and roll-your-own tobacco, passed by a vote of 35-12. View the ordinance here.
The Chamber opposed this ordinance because it adds regulations and taxes to an already over-burdened business community.
Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus
Recently, the Mayor introduced the Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus program. It would allow property developers in the Central Business District to gain more density by contributing to a bonus fund for neighborhood development. The Chamber is continuing to monitor this proposal for any additional developments.
Mayor’s Working Families Working Group
The Mayor’s Working Families Working Group Report is under review. The Chamber is a member of the Working Group and has expressed its opposition to pending recommendations. The Working Group discussed paid sick leave, fair scheduling, paid FMLA and additional business supports. The Chamber is opposed to more business mandates that cause job loss, restrict neighborhood economic development, and raise the cost of doing business in Chicago.
The next City Council Meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 13 at 10 a.m.
On February 19, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce PAC honored Manuel “Manny” Sanchez at our 2nd annual PAC Advocacy Champion Award Luncheon. To learn more about the PAC, and the recent luncheon honoring Manny, please click here. Thank you to those members and supporters who helped make the event such a success.
Employment Law Forum at Barnes & Thornburg
Date: March 23, 2016
Time: 8:30 a.m. -11 a.m.
In 2016, the U.S Department of Labor will be implementing final regulations that will dramatically impact every workplace in this country. This is a not-to-be-missed meeting featuring partners from Barnes & Thornburg who will discuss the changes and answer your questions.
Tax Policy Forum with Secretary of the Illinois Department of Revenue Connie Beard
Date: April 5, 2016
Time: 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
As the Illinois General Assembly reconvenes for the final eight weeks of session without a budget for this fiscal year and a pending budget for next fiscal year, the Chamber Tax Policy Forum welcomes Illinois Department of Revenue Secretary Connie Beard for a timely discussion and Q&A from Chicago area business leaders.