IEDA UPDATE – July 9, 2020

Illinois Legislative News

The lawsuits over the extent of Governor Pritzker’s authority during a declared disaster continue, with rulings in two cases late last week. In the first case, in federal court, the Illinois Republican Party sued the governor over the 50-person gathering limit, arguing that political parties should be able to hold gatherings of any size, citing their First Amendment rights. The state GOP sought the same treatment that houses of worship received, exempting them from this requirement. After losing the case, the party appealed numerous times, eventually asking Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction from Pritzker’s order, which was denied. The party said it intends to appeal.  

In a second case, in state court, the governor lost his case against state Representative Darren Bailey’s attempt to void the state’s Executive Orders. Bailey was previously successful in getting a judge to exempt only him specifically from any subsequent orders beyond the initial Stay-at-Home order, which the representative then re-filed to apply to all the state’s residents. The same Clay County Circuit Court Judge – Michael McHaney – said that all of the governor’s EOs since April 8th are void. Crucially, the judge did not issue an injunction, with the governor’s office stressing that Phase 4 of the reopening plan remains in effect. McHaney’s ruling, which did not address all counts brought by Bailey, also recognized that the “proper authority” to close businesses and limit movements in a public health emergency lies with the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Attorney General’s Office is appealing the ruling, and a hearing in the case is set for July 17th.

The fight over a Constitutional Amendment to allow for a state graduated income tax reemerged to the forefront of Illinois politics this week. Vote Yes for Fairness, a committee backing the ballot initiative headed by Pritzker’s former deputy campaign manager, disclosed a $51.5 million contribution from the billionaire governor last Friday. This follows a $5M contribution in December from Pritzker who is the committee’s primary financial backer. At the same time, business groups opposing the graduated income tax – including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Farm Bureau, and the Illinois chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business – held a press conference this week making their case against the amendment. Both sides have run a series of digital ads on the issue this week.

According to a recent report from the bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, the State’s most recent fiscal year, which ended on June 30th, saw a $1.14B decline in base revenues compared to FY2019, due to the economic impact of COVID-19. This approximately 3% decline was primarily due to a $972M drop in personal income tax receipts. Despite the drop, there were some encouraging signs, such as a $173M increase in personal income tax receipts in June 2020 compared to last June. Although the reasons for this are unknown, it may be due to people choosing to pay their taxes before the extended July 15th deadline or an increase in unemployment benefits, which are taxed.  

Important Upcoming Dates  Statewide

  • July 17, 2020 – CURE Application Closes
  • August 1, 2020 – CURE Fund Reimbursement Period Begins
  • November 3, 2020 – Election Day
  • November 17-19, 2020 – First week of Veto Session
  • December 1-3, 2020 – Second week of Veto Session
  • December 15, 2020 – Final Day for Local Government to Submit Reimbursement Requests to DCEO


In the News

Which parts of the Chicago area got the most PPP loans? Check out this ZIP code analysisChicago Tribune, July 8, 2020
As federal money flowed into Illinois to support businesses during the pandemic, much of it went to Chicago’s downtown and North Side neighborhoods as well as its northern suburbs. Businesses in ZIP code 60062, which encompasses the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, received the greatest number of loans — 1,907 — though the vast majority were small loans of less than $150,000, according to an analysis of data released this week by the Small Business Administration.

Cook County to start dividing up ‘much-needed’ $51 million in federal CARES Act funding to suburbs hardest hit by coronavirus pandemic  — Chicago Tribune, July 8, 2020
Cook County suburbs will receive about $51 million in federal aid under a formula that officials say will prioritize areas with the direst financial and public health needs, board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Wednesday. More than 100 cities, towns and villages will receive a slice of the money, which makes up 12% of the total $429 million coronavirus relief fund given to Cook County under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Preckwinkle said at a news conference in west suburban Berwyn.

Illinois AG asks Clay County judge to rule on last issue in Bailey’s lawsuit - The Southern Illinoisan, July 8, 2020
The Illinois attorney general’s office on Tuesday night asked a downstate judge to address the one outstanding issue in Rep. Darren Bailey’s lawsuit challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney decides whether Pritzker’s April 30 emergency declaration correctly defines COVID-19 as a disaster, the state is procedurally barred from asking a higher court to reconsider the Xenia Republican representative’s lawsuit.

Democrats flush with cash while GOP sums paltry: Where key campaign committees stand The Daily Line, July 9, 2020
With less than four months until Election Day, the fundraising for both Democrats and Republicans in the state is down compared to election years prior. The sole exception is Gov. JB Pritzker whose personal wealth is guaranteed to help his party as well as solid fundraising from other legislative leaders. For Republicans, the fundraising picture is far more dire. But there are some bright spots for Republicans. Despite the Illinois Republican Party’s dismal $14,100 raised since the end of March, according to state campaign finance records, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) raked in more than $731,000 this quarter.

Pritzker calls for national mask-wearing orderCrain’s Chicago Business, July 8, 2020
In remote testimony before a U.S. House panel, Pritzker ramped up his longstanding criticism of how the Trump administration has handled the pandemic. But he suggested there is still time for actions that could curb it as confirmed cases and hospitalizations soar in states in the South and West, potentially affecting Illinois.

State sees biggest daily spike in COVID-19 cases in a month as Pritzker beefs up mobile testing sitesChicago Sun-Times, July 8, 2020
Another 980 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Illinois, health officials said Wednesday, marking the largest number of new cases reported during a 24-hour period in over a month. The latest batch of cases were detected among 32,742 tests, the fourth highest total ever received by the state.

Commentary: How a graduated income tax would help the environmentChicago Tribune, July 7, 2020
The Sierra Club is endorsing the graduated income tax proposal: This fall, Illinois can set that right by approving the graduated income tax constitutional amendment, creating a system where millionaires and billionaires pay more, while 97% of Illinoisans — everyone making less than $250,000 a year — gets a tax cut or pays the same as they do now. The new revenues raised from those at the very top can help reverse the decline in funding for health, science and environmental protection programs. At a time when everything feels beyond our control, fair tax reform is a choice we all can make to chart a course for a better future.

Fight over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s graduated-rate income tax plan intensifies in Illinois Chicago Tribune, July 7, 2020
A coalition of Illinois organizations that represent businesses launched an effort Tuesday to beat back the proposal, a move that follows Pritzker’s recent $51.5 million contribution to the ballot initiative committee that’s backing a shift from a flat state income tax to one that would impose higher rates on the highest earners.

Pandemic Brings New Urgency To The Problem Of Illinois Holding Prisoners Long After They’ve Served Their Time - WBEZ, July 7, 2020
Criminal justice reform organizations are calling on Gov. Pritzker to ease conviction-based housing restrictions so hundreds of people can finally be released.

COVID-19 cases are spiking in states across the country. How does Illinois compare?Chicago Tribune, July 7, 2020
Across the country, states have either delayed reopening or reimposed restrictions amid surges in COVID-19 cases that have begun packing hospitals. Waiting on the sidelines, at least for now, is Illinois, where health officials are watching daily statistics uneasily as the state continues to allow its residents more freedom to travel, visit and shop.

Taxing messages: Opposing sides in graduated income tax battle move to captivate captive audienceChicago Sun-Times, July 7, 2020
Bankrolled by an astounding $51.5 million contribution from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a committee pushing a graduated income tax ballot initiative launched a series of digital ads on Tuesday — just as an opposing group announced grassroots efforts to fight the tax change that would pound high-income earners in the state.

Oberweis Dairy, chaired by GOP House hopeful Jim Oberweis, got $5.6 million PPP loanChicago Sun-Times, July 6, 2020
Jim Oberweis — the state senator who is a GOP House hopeful and who loaned his congressional campaign $1.1 million — is the chairman of Oberweis Dairy, a company taking a $5.6 million federal Paycheck Protection Program COVID-19 pandemic forgivable loan.

Surprise: Justice Kavanaugh sides with Gov. Pritzker over Illinois Republican organizations in COVID-19 crowd restriction caseChicago Sun-Times, July 5, 2020
Kavanaugh denied an emergency bid by Illinois Republican organizations to block Pritzker’s COVID-19 ban on political events with more than 50 people. 

STATE LOST $1.1B IN REVENUES FOR FY20The Daily Line, July 7, 2020
Illinois’ general funds revenue was off by $1.135 billion at the end of FY 2020 as compared with FY 2019, according to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s monthly report published last week. The total drop was close to what COGFA and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget had predicted for the state when Illinois’ revenue estimates were adjusted due to the state’s screeching halt in economic activity due to Covid-19, but slightly exceeded expectations. Moving Illinois’ deadline for income taxes from the traditional April 15 to July 15 to match the federal tax delay accounted for some but not all of the $765 million net drop-off in personal income tax revenue for FY 2020. Gross corporate income taxes dropped $308 million net, sales taxes were off by $154 million net from last year’s levels, according to COGFA. In the next six months, Illinois will borrow up to $5 billion from the Federal Reserve to make up for lost revenues through a first-of-its-kind program set up by the Fed this spring and borrowing authorized by the General Assembly in the budget approved during the legislature’s four-day special session in May.

Covid-19 accelerating persistent job losses in state coal industry The Daily Line, July 7, 2020
The state’s coal industry — on the decline for decades — lost 215 jobs in 2019 and produced 3.7 fewer tons of coal than in 2018, according to a new report published last week by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Lightfoot unveils roadmap to economic recovery from coronavirus pandemicChicago Sun-Times, July 9, 2020
The 105-page report has 17 broad-brush recommendations and many specific suggestions to confront challenges Chicago faces in coming back from COVID-19 and the civil unrest triggered by the death of George Floyd.

Red-Light Camera Business, O’Hare Janitorial Contractor Got Millions From Federal PPP Loans WBEZ, July 8, 2020
Politically-connected companies from the Chicago area have received big money from a government pandemic-aid program. The red-light camera company entangled in a federal corruption investigation and an airport janitorial contractor in Chicago are among the clout-heavy companies getting large amounts of federal funding to weather the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents released this week by Trump administration officials.

Another tool to help address flooding and promote economic development in Cook CountyThe Daily Line, July 7, 2020
This new approach gives developers greater flexibility to build projects and meet stormwater management requirements. Here’s how it works: A developer of a site can buy credits from another property owner who has more than enough capacity and is interested in putting stormwater solutions on their property. Specifications for participating in the program are available on MWRD’s website, which also will provide a running list of available supply sites.

PPP loans in Chicago: The inside story of who got whatChicago Sun-Times, July 7, 2020
With generous terms and at a time of unprecedented panic as the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns crippled the economy, 202,157 Illinois employers received federal Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans.

CPD announces formation of citywide unit to fight violent crimeChicago Sun-Times, July 8, 2020
Chicago police announced Tuesday it will create a citywide violent crime unit after three consecutive weekends with at least 65 people shot and multiple children killed. The specialized unit is meant “to tackle violent crime and create community partnerships in some of our most challenging areas,” the department said.

From museums and restaurants to law firms and supermarkets, thousands of Chicago-area businesses got PPP loans worth $1 million or moreChicago Tribune, July 6, 2020

The Small Business Administration on Monday released a list of some of the businesses approved for federal payroll protection loans, and a lot of prominent Chicago-area companies received funds to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. From museums and restaurants to law firms and supermarkets, nearly 4,000 Illinois businesses and nonprofits were approved for PPP loans worth $1 million or more, according to SBA data, which was published online. Others received smaller sums.

New Chicago quarantine order kicks in for travelers from states with skyrocketing COVID casesChicago Sun-Times, July 6, 2020
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city will rely on self-compliance with her travel order, which is being publicized with a “marketing campaign” at O’Hare and Midway, billboards along highways and posters on CTA trains.

After threats from Mayor Lightfoot over social distancing, Chicago fines five businesses and shuts down party boatChicago Tribune, July 6, 2020
The city of Chicago fined five businesses for violating social distancing rules aimed at curbing the coronavirus over the weekend and also shut down the operator of a Lake Michigan party boat.

Flavored tobacco ban hits opposition as senior protection ordinance, pet sale restrictions pass committeeThe Daily Line, July 7, 2020
Advocates of an ordinance that would strengthen at-home health protections for seniors say the measure is set to pass a key hurdle on Monday.  The measure comes one month after an earlier version of their proposal hit a roadblock in the City Council.

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