Taxes, Infrastructure Proposals Discussed

December 15th, 2018

Proposals made to increase State gas tax to fund infrastructure needs. Illinois’ motor fuel tax on gasoline is 19 cents per gallon and hasn’t been raised since 1990. All revenue from the tax goes to the Motor Fuel Tax Fund. In Fiscal Year 2017, $1.35 billion in State revenue was collected (approximately the same amount as was raised in FY16).

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently proposed raising the gas tax by 20 to 30 cents per gallon to fund a new Capital program and infrastructure improvements. That would more than double the current 19 cent per gallon State gas tax. IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn has also called for an increase in the State gas tax by at least 15 cents per gallon.

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday, Dec. 12, didn’t dismiss the possibility of a gas tax hike to help pay for rebuilding the state’s infrastructure, but he also cautioned that a major capital construction program won’t come quickly when his administration begins Jan. 14.

Pritzker also said a new capital program and the revenue to pay for it isn’t something the lame-duck 100thGeneral Assembly should pursue when it returns to Springfield on Jan. 7.

Ill. GA Reduces Govt. Duplication

December 15th, 2018

General Assembly takes step to reduce administrative expenses, consolidate operations. Under the setup in place in Springfield’s Capitol Complex heading into Fiscal Year 2019, the Illinois General Assembly had two separate nonpartisan research offices. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the General Assembly’s budget-monitoring and research arm, was in place to examine and oversee trends involving Illinois’ tax revenues, budgets, and spending. As a nonpartisan oversight panel with jurisdiction over cash flow issues, CGFA was in close contact with the General Assembly’s appropriations and revenue committees.

At the same time, another nonpartisan office – the General Assembly’s Legislative Research Unit (LRU) – was available to conduct research projects into issues of state policy other than appropriations and budget matters. For example, if a legislator or a legislative committee wanted to study the current status of legislation among the 50 states in issues such as criminal law or financial regulation, they could go to LRU and get a research report.

As time passed, it became clear that there was a good deal of overlap between the duties of these two offices. Running them separately had created a need for redundant taxpayer-paid staff. HB 3538 merged the two offices, eliminating full-time staff positions and reducing taxpayer costs. CGFA, co-chaired by House Republican Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, will be the surviving office within the overall merger. This fall 2018 bill also streamlines some reporting requirements and allows for reports to be filed electronically. The new measure was signed into law as Public Act 100-1148 on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.

New Illinois Laws to Take Effect on Jan. 1

December 14th, 2018

On Jan. 1, 2019, more than 250 new laws will be added to Illinois’ list of statutes.

During the two-year-long 100th General Assembly, 9,646 pieces of legislation were filed. Nearly 6,000 originated in the Illinois House and nearly 3,650 started in the Senate.

 

Of those 9,646 pieces of legislation, 1,268 passed both houses and 1,044 were approved by Governor Rauner.

 

The effective date of new laws can vary. Some legislation designates that the new regulations begin immediately upon becoming law. In other cases, legislation is date-specific, including the start of a new fiscal year or calendar year.

Among the 253 new laws taking effect on Jan. 1, here are 20 new initiatives added to Illinois’ law books that our members may be interested in.

 

Taxes & Fees

HB 4578 reduces the late fee penalty for LLC annual report filing from $300 to $100.

SB 3109 provides that all qualified applicants, regardless of immigration status, are eligible for Illinois professional licenses issued by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

 

Technology & Infrastructure

HB 5752 creates the Broadband Advisory Council, a council to expand access to broadband services and technology.

 

Employment Law

SB 2826 expands coverage of Illinois Human Rights Act and gives victims of workplace stalking and harassment further protections by creating provisions such as a reasonable, unpaid leave for court dates.

SB 3411 allows places of employment, places of worship, or schools to petition for an order against a person stalking their locations. Once an order is granted, that person may have to give up their firearms and FOID card.

SB 2516 requires employers of mandated reporters to inform their employees of available mandated reporter training.

HB 4340 requires massage establishments, organizers of public events that require a permit, and all primary and secondary schools to post notices informing employees and other members of the public of a helpline to assist any person who is subject to human trafficking.

SB 2999 requires employers to reimburse employees for necessary costs incurred in order to fulfill their job responsibilities, including “bring your own device” policies which require employees to use personal cell phones, tablets, or computers for work purposes.

 

Economic Development

SB 3527 expands the River Edge Historic Tax Credit.

SB 405 requires a sexual harassment policy for all companies that make a bid under the state’s procurement code and requires companies that claim EDGE credits to include their sexual harassment policy in their annual report to the State.

 

Education & Workforce Development

HB 4658 expands training teachers in identifying warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior.

SB 2527 states school boards cannot limit the number of dual-credit courses a student may enroll in or the number of credits a student may receive from dual credit courses. Further, they cannot limit student enrollment in online courses.

SB 2838 requires a public university or community college to work with local high schools to grant dual credit to a student who completes an accredited course.

SB 3536 mandates early childhood education programs to collect and review chronic absence data and recommend fixes.

SB 3232 creates a five-year demonstration project to provide an intensive workforce training program for entry-level workers and a multi-generational healthy family initiative.

SB 2350 requires schools to conduct at least one law enforcement drill that addresses an active threat or an active shooter within a school building no later than 90 days after the first day of each school year

HB 4858 a local school district or community college may apply for DCEO grants for the acquisition of land, construction of facilities, and purchase of equipment, dedicated solely to the instruction of occupations in manufacturing.

 

Healthcare

SB 2777 requires that every prescriber of controlled substances complete 10 hours of continuing education in safe opioid prescribing practices.

 

Transportation

HB 4944 allows truck tractors, semitrailers, or property-carrying vehicles weighing 10,000 to 26,000 pounds to be safety tested every 12 months.

SB 2511 requires that additional vehicle back-up lights emit a white or amber light.

 

Miscellaneous

HB 4377 requires any child under the age of two years be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint system.

HB 5547 requires the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit, on biennial basis, of state agencies and their cyber-security practices, with a focus on agencies holding large volumes of personal information.

HB 4288 allows all state National Guard members the protections afforded to all other branches of the military.

VNA Health Care Receives Proclamation for 100 Years of Service

December 7th, 2018

On Dec. 5, 2018, the City of Aurora presented VNA Health Care with a proclamation setting Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, as VNA Health Care Day in Aurora in honor of the organization’s 100th Anniversary.

Local community leaders and donors joined VNA Health Care to celebrate the organization’s century of service at a Founders’ Day Tea held at Moreton Arboretum. VNA Health Care was founded in Aurora on Dec. 5, 1918, by a small group of concerned citizens who came together to address the health care needs of the vulnerable population living in and around Aurora at that time.

“We cannot know precisely what was in the minds of the men and women who met at City Hall to form what would become VNA Health Care.” said Linnea Windel, VNA Health Care president & CEO, “What we do know is that their intentions were compassionate and that they moved to action, obtaining funding, securing space, hiring a nurse and engaging volunteer physicians, in order to open its doors within weeks of that inaugural meeting”.

Throughout this century of service, VNA has grown and adapted to serve the healthcare needs of communities across suburban Chicago. This special occasion was an opportunity to honor patients, supporters and community members who gathered to celebrate VNA’s accomplishments in extending high-quality, compassionate, and convenient care for all.

VNA Health Care operates 14 clinics in suburban Chicago and serves more than 72,000 people a year. VNA is nationally ranked as a top performing health center as a result of patient outcomes such as prenatal care, adolescent weight screening and counseling, vascular disease treatment, blood pressure control, healthy birth weights, and asthma care. VNA’s combination of convenience (by appointment or walk-in), patient-centered technology, and expert care delivered with respect and compassion have led to these results. VNA is accredited by The Joint Commission. 

 

Employers Should be Aware of W-2 Scam, Protect Employee Information

December 7th, 2018
Small businesses should be on-guard against a growing wave of identity theft and W-2 scams. Employers hold sensitive tax data on their employees – such as Form W-2 data – which is highly valued by identity thieves.
All employers are targets for the W-2 scam. This scheme has become one of the more dangerous email scams. Here’s how it works:
  • These emails appear to be from an executive or organization leader to a payroll or human resources employee.
  • The message usually starts with a simple greeting, like: “Hey, you in today?”
  • By the end of the email exchange, all of an organization’s Forms W-2 for their employees may be in the hands of cybercriminals.
  • Because payroll officials believe they are corresponding with an executive, it may take weeks for someone to realize a data theft has occurred.
  • Generally, the criminals are trying to quickly take advantage of their theft, sometimes filing fraudulent tax returns within a day or two.
This scam is such a threat to taxpayers that a special IRS reporting process has been established. Here’s an abbreviated list of how a business should report these schemes. They should:
  • Email dataloss@irs.gov to notify the IRS of a W-2 data loss and provide contact information. In the subject line, type “W2 Data Loss” so that the email can be routed properly. The business should not attach any employee personally identifiable information data.
  • Email the Federation of Tax Administrators at StateAlert@taxadmin.org to get information on how to report victim information to the states.
  • File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Businesses and payroll service providers may be asked to file a report with their local law enforcement agency.
  • Notify employees. The employee may then take steps to protect themselves from identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission’s www.identitytheft.gov provides guidance on general steps employees should take.
  • Forward the scam email to phishing@irs.gov.

Tanner House to Sparkle with Holiday Decor

December 5th, 2018

Visitors to the free open houses at the Tanner House Museum in Aurora will find a variety of decor this December.  In addition to colorful traditional decorations throughout, the 1857 home itself will be featured as an authentically-built, to-scale gingerbread house in the kitchen, and in the library, tiny elf-aliens will be delivering gifts from a spaceship parked outside a dollhouse.

Also new this year will be the “photo booth” concept used in the parlor.  Visitors interested in taking selfies can dress up in vintage style with items provided by the Aurora Historical Society.  Docents will be available to snap the shutter.  A century-old view camera will be on display.

The open houses begin Sunday, December 9.  Openings are on Sundays and Wednesdays from 1pm-4pm, and on Fridays from 4pm to 7pm.  Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.  The museum is located at 304 Oak Avenue, the corner of Oak and Cedar, in Aurora, 60506.  The last day of the program is Sunday, December 30.

There is more information online at www.aurorahistory.net or on Facebook at aurorahistory.

Holiday Celebration Wednesday; Your #AuroraChamber News for Week of Dec. 3

December 3rd, 2018

Last Chance. Join Us Wednesday.

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

Annual Holiday Celebration »
Money-Saving Programs For Members »
Public Policy Updates »
Premier Investors »
Welcome New Members »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Caught On Camera »
Member News »
Did You Know? »
Spotlight On Membership »
About The Aurora Chamber »

LAST CHANCE. JOIN US WEDNESDAY.

Holiday Celebration

Money-Saving Programs For Members

Money-Saving Programs For Members

Can You Save with an Association Health Plan?

As you know, our Chamber provides you and your business with resources to help make your lives a little easier. We are always looking for valued partners who can help us provide value to our members.

Our member has several insurance companies who are very experienced in providing association plan solutions to entities such as ours. Some of the benefits of buying insurance through this plan include:

• 5-15% lower rates than what you could get on your own
• Renewal rate cap of 7% once we get 500 employee lives in the plan
• All of the unused claim dollars are returned to you and your business

Read more here. If you are interested in participating (with no obligation), please contact Joseph Henning, president and CEO.

Public Policy Updates

The House and Senate released their 2019 spring schedules for the 101st General Assembly. The current General Assembly will meet one more time during “Lame Duck Session” on Jan. 7 and 8. The new General Assembly will be sworn in on Jan. 9 and the Governor will be sworn in on Jan. 14. On Feb. 20, the Governor will present the Budget Address. Other dates of note include the Senate Committee deadline on March 22, the House Committee deadline on March 29, and the Senate and House Third-Reading Deadline on April 12. Committee and 3rd Reading deadlines may be extended by the Speaker or the Senate President. Additionally, individual bills may have their deadlines extended. Adjournment is scheduled for May 31.
Other Recent Policy News

2018 Midterm Election Recap »
This Week in the General Assembly »
Ill. Quality of Life Only Average »
Illinois Jobs, Unemployment »
Durkin Re-elected as House Republican Leader »
Gov. Rauner Announces $1.5M in Recreational Trails Program Grants »
Ill. House Subcommittees Hold Joint Hearing on Gaming Issues »
Highlights of Tax Reform for Businesses »
U.S. Chamber Foundation Launches Education, Workforce Fellowship »
Governor Signs Bill to Transition to Multi-year
Vehicle Registration Opportunity
»
Governor Signs Legislation to Help Keep Illinois Students in Illinois »
State of Illinois Sells $965 Million in Bonds »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Welcome New Members

Aurora Downtown
Marissa Amoni
43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora
(630) 674-2099
Community-Based Organization

OHU Aurora Early Learning Center
Karen Player
525 College Avenue, Aurora
(630) 256-7703
Childcare

Fox Valley Developers
Michael Poulakidas
346 N. Lake Street, Aurora
(630) 892-5150
Real Estate Developers

Elite Members

 95.9 The River      Aaron’s      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora Limousine Service      Aurora University      Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Beans Greens Proteins      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      Company 251      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      Do Or Dye Designs      Dolan & Murphy      Endiro Coffee      Energy Bot      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      ganc.io      Gateway Mortgage Group      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.       New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC- Duckie Huynh      Obregon Medical Clinic      Old Second National Bank      OnLight Aurora      Painters District Council 30      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Presence Mercy Medical Center      Quality Logo Products      R.C. Wegman Construction Company      Rasmussen College      Rich Harvest Farms      Rush Copley Medical Center      S&S Metal Recyclers II      Scientel Solutions      ServPro of Aurora      Sign*A*Rama      SmithAmundsen, LLC      Staffing Network, LLC & QPA       Staffmark      Stonebridge Country Club      T-Mobile     Tempur-Pedic Stores      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      WSPY      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation 

Calendar of Events

Register Today: Holiday Celebration
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Aurora Country Club, 1548 Prairie St., Aurora

Aurora Young Professionals Kick-Off
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Luigi’s Pizza and Fun Center, 732 Prairie St., Aurora

Chamber Offices Closed
Monday, Dec. 24 & Tuesday, Dec. 25

Chamber Offices Closed
Monday, Dec. 31 & Tuesday, Jan. 1

Caught On Camera

Caught On Camera

Congratulations to M/I Homes Gramercy Square for their recent open house. Thank you to Ald. Edward Bugg for joining us for the ribbon cutting. It’s the season for gatherings and we joined First American Bank on East New York Street to begin welcoming in the season. Be sure and join us for the 2018 Holiday Celebration at Aurora Country Club on Dec. 5 for an evening of holiday cheer. Bring co-workers, customers, and friends. For these and more photos of recent activities, please visit our Facebook page.

Member News

If you have news to share with your fellow members, please forward to info@aurora-chamber.com. Be sure and check out our blog and social media for what’s happening in our region.
EEI Announces Two Junior Engineers »
On America Recycles Day, Are You Recycling Correctly? »
Congratulations, West Aurora School District 129! »
Can You Save with an Association Health Plan? »
Volunteers Sought to Serve on City of Aurora Boards, Commissions »
Illinois Communities Preparing for Solar »
Park District Earns Financial, Distinguished Budget Awards »
Save the Date: March 1 – College & Career Fair »
Aurora Receives National Grant to Offer Free Financial Counseling to Residents »
EEI’s Member Earns APWA CPII Certification »
Innovation Summit Sponsor Highlight: Konen Insurance »
Innovation Summit Sponsor Highlight: Umbrella Technologies »
W-2 Wage Earners Should Do a Paycheck Checkup ASAP »
An Estimated Tax Payment in 2018 Could Help Avoid a Penalty in 2019 »
Free Fall Leaf Collection Begins Next Month »
House Method Names Aurora ‘Most Underrated Town’ in Illinois »
Mayor Irvin Selected for Prestigious Leadership Program »
Aurora Police First in State to Join ‘Neighbors’ App »

Did You Know?

Last fiscal year, the #AuroraChamber website saw more than four million hits from nearly 350,000 visitors. One of the most popular destinations was the Member Directory with nearly 275,000 hits – an average of nearly 400 hits per member. Is your directory listing up to date? If you see something that needs to be changed or added, contact Reba Osborne, director of membership, for assistance.

SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERSHIP

The #AuroraChamber has a number of videos online to assist you in using your member profile to your advantage. Current videos include:

How to Pay Invoices Online
How to Post a Hot Deal
How to Add a Job Posting
How to Update Your Personal Profile
How to Update Your Company Profile
How to Manage and Post Events

About The Aurora Chamber

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is a private, not-for-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of more than 700 members representing nearly 40,000 employees. Our mission is be the catalyst for business success by providing leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for our members.

Not a Chamber member? Learn more about the benefits of membership.
Already a Chamber member? Make the most of your membership today.

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Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189

www.aurora-chamber.com

Police, Fire Subject of Aurora Historical Society 2019 Calendar

December 3rd, 2018

The brave souls who have looked after the safety of the city and her citizens over the last century and a half are saluted in the 2019 calendar from the Aurora Historical Society.

“Vintage Aurora: Police and Fire” is comprised of photos drawn from the archives of the society. The pictures span the years 1872-1970 and include the men and the machinery, as well as a few horses of the fire departments (in the mid-1800s there were as many as four companies operating at the same time), and police  department.

The calendar is $14.95 plus tax, with a 10% discount to historical society members.  It is available at the gift shop at 20 E. Downer Pl., 60505 or online at www.aurorahistory.net.  Online orders will be shipped at an additional charge.   Gift shop hours are Wednesdays-Saturdays from noon to4 p.m. and noon-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7.

Nov. 30: This Week in Illinois in Springfield

November 30th, 2018

Employment Law

Both chambers were successful in overriding the Governor’s amendatory veto to SB 904 (Hastings/Hoffman), a bill that would have had drastic implications for workers’ compensation costs. The Illinois Chamber’s Employment Law Council was able to negotiate and concerns were addressed with the passage of HB 3452 (Hoffman/Hastings) and HB 200 (Hoffman/Hastings).

The General Assembly was also successful in overriding the Governor’s amendatory veto to SB 1737(Munoz/Hoffman). This bill made changes to the workers’ compensation insurance rates overseen by the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) and also addressed short term health insurance plans. The Illinois Chamber considered the provisions on captive insurance an overall net positive and supported overriding the Governor’s veto. The bill now becomes law.

The General Assembly overrode the Governor’s amendatory veto to HB 4743, (Ford/Lightford). This legislation amends the Equal Pay Act providing that no employer may discriminate between employees by paying wages to an African-American employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to another employee who is not African-American for the same or substantially similar work on a job that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions. An unjustified pay differential based on race already is a form of discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act. The bill now becomes law.

 

Energy

Both chambers passed SB 849 (Zalewski/McGuire) this week. The bill prohibits home rule units of government from taxing or imposing a fee on the generation of electricity or the emissions from electric generation. The bill extended the sunset to Jan. 1, 2021. Amendment 2 was an initiative of the Illinois Chamber Energy Council. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.

 

Environment

The House Environment Committee continued to hold hearings this week on proposed amendments to SB 3101 (Sente). The bill’s amendments sought to regulate the use of ethylene oxide (EtO) in Illinois. However, given the high profile nature and complexity of the issue, the sponsor decided to pull the bill from moving during veto. The US EPA held a town hall hearing on EtO in Willowbrook last night. Expect this issue to be picked up in 2019.

 

Business Regulation

The House failed to override SB 2332 (Morrison/Lilly) this week. This bill would raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. The bill also eliminates the penalties for underage possession of tobacco products. We expect this legislation to resurface in 2019.

EEI Announces Two Junior Engineers

November 27th, 2018

Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI) is pleased to announce the addition of two new junior engineers to our firm.

Luying Li, E.I., has joined our firm as a Project Engineer.  She is a resident of Westmont, Illinois and holds her Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Geography from University of Cincinnati. Luying brings strong experience in water, wastewater, road design, water resources engineering and GIS analysis to our Civil Group.

Anupama “Anu” Mohanlal, E.I., has joined our firm as a Project Engineer in our Environmental Group. She is a resident of Batavia, Illinois and holds her Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Karnataka, India.  Her previous experience working with the Illinois State Water Survey has acclimated Anu to water supply and watershed challenges facing the State of Illinois.

Engineering Enterprises, Inc., founded in 1974, is an award-winning consulting engineering firm providing services to public agencies throughout northern Illinois.  Our experienced diverse staff includes licensed engineers, licensed surveyors, technicians, and support staff that provide a full range of services for planning, design, and construction of infrastructure projects, plus grant and funding assistance. For additional information visit our website at www.eeiweb.com