SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Businesses lobby governor, Statehouse leaders in Springfield

By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD – Business leaders from throughout Illinois gathered Wednesday in Springfield to share their concerns about the state’s business climate and to discuss pending legislative issues with Gov. JB Pritzker and top legislative leaders.

The annual joint convention of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association drew hundreds of attendees from businesses big and small to the capital city just as the General Assembly is going into its final stretch before its scheduled May 19 adjournment.

IRMA board chairman Art Potash, CEO of Potash Markets, a chain of specialty grocery stores in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, noted that more than 6,600 bills have been introduced in the General Assembly this year, the second most ever introduced in the first year of a session.

“Quite frankly, much of the legislation presents additional challenges to the business community,” he said during a luncheon speech. “Thankfully, the respective teams at IRMA and IMA have done a great job of containing most of the harm, at least as we sit here today.”

During his keynote address, Pritzker touted investments the state has made in workforce training and apprenticeships, as well as his proposed budget that calls for increased funding for community colleges, universities and student financial aid.

“Yes, of course, people are talking to Mississippi about low-wage workers that they can get if they put a low-wage manufacturing facility in that state,” he said. “But what they talk to Illinois about is skilled labor and skilled workers, because we provide those and we have the third largest community college system in the entire nation. And we’re utilizing that to make sure that we’re at the top of the heap when it comes to skilled work.”

As recently as March, Pritzker suggested that if state revenues continue to improve, some form of tax cuts could be on the table this year. But the most recent monthly reports have suggested that revenue growth has begun to slow down and that lawmakers should be more conservative in their planning for the upcoming fiscal year.

Speaking with reporters after his speech, Pritzker was asked about a Republican priority of repealing the estate tax.

“My priority is balancing the budget and making sure that we are continuing our march to credit upgrades and making sure we’ve set the real foundation for fiscal stability in our state,” he said.

The luncheon also featured a pair of panel discussions with lawmakers moderated by Chicago Tribune reporter Rick Pearson. During one of those discussions, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, drew applause when he responded with an emphatic “no” when asked if he plans to try again for passage of a constitutional amendment to allow for a graduated state income tax.

“You know, one of the things I’ve learned is you learn a lot in losses. And, you know, we got our butts kicked on that issue,” he said. “We have to find a different way to govern, and we’ve been doing that. And that different way of governing has led to eight credit upgrades and several balanced budgets and surpluses, where we have a rainy-day fund and Illinois is on the right track.”

Another issue that was the focus of much attention during the convention was the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, or BIPA, and the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision holding that a company can be held liable for each individual time they scan a fingerprint for an employee to clock in at work.

“Too many employers, nearly 2,000, are facing lawsuits from the trial bar today because they simply use time clocks or face scans for security,” IMA president and CEO Mark Denzler said earlier in the event. “Billions of dollars have already been paid out without any finding of harm. And the recent White Castle decision could cost them $17 billion. That’s a lot of hamburgers, folks.”

Asked about that during the panel discussion, Welch said it was possible the issue could be addressed in the final weeks of the session, but he offered no assurances.

“That’s a really complex issue,” he said. “And, you know, I think if we’re gonna get anything done, it’s gonna take all of us getting around the table and talking. We haven’t done that yet. But a month is a long time to go.”

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, said she believed BIPA is an issue that lawmakers “definitely” need to resolve this year.

“One of the things that we do in Springfield a lot is, we have good intent to make positive change, but the result of the legislation goes too far,” she said. “It isn’t, I don’t think, anybody’s intention to destroy business and have litigation pay out so much that you can no longer function in the state of Illinois, so I definitely think it’s open for discussion for sure.”

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of newspapers, radio and TV stations statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Edwin Espinoza

Off-duty Chicago police officer dies in Oak Lawn crash

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed Sunday morning when a vehicle crashed into a tree at 95th Street and Harlem Avenue in Oak Lawn. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the driver as Edwin Espinoza, 35, of the 5300 block of South Merrimac Avenue on the city’s Southwest…

regional 11-28 palos park police cadet food drive 2023

Palos Park police cadets holiday food drive underway

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Palos Park Police Cadet program annual Holiday Food Drive is underway. The cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department located at 8999 W. 123rd Street. Donations are accepted through January 1.  This is…

An Evil Elf is among the terrors at Christmas Fear in Oak Lawn on December 15-17. (Supplied photo)

Midnight Terror serves up a different kind of spirits at Christmas Fear

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong The Halloween fans at Midnight Terror in Oak Lawn have decided to extend the haunted house season into the holidays with their eighth annual Christmas Fear weekend in December. Savage Santas, eerie elves, and sinister snowmen will be running amok and showing off their own kind of Christmas spirit at…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound November 29, 2023

Spread the love

Spread the love

Mary Stanek

Dogs had their day at alderman’s office

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who let the dogs out? Twenty-third Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares let the dogs in, at her office on 63rd Street. Our Oliver was one of the…

Peggy Zabicki

Yule decorations light the way to Christmas

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . Today (Dec. 1) is National Eat a Red Apple Day. Apples are a superfood. Eating them will reduce your chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They are good for digestion and even improve brain health. Organic apples are…

GSWNH_InvestInKidsProtest_112423

Catholic schools dilemma

Spread the love

Spread the love. After loss in Springfield, advocates search for a Plan B . By Tim Hadac After a clear defeat in Springfield earlier this month, supporters of the state’s Invest in Kids scholarship program—which includes a number of Catholic school parents on the Southwest Side—are searching for a Plan B. “What we do at…

Mr. Fitzgerald, aka Tommy Fitz.

Tommy Fitz, truly a good man

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Tim Hadac Editor Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound . The obituary said Thomas M. Fitzgerald. But to me, it was almost like it was referring to someone else, if only because I—like so many others in Clearing and Garfield Ridge–knew him as Tommy Fitz. He died suddenly, unexpectedly, on Nov. 15 at…

Mount Carmel players celebrate with their fans after winning the Class 7A state title on Nov. 25 in Normal. Photo by Jeff Vorva.

Mount Carmel beats Downers Grove North for 15th state title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mount Carmel’s plan was to open and close the season in Normal. They wanted to open the 2023 campaign by beating then-nationally ranked East St. Louis in a neutral-site game at Hancock Stadium at Illinois State University, then return 13 weeks later and a win a state championship.…

Chicago's Scott Johnson runs in a holiday outfit in the 35th running of the Orland Park Turkey Trot. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Cold Turkey Trotting | Young runners heat up Orland Park race held in freezing temps

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The temperature may have been freezing, but the winners were not complaining. The 35th Orland Park Turkey Trot, held per tradition on Thanksgiving, started in 30-degree weather. And the young champs embraced it. Jack Krusinski, 16, of Palos Heights, won the 2.5 mile event with a time of…

Neighbors

Edwin Espinoza

Off-duty Chicago police officer dies in Oak Lawn crash

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed Sunday morning when a vehicle crashed into a tree at 95th Street and Harlem Avenue in Oak Lawn. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the driver as Edwin Espinoza, 35, of the 5300 block of South Merrimac Avenue on the city’s Southwest…

regional 11-28 palos park police cadet food drive 2023

Palos Park police cadets holiday food drive underway

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Palos Park Police Cadet program annual Holiday Food Drive is underway. The cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department located at 8999 W. 123rd Street. Donations are accepted through January 1.  This is…

An Evil Elf is among the terrors at Christmas Fear in Oak Lawn on December 15-17. (Supplied photo)

Midnight Terror serves up a different kind of spirits at Christmas Fear

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong The Halloween fans at Midnight Terror in Oak Lawn have decided to extend the haunted house season into the holidays with their eighth annual Christmas Fear weekend in December. Savage Santas, eerie elves, and sinister snowmen will be running amok and showing off their own kind of Christmas spirit at…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound November 29, 2023

Spread the love

Spread the love

Mary Stanek

Dogs had their day at alderman’s office

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who let the dogs out? Twenty-third Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares let the dogs in, at her office on 63rd Street. Our Oliver was one of the…

Peggy Zabicki

Yule decorations light the way to Christmas

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . Today (Dec. 1) is National Eat a Red Apple Day. Apples are a superfood. Eating them will reduce your chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They are good for digestion and even improve brain health. Organic apples are…

GSWNH_InvestInKidsProtest_112423

Catholic schools dilemma

Spread the love

Spread the love. After loss in Springfield, advocates search for a Plan B . By Tim Hadac After a clear defeat in Springfield earlier this month, supporters of the state’s Invest in Kids scholarship program—which includes a number of Catholic school parents on the Southwest Side—are searching for a Plan B. “What we do at…

Mr. Fitzgerald, aka Tommy Fitz.

Tommy Fitz, truly a good man

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Tim Hadac Editor Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound . The obituary said Thomas M. Fitzgerald. But to me, it was almost like it was referring to someone else, if only because I—like so many others in Clearing and Garfield Ridge–knew him as Tommy Fitz. He died suddenly, unexpectedly, on Nov. 15 at…

Mount Carmel players celebrate with their fans after winning the Class 7A state title on Nov. 25 in Normal. Photo by Jeff Vorva.

Mount Carmel beats Downers Grove North for 15th state title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mount Carmel’s plan was to open and close the season in Normal. They wanted to open the 2023 campaign by beating then-nationally ranked East St. Louis in a neutral-site game at Hancock Stadium at Illinois State University, then return 13 weeks later and a win a state championship.…

Chicago's Scott Johnson runs in a holiday outfit in the 35th running of the Orland Park Turkey Trot. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Cold Turkey Trotting | Young runners heat up Orland Park race held in freezing temps

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The temperature may have been freezing, but the winners were not complaining. The 35th Orland Park Turkey Trot, held per tradition on Thanksgiving, started in 30-degree weather. And the young champs embraced it. Jack Krusinski, 16, of Palos Heights, won the 2.5 mile event with a time of…