Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (5/24)

May 24, 2024

Editor’s note: There will be no Illinois Insights on Monday, May 27th for Memorial Day. Updates will resume on Wednesday, May 29th


Budget updates 

The governor’s office and other top sources confirmed last night that budget negotiations have produced a budget framework that will likely be voted on later by the Senate and then sent to the House. If all goes as planned, the House can adjourn sometime after midnight Sunday.

The deal includes many of the governor’s revenue enhancement proposals, as well as new revenue sources. The governor’s budget cuts will reportedly total only $73 million.

According to Capitol Fax, the governor’s proposed gambling tax rate increase from 15% to 35% has been converted to a graduated tax; it is projected to bring in even more money than the additional $200 million in revenue of Pritzker’s initial ask.

Also in the budget is an extension on the Corporate Net Operating Loss Deduction, which would cap losses large corporations can write off on their state income taxes and is expected to bring in $526 million in revenue, as well as a limit on the tax that discount retailers receive for collecting sales tax, which the governor’s office estimates would generate another $101 million.

Gov. Pritzker’s proposal to eliminate the one percent municipal tax on groceries has also survived budget negotiations, with an effective date of January 1, 2026. Municipal governments will be able to  implement their own grocery taxes without holding a referendum, and with no state administrative fee.

The budget language has been filed as Senate Amendment 1 to SB 251. The budget implementation bill is not yet finished.

House passes bill banning ‘captive audiences’  

The House voted 79-30 Wednesday to pass a bill (SB 3649) that would prevent employees from requiring workers to attend employer-led meetings regarding political or religious matters. Employers that violate the Act would be subject to civil penalties.

The bill awaits concurrence by the Senate.

Legislators had published an original adjournment date of today (May 24), but with neither the House nor the Senate meeting the procedural requirements needed to pass the budget in time, lawmakers will be working either over Memorial Day weekend or possibly into next week.


Business incentives for quantum, tech and film companies, and river towns passes House

“The House advanced a large and wide-ranging tax incentives package designed to attract new businesses by creating new tax credits or expanding existing programs. The House voted 98-14 on Wednesday to pass HB817 by Rep. Dave Vella (D-Rockford) to pass the far-ranging list of tax breaks. The goal is to make Illinois more competitive with other states in attracting businesses behind emerging technology or popular industries other states have tax credits in place to attract,” by The Daily Line.

Pritzker’s health insurance reform plan passes Senate 

“The Senate voted to advance Gov. JB Pritzker’s top legislative priority this spring, sending the House three bills to reform health insurance. The first part of the plan (HB5395), also known as the Healthcare Protection Act and sponsored by Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago), goes after utilization management, or prior authorization rules, implemented by insurance companies, where patients often need permission from the insurance company to get the company to cover the doctor’s visit, medication or procedure,” by The Daily Line.

Legislators seek to protect abortion information about out-of-state residents  

“Illinois legislators are working to keep information private about out-of-state residents who travel to Illinois to have an abortion. The Senate voted to send a bill (HB5239) to the governor on a 38-19 vote to pass a bill that exempts health care records for lawful health care from public disclosure while allowing minors to receive financial assistance under the state’s family planning program. It also prohibits municipalities from helping others pursue legal action against people seeking legal health care in Illinois,” by The Daily Line.

House passes bill to phase out the sub-minimum wage for some disabled Illinoisans

“After a long debate Thursday, the Illinois state House of Representatives passed a bill requiring workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities be paid the full minimum wage,” by Capitol Fax.

County announces $3.6M in grants to help social equity-licensed cannabis businesses

“Cook County leaders announced the launch of a multimillion-dollar grant program Thursday to assist cannabis-based business owners that hold state social equity licenses. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the grant program and opening of the application window at a news conference downtown alongside county commissioners and economic development leaders,” by The Daily Line.



Johnson hiring head of progressive political party that helped push him into office

“Kennedy Bartley, who took over as executive director of United Working Families in July after previously serving as the party’s legislative director, is joining the mayor’s office as a liaison to progressive elected officials, unions and community groups,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Johnson has no easy options in appointing Zoning Committee chair

“In a meeting with members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus this week, Johnson said the easiest way to reshuffle his council leadership team would be swapping the committees chaired by two allies, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th, and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 25th, who’ve both faced withering criticism from their colleagues, but it’s still unclear whether Johnson has the juice to make the move a reality,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Chicago CFO: ‘The City cannot and would not pursue expanding the tax base on our own’

“‘The City’s financial team has been analyzing the value of the State expanding sales tax to services, and views a potential expansion as an opportunity to make our sales tax fairer and more equitably applied. The City cannot and would not pursue expanding the tax base on our own, but we look forward to engaging with State officials, legislators, fellow municipalities and other governments that have a sales tax to have a robust discussion on how we can move this initiative forward,’ says CFO Jill Jaworski,” by Capitol Fax.

Johnson pushing to fire official in charge of city contracts

“For months, Johnson’s office has wanted to replace Aileen Velazquez, the city’s chief procurement officer, according to sources familiar with the effort to remove her. Johnson has even identified a replacement, according to the same sources. But, unlike the heads of other city departments, Velazquez serves a four-year term and can only be fired for cause after a full hearing before the City Council, where she would be afforded an attorney to defend her record,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Mayor’s controversial RTA board nominee withdraws from consideration

“Mayor Brandon Johnson’s nominee for the Regional Transportation Authority, West Side pastor Rev. Ira Acree, withdrew himself from consideration Friday after activists and some aldermen argued he was unqualified for the position,” by Capitol Fax.

Chicago City Council approves $158 million to fund 2 downtown adaptive reuse projects

“The funding is part of the city’s LaSalle Street Reimagined initiative, which aims to repurpose underutilized office buildings within the LaSalle Street corridor into mixed income developments that include retail and housing,” by the Chicago Business Journal.


Cozen Currents: Trump’s Policy Agenda in Waiting

Donald Trump’s legal battles are taking significant time away from his campaign, but former advisors and key allies are preparing for his potential reelection.

Early polling of the 2024 presidential election has shown higher relative levels of support among young, Black, and Latino voters for former President Trump than in his two prior campaigns, leading analysts to speculate as to whether Trump is remaking the traditional Republican base.

Student protests of Israel’s war in Gaza have dominated the news, but polling data suggests that progressives’ opposition to President Biden’s support of Israel is not likely to be a major threat to his campaign.

Read the Cozen Currents here.

Beltway Briefing: The Vilification of Politics

The vilification of politics creates a perception that nothing gets done in Washington. While Congress often appears dysfunctional, it continues to govern, quietly advancing bipartisan, critical pieces of legislation. Featuring Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Towner French.

Listen to the Beltway Briefing here.

If you have any questions regarding this update or if you’re interested in ways to engage on these issues, please contact one of our team members here.


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