Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (10/21)

October 21, 2022


COVID Booster Rates Remain Low in Chicago, Says Chicago’s Top Doc, by WTTW.


Collective bargaining rights amendment constitution met with union support, strong pushback

A proposed constitutional amendment that would make collective bargaining a constitutional right and effectively outlaw right-to-work laws is at the top of the ballot in the upcoming Illinois General Election in November.

Known as Amendment 1 on the ballot and coined the “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” lawmakers passed SJRCA11 in spring 2021. The proposed amendment says “employees shall have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively” on negotiations, including “wages, hours and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work.”

One of the main opponents of the amendment is the Illinois Policy Institute, who argue that such legislation would give too much power to union leaders, allowing them to strike over issues not relating to wages or benefits, and would come with major tax consequences for residents.

Supporters of the amendment claim that more union strikes are unlikely, and that unions prompt higher salaries, which in turn make members more likely to own homes and put money back into the economy, generating more revenue from property and sales taxes.


Illinois Supreme Court campaigns spending twice as much on TV ads as other states, report finds: “The candidates and independent expenditure committees backing the candidates have saturated airwaves in northeast Illinois with TV advertising. As of Thursday, the Brennan Center has calculated almost $2.5 million of spending by the candidates and committees,” by The Daily Line.

Pritzker Says Lawmakers Likely Will Address ‘SAFE-T Act’ Concerns During Fall Veto Session: “Facing mounting criticism from a variety of groups and officials over provisions of the ‘SAFE-T Act’ that will ban cash bail in the state beginning on Jan. 1, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker encouraged lawmakers to take up any provisions they deem necessary to clarify and improve the measure,” by NBC 5 Chicago.

Cook County Treasurer’s Office says tax loophole costing county millions over administrative errors: “Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ office unveiled the results of a study Wednesday that revealed hedge funds, private equity firms and similar entities have taken advantage of a state property tax law loophole to profit off administrative mistakes largely at the expense of communities of color,” by The Daily Line.

Cook County Board approves new property tax incentive for supermarkets in food deserts: “The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved the creation of a new property tax incentive class during their regular meeting Thursday. The new classification provides for reduced tax rates for supermarkets that open or are located in food deserts,” by The Daily Line.

Cook County board approves shortened contract extension with firm assisting in job recruitment: “Cook County commissioners on Thursday approved a nearly $1 million contract extension with a firm that’s assisting the county in recruiting employees to address numerous vacancies across departments. But the approval didn’t come without some county lawmakers questioning the effectiveness of the firm’s work so far, resulting in several detractors during the vote,” by The Daily Line.

Aurora City Council could vote next week on moving Hollywood Casino out of downtown: “The Aurora City Council could vote next week on a redevelopment deal between the city and Hollywood Casino that would move the casino from downtown onto the northeast side of Aurora. The deal would include at least $300 million in investment by Penn Entertainment into a new casino resort on the west side of Farnsworth Avenue, just north of the interchange with Interstate 88, and another almost $60 million in bonds from the city,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Pritzker Administration Announces up to $30,000 in Mortgage Relief per Eligible Homeowners: “The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Wednesday announced it is reopening a mortgage assistance program designed to assist homeowners financially impacted by the pandemic on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.


City Council approves extension of six TIF districts through 2034, terminate four early

On Thursday, the City Council Committee on Finance approved the extensions of six, and the early termination of four, tax-increment financing (TIF) districts throughout the city. The proposals are set to go to the City Council for a final vote next week.

The six TIF districts to be extended include the Northwest Industrial Corridor (O2022-2929), the Western/Ogden TIF (O2022-2930), Bronzeville (O2022-2941), 43rd Street/Cottage Grove (O2022-2952), Pilsen (O2022-2958) and Roosevelt/Cicero (O2022-2963).

Tim Jeffries, deputy commissioner for the city’s Department of Planning and Development, explained why each TIF district was extended, citing the ongoing efforts of the INVEST South/West Initiative and the need for modernization of industrial infrastructure.

Aldermen did not discuss or ask questions regarding the TIF extensions or the early termination of the four project-based TIF designations before they voted to approve the changes.


Aldermen probe Public Safety Administration budget, propose separate menu program for public safety: “Funding for the Office of Public Safety Administration is proposed to grow from $166.5 million to $180 million, budget documents show. A portion of that increase is for new cell phones for police officers, Executive Director Anastasia Walker told aldermen during a budget hearing Wednesday,” by The Daily Line.

Expanded Office of Labor Standards proposed under BACP as aldermen press for cap on rideshare costs: “‘The people who are most at risk and people who are heavy users are people in the service industry,’ Reilly said, adding that those employees can feel unsafe riding CTA home after getting off work late at night. And as Uber and Lyft prices are costly, workers are having to spend four to five hours’ worth of their paycheck to take a rideshare home,” by The Daily Line.

CTA avoids service cuts, fare hikes under proposed $1.8 billion budget: “The CTA also released a $3.4 billion, five-year capital improvement plan which looks to invest in major projects such as the Red Line extension and modernize CTA’s bus fleet and railroad cars,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Marine vet Ald. Villegas urges city to reinstate Veterans Affairs Office: “The office was disbanded in 2019, but the need remains for former U.S. service members who need help with homelessness, joblessness, substance abuse and other issues, the 36th Ward alderperson said,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.


Beltway Briefing: Countdown to 2022 Midterm Elections

The 2022 midterms are around the corner, and there may not be a more consequential election than this one. From inflation to a possible recession, tax policy, gun control, abortion law, immigration reform, and more, American voters have a plethora of issues to consider on November 8. All 435 House seats are up for election, and a shift of only five seats would transfer control of the chamber to Republicans. In the Senate, a total of 35 seats are up for election, with a net change of one seat in either direction altering the balance.

Listen to this and any of the previous Beltway Briefing podcast episodes here.


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