Category Archives: SBAC News

Occupational Licensing Reform Passes Senate 55-0

Obtaining a license to do business in Illinois should not create unnecessary barriers for entrepreneurs or be an overly burdensome process. The number of businesses subjected to this state oversight has increased exponentially since the 1950s when licensing was limited to a small number of professions. Today, an Illinois state license is now required for roughly 400 occupations. While public health and safety must come first, new licenses should not be created unless they are necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the public.  New licenses that are established by the legislature should also be crafted in the least restrictive manner to achieve its objectives. Ultimately, we support a holistic approach to reform that includes: (1) stricter sunset reviews, taking into account economic impacts of licensing (2) creation of sunrise reviews for proposed occupational licenses (3) increase of vocational training in grade school public education (4) increased reciprocity for workers looking to relocated to Illinois and (5) criminal justice reform.

As a strong first step, during the 100th General Assembly, the SBAC supported HB5212, an IDFPR initiative know as the Sunrise Review Act. HB5212 sought to provide legislators with a process to receive information and analysis from independent parties regarding whether a new license is warranted, the reasons for the license, how it will impact the economy and how to craft necessary licenses in the least restrictive way to ensure it is effective. This legislation passed the Illinois House of Representatives on April 25, 2018. It was not brought up for consideration in the Senate.

During the 101st General Assembly, this SBAC-backed legislation was introduced as SB1756. On April 10th, this bill unanimously passed in the Senate by a vote of 55-0 with overwhelming bi-partisan support! The bill will now to go to House for consideration. Thank you to the bi-partisan effort of Sen. Bertino-Tarrant & Sen. Plummer for working with us in the Senate.

Related Documents:
[101st GA Legislation: SB1756]
IDFPR HB5212 – 100th GA Legislation Fact Sheet

SBAC Economic Development Ordinance Passes in City Hall

One of the SBAC’s signature legislative victories in 2018 was the passage of SB2436, which amended the archaic Liquor Control Act of 1934 that previously prohibited the sale of alcohol within 100 feet of a religious institution, school, hospital or military station. For additional details on this legislation and the associated media coverage, check out the SBAC overview here.

Now that this is the law of the land, local municipalities, including the City of Chicago, must engage to determine the process and restrictions that best serve their businesses and residents. On Thursday, April 4th, SBAC CEO, Scott Baskin, testified before the City Council Committee on License and Consumer protection in favor of moving Ordinance 2018-7001 forward. This would give authority to the Local Liquor Control Commissioner to grant exemptions for establishments seeking a liquor license within a 100 feet of the above highlighted institution. This process incorporates feedback from the local alderman, the impacted institution, and the community, while also taking into account the current and previous activities at that location.

Ordinance 2018-7001 passed in City Council by an overwhelming vote of 42-4 on April 10th. Effective immediately upon passage, businesses can apply for an exemption with the Local Liquor Commissioner rather than going to the state legislature and introducing a bill for the exemption. If granted the exemption, the business will still need to go through the previous liquor licensing requirements that exist in Chicago.

Related Documents:
Ordinance 2018-7001
Rauner Press Release on Signing SB 2436
SBAC featured on WGN TV for Bill Signing with Governor Rauner
Illinois Letting 1934 Law Hamper its Food Biz [Crain’s Chicago Business]

Mayor-Elect Lightfoot Mentions Sign Reform in Victory Speech

On Tuesday, April 2nd, Lori Lightfoot was elected the next Mayor of Chicago with over 70% of the vote and out-performed Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in all 50 wards. With the election behind us, it is time to turn to working with the Lightfoot Administration on ways to help small businesses start, stay and succeed in Chicago.

Check out minute 6:30 in Lori Lightfoot‘s election night speech – she highlights small businesses as part of the “economic engine” of Chicago and the need for permitting and sign reform.

Video Credit: Chicago Sun-Times

Two IRS Publications Every Business Owner Should Read

The April Small Business Connection Newsletter sent by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) included a section titled: Two IRS Publications Every Business Owner and Self-Employed Individual Should Read. You can view the text of the article below.

The 2019 revision of Form 656-Booklet, Offer in Compromise (OIC) will be available for download on, Monday, March 25. The booklet contains current forms and instructions for submitting an OIC. Using previous versions of the booklet may result in delayed processing of OIC applications.

Publication 5318, Tax Reform: What’s New for Your Business, provides an overview of many of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes that affect business taxes. Topics include:

    • Qualified business income deduction
    • Depreciation
    • Business related losses, exclusions and deductions
    • Other miscellaneous provisions

Additional help for filing business taxes is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, and the tax reform information page.

Interested in receiving updates like this in your inbox? Sign up for the DCEO Small Business Connection Newsletter here.

Two SBAC Members Honored at Business Ledger Annual Awards for Business Excellence

Congratulations to John Gotschall (Coaching Financial Concepts) and Chip Miceli (Pulse Technology) for being honored at the Daily Herald Business Ledger Annual Awards for Business Excellence!

The AABEs are awarded to businesses and organizations in recognition of achievements, growth and community involvement. Companies are based in or have a significant presence in the suburbs. The honorees were selected among nominations submitted by their peers and selected by a panel of Daily Herald Business Ledger staff members.

The SBAC was proud to play a part as a marketing partner for the event.

To read full coverage about all the honorees, check out the coverage at the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

APPLY NOW – SBAC Venture Pitch Session

Calling all Chicagoland aspiring entrepreneurs – the SBAC Venture Pitch Session is back! Apply today to pitch your company to our expert panel, make key connections and win prizes! The application deadline is April 5th — use this link or the form below to apply –

This is a great opportunity to showcase your business and receive feedback from a panel of expert judges in front of an audience filled with leaders in the business community. The event is on May 9, 2019, and will feature open networking, a keynote speaker, pitches by 3 companies and great prizes for the winner!

Two SBAC Bills Move Through Committee In Springfield

SBAC Founder and President, Elliot Richardson, was on hand in Springfield on March 20th to testify in support of two SBAC-backed bills under consideration.

First, the Sunrise Review Act (SB1756) unanimously passed the Licensed Activities Committee. This bill is a good first step in addressing occupational licensing reform. SB1756 would establish a system to investigate and review the necessity of new State regulation over a previously unregulated profession or occupation, providing a process to investigate what level of regulation is necessary in order to protect the public health, safety, or welfare. Moving forward, our hope is to include a more holistic approach and include reforms like: (1) stricter sunset reviews, taking into account economic impacts of licensing (2) creation of sunrise reviews for proposed occupational licenses (3) increase of vocational training in grade school public education (4) increased portability for workers looking to relocated to Illinois and (5) criminal justice reform.

Elliot was also in Springfield to advocate on behalf of the reauthorization of the Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit (SB1232), which received unanimous support on the subcommittee level and now goes before the full Revenue Committee for consideration. This bill authorizes $50 million in available tax credits for small businesses. Businesses under 50 employees would be eligible for a tax $2500 credit for each new job created. This popular tax credit expired in 2016 and needs to be renewed.

Legislative action continues to move at a fast pace in Springfield, so stay tune for more updates!

Illinois Minimum Wage Change FAQ

As you know, earlier this month, Governor Pritzker signed a bill into law to increase the minimum wage in Illinois – eventually reaching $15 per hour in 2025. Below is a graphic that outlines the wage increase schedule as well as information about the small business payroll tax credit. If you have any questions, please reach out to our Advocacy Director, Ryan Tolley at

2019 Illinois Minimum Wage Infographicv_6040 (1)

Department of Labor Releases Proposed Overtime Rule

DOL Proposes Increase to FLSA Exemption Threshold
Contributed by: Jason Tremblay, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP

On March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor released its long-promised proposed rule raising the minimum salary threshold required for workers to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s exemption threshold to $35,308 annually.  The new rule would apply to executive, professional, and administrative workers — also known as “white collar” exemptions.

The new threshold is an $11,648 increase from the current threshold of $23,660, but is about $12,000 lower than the approximately $47,000 salary threshold that the Obama administration proposed in 2016.  The Obama administration’s rule was enjoined in November 2016 by a Texas federal judge, and the Trump administration withdrew the government’s appeal which sought to enforce the rule.

The proposed rule includes two other significant provisions.  First, the proposed rule rejected the concept of automatic annual increases to the salary threshold.  Instead, in the proposal’s preamble, it suggests the salary threshold should be revisited every four years and welcomed public comment on the issue.  While there will likely be many comments arguing both for and against automatic increases, it is likely that some version of the final rule will include some form of a regular review of the salary threshold.

Second, the proposed rule increases the salary threshold for “highly compensated” employees from $100,000 to approximately $147,000.  Surprisingly, this was a $13,000 increase from what the Obama administration proposed in 2016.  If this provision of the proposed rule takes effect, employers who rely upon the “highly compensated” employee exemption, and who pay such employees less than $147,000, will need to revisit their exempt status.

The opportunity for public comment is important because it will allow for the DOL to consider the impact on employers during the prior period, as well as the impact moving forward before making any adjustment.

The DOL estimates that implementation of any final rule would begin in January 2020, giving employers ample time to adjust salaries upward or switch employees from salary to hourly.  While it is difficult to predict whether there will be any legal challenges to the proposed rule like in 2016, it is likely that any rule would survive such a challenge based on the current state of the economy, the more modest nature of the increase when compared with the Obama-era rule and the fact that, in coming up with the new salary threshold, the DOL used essentially the same methodology as it did in 2004 (when the salary threshold was last updated).  Additionally, the rule is closely in line with states and municipalities that have raised the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.  The DOL estimates that the proposed rule would make one million more workers eligible for overtime pay.

Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP is a full-service law firm that offers clients the national reach and sophisticated experience of a large firm and the local connections and value of a boutique firm. With one firm, clients get a macro view of the law with a micro focus on their unique legal needs. Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP represents recognizable names in corporate America, exciting start-ups and an array of closely held and privately held companies, as well as nonprofits, governmental and educational entities.