The SBAC strongly supports bipartisan legislation to empower small businesses to compete for top talent and address the student debt crisis.
According to the personal finance website, Make Lemonade, over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt is owed by more than 44 million borrowers in the U.S. — an average of about $40,000 owed per student. Many college graduates, working entry level jobs, struggle to make their student debt payments.
Small businesses are also impacted by the whopping student debt owed by prospective employees.
While some businesses may offer job applicants assistance with their student loans, many smaller companies do not have the capacity to provide such a benefit. This makes it more difficult for smaller businesses to compete for talented professionals.
[115th Congress: H.R. 795]
H.R. 795 Fact Sheet
H.R. 795 Coalition Letter
Politicians should pass legislation to empower small businesses and college graduates [Daily Herald Business Ledger]
Marketplace Fairness Act/Remote Transaction Parity Act
On June 22, 2018, the 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. case, allowing states to collect sales tax on online transactions.
Prior to this ruling, local and small businesses in Illinois were at a financial disadvantage. Now states have the authority to compel online and catalog retailers, no matter where they are located, to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction – exactly like local retailers are already required to do. Additionally, this will create an estimated $200 million in additional annual revenue for Illinois without creating any new taxes.
The next step on this issue is passing federal legislation requiring states to opt in to similar sales and use tax standards. The SBAC supports The Marketplace Fairness Act and its companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, The Remote Transaction Parity Act, to create uniformity for businesses subjected to these changes and ensure all avenues of commerce – online and brick and mortar – are treated fairly on sales tax collection.
Over the past two decades, the internet has changed the way consumers communicate, access information, and participate in the economy. Just as consumer behavior is evolving, technology is creating new opportunities and challenges by changing the way businesses engage with customers.
Net neutrality is the principle that consumers who use the internet should be able to access the content and applications they want, without their internet service provider (ISP) (e.g., Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) blocking, slowing down, or redirecting internet traffic, or extracting rents by prioritizing some sites or applications over others.
For businesses that use the internet to reach, interact, and transact with customers, the presence of strong net neutrality rules ensures that businesses don’t have worry about a customer’s ISP blocking or slowing the customer access to the businesses’ site, favoring competing businesses or requiring businesses pay expensive fees to avoid degradation or slow page loads.
The SBAC is part of a nationwide coalition, spanning across industry, focused on maintaining a level playing field for small businesses on the internet. The FEC voted to repeal net neutrality rules in December, but the advocacy efforts continue to overturn the FEC’s decision.
SBAC & Net Neutrality Coalition Letter to the FCC
The SBAC partnered with a robust coalition in support of SB2436, to amend the archaic Liquor Control Act of 1934 which prohibited the sale of alcohol within 100 feet of a religious institution, school, hospital or military station. Until the passage of this bill, the only recourse for a small business owner to receive an exemption was for a bill to be drafted, passed by the General Assembly and signed into law. The outdated statute was an obstacle to the growth of local economies, often in areas where new opportunities are needed most. SB2436 reforms this process so that rather than painting all communities with a single brush, local leaders can determine the restrictions that best serve their businesses and residents.
Every community is unique and faces different challenges, therefore, giving local government’s discretion over this standard is a practical solution. The elimination of this requirement will help spur economic development and job growth, especially in under-served communities, who experience a high concentration of places of worship. It is important to note that such an exemption would be strictly limited to restaurants where the sale of alcoholic liquor is incidental or secondary to the business’ primary activity.
[100th GA Legislation: SB2436]
Rauner Press Release on Signing SB 2436
SBAC featured on WGN TV for Bill Signing with Governor Rauner
Coalition Letter in Support of SB 2436
Illinois Letting 1934 Law Hamper its Food Biz [Crain’s Chicago Business]
Governor Rauner Signals Support for SBAC Initiative
Many regulations imposed by state agencies disproportionately impact small business owners, causing many to make tough decisions on cutting employees and changing business procedures to comply with newly imposed regulations.
The SBAC worked closely with lead sponsors State Representative Carol Sente (D-59) and Senator Pamela Althoff (R-32) in drafting the language and in building support from outside groups, including the National Federation of Small Businesses and Illinois Manufacturers Association, for this bipartisan legislation.
On August 3rd, SBAC-backed legislation was signed into law by the Governor to expand economic impact analysis when new rules are proposed by requiring state agencies to list the industries that will be impacted, and identify the types of impacts small businesses the proposed ordinance will have on small business owners. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will also place notification of all proposed rules affecting small businesses on its website.
Since introduction, the SBAC urged legislators to support a pension reform bill previously introduced by Representative Mark Batinick. Under this proposal, eligible retirees will be offered the option to take a lump sum payment in exchange for all or a portion of their annuity, at a 25% discount to the state. Only those retiring will be presented this option. While Illinois faces a growing $111 billion pension shortfall, this bill could potentially net the state billions in long-term savings. Most importantly, this legislation provides a voluntary and constitutional approach to addressing the state’s pension obligations, while giving retirees greater control over their money.
While the standalone measure was not approved, House Bill 3342, the FY19 budget implementation bill which passed the House on May 31, 2018, included the “Batinick Buyout,” a plan for a buyout of vested inactive members of the five state-funded pension systems. It also includes an optional buyout of the 3% compounding cost of living adjustment at retirement. This is a first step in a series of steps to reduce the state’s unfunded pension liability, saving taxpayers millions in contributions.
The SBAC was proud to partner with A Safe Haven in support of HB5868, legislation to allow health insurance companies to cover state licensed community-based behavioral health care options, including residential recovery homes, to treat substance abuse disorder. In addition to co-authoring an op-ed on the issue, SBAC Advocacy Director, Ryan Tolley, testified in the House Human Services Committee in support of the measure. It was signed into law by the Governor on August 24, 2018.
Opioid and other forms of substance abuse have a profound impact on the small business community. This law will help employees suffering from this disease, as well as employers seeking to maintain a healthy work force. Proactive treatment can also help reduce the costs of workers’ compensation and health insurance.
The SBAC is fighting to end gerrymandering in Illinois because entrepreneurs are reluctant to expand when they are not confident in their government or ability to weigh in on policies that impact their businesses.
The SBAC is a member of the Illinois Redistricting Collaborative, a non-partisan coalition of organizations seeking to implement an independent commission to draw representational districts for state elected officials. This effort is focused on making this change through a constitutional amendment via legislative action.
Legislation outlining collaborative objectives was filed in the House on February 26, 2018 and the Senate on March 13, 2018, but neither chamber brought the bill up for consideration on the floor.
[100th GA Legislation: HJRCA0043 & SJRCA0026]
Illinois Redistricting Collaborative Springfield Press Conference Highlights
After Previous Defeats, Redistricting Reformers Start Lobbying Legislators [Daily Herald Editorial Board]
Small Business Takes a Stand Against Gerrymandering [Daily Herald Business Ledger]
Illinois Redistricting Collaborative Constitutional Amendment Fact Sheet
SBAC Kicks Off Redistricting Reform Effort in 2018
Illinois small businesses employed 2.4 million people, or 46.4% of the private workforce in 2013. Encouraging job growth to our state’s largest economic contributor is vital to ensure economic growth in the state. Under the Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit Act, employers under 50 employees qualify for a tax credit for each new job created encouraging small businesses to create jobs however that act did sunset. We encourage Springfield to bring back this widely used program.
This legislation was filed in the Senate on February 16, 2018, but no further action was taken.
[100th GA Legislation: SB3153]