Archive for February, 2019

Key Events, Legislative Updates, More from #AuroraChamber

Monday, February 25th, 2019

State of The City Next Week

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

Employer Law Update Set »
Board Nominations Sought »
State of The City Next Week »
Leadership Academy »
College & Career Fair »
Two Programs to Support Youth »
Public Policy Updates »
Premier Investors »
Welcome New Members »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Member News »
Did You Know? »
Spotlight On Membership »
About The Aurora Chamber »

EMPLOYER LAW UPDATE SET

Tuesday, March 12, at 3 p.m.
Aurora Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

2019 has brought change to the nation, state, and region. Are you aware and prepared? Join management-side attorney Julie Proscia of SmithAmundsen as she reviews the latest amendments to:

• Illinois’ Wage and Hour Law
• Illinois Human Rights Act
• Mandated reimbursement of expenses
• PTO, vacation and leave entitlements
• Sexual harassment & discrimination in the workplace

Get insights to help comply with the new Federal, State, and local laws to help you avoid lawsuits and to protect the employer’s bottom line.

Register here.

Board Nominations Sought

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for members willing to be considered to serve on the Board of Directors. All eligible nominees will be considered by the Nominating Committee. Nominations may be found online. Forms should be returned by Friday, March 29, at 12:00 p.m.

To be considered to be a Director, nominees must be members in good standing.

STATE OF THE CITY NEXT WEEK

State of The City

State of the City Address
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Reception @ 4 p.m.
Mayor’s Address @ 6 p.m.

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY REGISTRATION DEADLINE

Leadership Academy

Applications may still be submitted through Thursday at noon. To read prior participants’ experiences in the program, visit our blog.

JOIN US FOR REGIONAL COLLEGE, CAREER FAIR

West Aurora is organizing a College & Career Fair for area high school students in Kane, DuPage, and Kendall counties on Friday, March 1, 2019, from 8 to 11 a.m. If you are interested in participating, information may be found at www.bit.ly/wamarch1.

TWO MANUFACTURING PROGRAMS TO SUPPORT YOUTH, EMPLOYERS

The Aurora Regional Chamber is proud to announce two beneficial programs for member manufacturers. The partnership with Business Career Services will launch the next series of Manufacturing Careers Internship Program. Manufacturers are needed to offer site tours to participants. In addition, manufacturers are invited to offer eight-week internships for the youth between 18 and 24 years of age. There is no obligation for the manufacturer to hire the intern. BCS is the employer of record and handles the wages, insurance, and drug screening.

A second program to launch is the Kane County MCIP Second Chance Program. The program is designed to help young adults ages between 18 and 24 convicted of non-violent crimes, such as DUI or driving without a license, overcome the barrier of having a criminal record and re-enter society through starting careers in the manufacturing industry. Again, there is no cost obligation for the manufacturer during the eight-week internship. BCS covers wages and liability insurance.

For details, check our website through the links above.

Public Policy Updates

Last Wednesday at noon, Gov. JB Pritzker delivered his first Budget Address in which he laid out his priorities for the Illinois Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Plenty of new spending was proposed. New spending totaling at least $4.6 billion is proposed for early childhood programs ($140.8 million), K-12 education ($382.25 million), higher education ($161.4 million), health and human service programs ($437.85 million), criminal justice reforms ($10 million), public safety ($108.8 million), and infrastructure ($3.37 billion). Pritzker proposed more than $1.1 billion in new revenues and claimed that if these revenues were not approved GRF spending would have to be cut 4% excluding employee healthcare, pensions, and debt service costs. Read More
Other Recent Policy News

More Work Must Be Done on Tax Credit »
Gov. Pritzker Delivers Budget Address »
House GOP Opposes Costly, Job-killing Minimum Wage Hike »
Minimum Wage Bill Passes Senate Along Party Lines »
$15 Minimum Wage Passes Senate »
Illinois Pushes Toward $15 Minimum Wage »
Aurora Chamber Joins Ill. Chamber, Others in Release of Study on Data Centers »
Leader Durkin, House Republicans Introduce Fair Maps Amendment »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Welcome New Members

Leaders in Transformational Education
Candace Thier
31 W. Downer Place, Suite 101, Aurora
(708) 227-0508
Community-Based Organization

Elite Members

 95.9 The River      Aaron’s      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      AMITA Health Mercy Medical Center      Artesan Lofts      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora University      Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      Dolan & Murphy      Endiro Coffee      Energy Bot      ERC Delivery      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      ganc.io      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Luke Singh – Country Financial      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.       New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC- Duckie Huynh      Obregon Medical Clinic      Ochoa & Associates LTD.      Old Second National Bank      OnLight Aurora      Orchard Wine & Liquor      Painters District Council 30      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Quality Logo Products      R.C. Wegman Construction Company      Rasmussen College      Rich Harvest Farms      Rush Copley Medical Center      S&S Metal Recyclers II      Scientel Solutions      ServPro of Aurora      Sign*A*Rama      SmithAmundsen, LLC      Staffing Network, LLC & QPA       Staffmark      Stonebridge Country Club      T-Mobile     Tempur-Pedic Stores      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      WSPY      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation 

Calendar of Events

Leadership Academy
Begins Friday, March 1, at 8:30 a.m.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

State of the City Address
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Reception @ 4 p.m.
Mayor’s Address @ 6 p.m.
Sponsorships Available

State of the Village Address
Wednesday, April 10, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Oak Street Restaurant
945 Oak St., North Aurora
Sponsorships Available

Member News

US DOL Opens Applications for HIRE Vets Medallion »
State of the City Set for March 5 »
Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry Establishes Evening Food Distribution »
Food Pantry Names New Exec »
2-1-1 Info Hotline Now Available in Kane »

Did You Know?

Last fiscal year, the #AuroraChamber website saw more than four million hits from nearly 350,000 visitors. One of the most popular destinations was the Member Directory with nearly 275,000 hits – an average of nearly 400 hits per member. Is your directory listing up to date? If you see something that needs to be changed or added, contact Reba Osborne, director of membership, for assistance.

SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERSHIP

The #AuroraChamber has a number of videos online to assist you in using your member profile to your advantage. Current videos include:

How to Pay Invoices Online
How to Post a Hot Deal
How to Add a Job Posting
How to Update Your Personal Profile
How to Update Your Company Profile
How to Manage and Post Events

About The Aurora Chamber

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is a private, not-for-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of more than 700 members representing nearly 40,000 employees. Our mission is be the catalyst for business success by providing leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for our members.

Not a Chamber member? Learn more about the benefits of membership.
Already a Chamber member? Make the most of your membership today.

Facebook    Blog    Twitter

Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189

www.aurora-chamber.com

More Work Must Be Done on Tax Credit

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

First, it is important to note that unless the language of the new law is changes, no one qualifies for the tax credit. As it was enacted, an employee has to work 90-consecutive days. Even if that is repaired before Jan. 1, 2020, the following employers are not considered eligible for the tax credit:

  1. Any employer with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees in their entire operation is not eligible.Many employers including call and IT centers, a restaurant, grocery store, movie theater or other entertainment option, dry cleaner, etc., can easily have more than 50 at a single location. They would not be eligible for the tax credit.
  2. Any employer who has more than one franchised store or files taxes as part of a unitary group is not eligible.This demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding between a franchisee and a franchisor.
  3. Any employer who pays more than the minimum wage at the time is not eligible.For example, if an employee is currently paid $9.50 per hour, and the wage increases Jan. 1, 2020, from $8.25 to $9.25, that employer is not eligible.
  4. Any employer whose average wage is less in the current quarter vs the quarter the year before is not eligible.If an employer has to lay people off, close a store, or reduce hours, he/she would not be eligible for the credit.
  5. An employer cannot claim credit for more employees than the number of employees making less than the minimum or reduced wage for the current calendar year during the last reporting period of the preceding year.If an employer employees 100 people and 10 were making less than the minimum or reduced wage (i.e., teens) during the last reporting period of the preceding year (October – December), then the employer can only claim the credit for 10 employees.
  6. The effort to really help small employers by extending the credit an extra two years helps almost no one. IDOR is claiming 48% of all employers have fewer than five employees. In fact, that includes employers who work for themselves and are the only employee. They account for nearly 80% of all employers with fewer than five employees.

If an employer somehow manages to escape all of those disqualifications, then the following credit applies to employers with 50 or fewer employees:

  • Credit against withholding payments beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2020, and ending on or before Dec. 31, 2027.
  • The credit cannot exceed employer’s payroll withholding for that period.
  • Maximum credit allowed for reporting periods beginning on or after and ending on or before the following dates:
      • Jan. 1, 2020 – Dec. 31, 2020 = 25%
      • Jan. 1, 2021 – Dec. 31, 2021 = 21%
      • Jan. 1, 2022 – Dec. 31, 2022 = 17%
      • Jan. 1, 2023 – Dec. 31, 2023 = 13%
      • Jan. 1, 2024 – Dec. 31, 2024 = 9 %
      • Jan. 1, 2025 – Dec. 31, 2025 = 5%
  • For employers with more than 5 employees, these credits can continue to be claimed for reporting periods beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2026, and ending on or before Dec. 31, 2026.
  • For employers with fewer than 5 employees, these credits can continue to be claimed for reporting periods beginning or after Jan. 1, 2026, and ending on or before Dec. 31, 2027.
  • Tip credit remains at 60%/40%; training wage remains at $0.50 per hour lower than starting wage for first 90-days of employment; and penalties are increased substantially for wage-theft.

House GOP Opposes Costly, Job-killing Minimum Wage Hike

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Illinois has long had a reputation for being unfriendly to job creators. With our excessive workers’ compensation insurance costs, high minimum wage and higher taxes, we cannot afford to do any further damage to our business climate.

Unfortunately, Illinois Democrats continued their assault on small business by passing a large increase in the minimum wage this week. Senate Bill 1 will incrementally increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, which is an 82% increase in labor costs.

Illinois’ current minimum wage is $8.25 an hour, a dollar above the federal level. When SB 1 is fully enacted, Illinois will join New York and California with the highest minimum wage in the nation. Illinois already has a higher minimum wage than most of our surrounding states:

  • Indiana: $7.25 / increases tied to the federal rate
  • Iowa: $7.25 / increases tied to the federal rate
  • Kentucky: $7.25 / increases tied to the federal rate
  • Missouri: $8.60 / tied to annual cost of living factors determined by the CPI index and increasing, incrementally to $12.00/hr on January 1, 2023
  • Wisconsin: $7.25

While Democrats argue that it should be a “living wage,” the reality is that the majority of minimum wage jobs are held by those just entering the workforce. Numerous studies have demonstrated that increasing the minimum wage leads to job losses for low-wage workers. No wage is enough if there isn’t an opportunity for a job.

After Illinois raised its minimum wage in 2010, unemployment among teenagers and part-time workers went up. Business owners cannot simply absorb the higher cost of doing business. They are forced to cut their workforce or go out of business.

Businesses have a limited ability to raise prices to make up for the cost of a higher minimum wage. Two-thirds of Illinois’ population lives within a 40-minute drive of the state border. With higher gas, liquor, tobacco and sales taxes, this will create yet another reason for these people to shop across the border.

Democrats argued that the tax credit included in SB 1 will help offset the costs to Illinois businesses. However, this tax credit is not meaningful and is rather deceptive. Any employer that pays more than the minimum wage is not eligible for the tax credit. Any employer with more than 50 employees is not eligible. A single grocery store, restaurant, movie theater, etc. may have more than 50 employees, making them ineligible for the tax credit.

Beyond the lost jobs and higher costs to Illinois businesses, the Democrats’ minimum wage hike will have a massive fiscal impact to the State of Illinois.

The Pritzker Administration estimates the cost to the State to fully implement a $15 minimum wage at more than a BILLION dollars. Their estimates are less than the estimated cost increases for nursing homes alone. The billion dollar cost estimate also leaves out the massive costs to K-12 schools, higher education, counties, municipalities, park districts, etc. All of these costs will be passed along to Illinois taxpayers.

Increasing Illinois’ minimum wage will hurt our small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat in a difficult economy. We cannot afford to lose any more jobs. We cannot afford the billions of dollars in additional costs to the State and local governments. That is House Republicans unanimously opposed raising the minimum wage to $15.

It should be noted that four House Democrats joined with House Republicans in bipartisan opposition to SB 1, which passed the House Thursday on a vote of 69-47-1. The measure now goes to Governor Pritzker for his signature into law.

Gov. Pritzker Delivers Budget Address

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Last Wednesday at Noon, Gov. JB Pritzkerdelivered his first Budget Address in which he laid out his priorities for the Illinois Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Plenty of new spending was proposed.

The Administration is assuming a General Revenue Funds (GRF) budget of $38.75 billion on revenues of $38.9 billion. If all sources are included (e.g., Federal funds), the size of the proposed budget is $77 billion. The GRF proposal is a 4% increase over the current fiscal year budget.

New spending totaling at least $4.6 billion is proposed for early childhood programs ($140.8 million), K-12 education ($382.25 million), higher education ($161.4 million), health and human service programs ($437.85 million), criminal justice reforms ($10 million), public safety ($108.8 million), and infrastructure ($3.37 billion).

Pritzker proposed more than $1.1 billion in new revenues and claimed that if these revenues were not approved GRF spending would have to be cut 4% excluding employee healthcare, pensions, and debt service costs. The proposed revenue increases include:

  • Capping the Retail Discount/Vendor Collection Allowance at $1,000. This is a significant hit to retailers and shifts even more of the cost of administering the sales tax on behalf of state and local government onto the backs of retailers ($70 million estimated);
  • Taxing e-cigarettes at 36% ($10 million estimated);
  • Increasing the cigarette tax by $0.32 per pack/$3.20 per carton to $2.30 per pack/$23.00 per carton ($55 million estimated);
  • Imposing a plastic bag tax – if it does not contain an allowance for retailers, it would be the first bag tax of its kind to ignore the extra costs imposed on retailers ($20 million estimated);
  • Placing an assessment on Managed Care Organizations ($390 million estimated);
  • Creating a progressive tax structure for video gaming ($89 million estimated);
  • Decoupling from the Federal Tax Credit for Repatriated Corporate Income ($94 million estimated);
  • Enacting sports wagering ($212 million estimated);
  • Enacting recreational cannabis ($170 million estimated); and
  • Enacting tax amnesty ($175 million estimated).

 

On the pension front, the most serious financial crisis confronting Illinois, the Governor proposed extending the current ramp by an additional seven years, to 2052, thereby avoiding an $878 billion pension payment. Additionally, the proposal includes an additional $2 billion in new pension bonds as well as extending the current buyout program.

In terms of infrastructure, the Governor is proposing more than $2 billion, including a pay-as-you-go program for roads.

This begins the budget discussions in earnest expected to result in a budget on or before May 31. The budget may be balanced but does not address the bill backlog.

#AuroraChamber News for Members

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

The Aurora Regional Chamber is proud to announce two beneficial programs for member manufacturers.

Aurora Chamber

  In This Issue  

Leadership Academy »
Two Programs to Support Youth »
College & Career Fair »
Board Nominations Sought »
Public Policy Updates »
Premier Investors »
Welcome New Members »
Elite Members »
Calendar of Events »
Member News »
Did You Know? »
Spotlight On Membership »
About The Aurora Chamber »

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY REGISTRATION DEADLINE

Leadership Academy

Applications are now available for the 2019 Aurora Chamber Leadership Academy that begins on Friday, March 1.To read prior participants’ experiences in the program, visit our blog.

TWO MANUFACTURING PROGRAMS TO SUPPORT YOUTH, EMPLOYERS

The Aurora Regional Chamber is proud to announce two beneficial programs for member manufacturers. The partnership with Business Career Services will launch the next series of Manufacturing Careers Internship Program. Manufacturers are needed to offer site tours to participants. In addition, manufacturers are invited to offer eight-week internships for the youth between 18 and 24 years of age. There is no obligation for the manufacturer to hire the intern. BCS is the employer of record and handles the wages, insurance, and drug screening.A second program to launch is the Kane County MCIP Second Chance Program. The program is designed to help young adults ages between 18 and 24 convicted of non-violent crimes, such as DUI or driving without a license, overcome the barrier of having a criminal record and re-enter society through starting careers in the manufacturing industry. Again, there is no cost obligation for the manufacturer during the eight-week internship. BCS covers wages and liability insurance.

For details, check our website through the links above.

JOIN US FOR REGIONAL COLLEGE, CAREER FAIR

West Aurora is organizing a College & Career Fair for area high school students in Kane, DuPage, and Kendall counties on Friday, March 1, 2019, from 8 to 11 a.m. If you are interested in participating, information may be found at www.bit.ly/wamarch1.

Board Nominations Sought

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for members willing to be considered to serve on the Board of Directors. All eligible nominees will be considered by the Nominating Committee. Nominations may be found online. Forms should be returned by Friday, March 29, at 12:00 p.m.A Board of Directors governs the business, property, and affairs of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Board is responsible for establishing policy, budgets, and the guidance of affairs. The Board is composed of up to 22 persons who shall be members in good standing of the Chamber. Directors are elected for a term of three years which are staggered so that approximately one-third of the directors are elected each year. Vacancies in the board shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining directors.

To be considered to be a Director, nominees must be members in good standing.

Public Policy Updates

Recently, the Chamber Foundation joined our partners in releasing a report that showed Illinois has had significantly weaker growth in data center markets than surrounding states that have data center incentives.Today, 30 states have incentives specifically targeted at attracting data centers as part of expanded economic development efforts. Since 2012, 24 states have enacted legislation aimed at capturing a greater percentage of data center growth.
Other Recent Policy NewsMinimum Wage Bill Passes Senate Along Party Lines »
$15 Minimum Wage Passes Senate »
Illinois Pushes Toward $15 Minimum Wage »
AuroraChamber Joins Ill. Chamber, Others in Release of Data Centers Study »
Leader Durkin, House Republicans Introduce Fair Maps Amendment »

Premier Investors

Premier Investors

Welcome New Members

Ochoa & Associates LTD. (Elite Member)
Santos and Ilsia Ochoa
835 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
(630) 473-0325
Accounting & Tax ServicesArtesan Lofts (Premier Member)
Jessie Schnell
2 S Stolp Ave., Aurora
(630) 966-0602
Apartments & Condominiums / Art Galleries

Orchard Wine & Liquor (Premier Member)
Romi Singh
1039 W. Orchard Road, North Aurora
(630) 907-7130
Liquor Store

SciTech Hands on Museum
Arlene Hawks
18 W. Benton, Aurora
(630) 859-3434
Museums

Holistic Healthcare Management, Inc.
Stephanie Mack
Aurora
(630) 631-2998
Wellness Programs

Gary Brown Art
Susan Brown
7 S Broadway, Aurora
(630)768-4592
Art Galleries

Elite Members

 95.9 The River      Aaron’s      Above Board Indoor Environmental      Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.      Artesan Lofts      Aurora Bank & Trust      Aurora Collective      Aurora University      Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston      Barbara Geiger – Keller Williams Experience      Beans Greens Proteins      Caterpillar, Inc.      City Segment      ComEd      Company 251      Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics      Country Financial – West Aurora      Dolan & Murphy      Endiro Coffee      Energy Bot      ERC Delivery      First Secure Community Bank      Fox Valley Mall      Freedom Development Group, LLC      ganc.io      Gateway Mortgage Group      Healthcare Solutions Team – Deepti Srivastava      Henkels & McCoy, Inc.      Jiffy Lube Multi-Care      Kluber Architects + Engineers       Konen Insurance Agency, Inc.      Luke Singh – Country Financial      Magnetrol International, Inc.      MedCom Group      Midwest Coach Limousine, Inc.      Mitutoyo America Corporation      Mooney & Thomas P.C.       New York Life Insurance Company and Nylife Securities, LLC- Duckie Huynh      Obregon Medical Clinic      Ochoa & Associates LTD.      Old Second National Bank      OnLight Aurora      Orchard Wine & Liquor      Painters District Council 30      Paramount Arts Centre      Pilmer Real Estate      Plum Landing Retirement Community      Prairie Technology Solutions Group, LLC      Presence Mercy Medical Center      Quality Logo Products      R.C. Wegman Construction Company      Rasmussen College      Rich Harvest Farms      Rush Copley Medical Center      S&S Metal Recyclers II      Scientel Solutions      ServPro of Aurora      Sign*A*Rama      SmithAmundsen, LLC      Staffing Network, LLC & QPA       Staffmark      Stonebridge Country Club      T-Mobile     Tempur-Pedic Stores      Thoughtwave Software & Solutions      Two Brothers Roundhouse      Valley Fastener Group, LLC      VivirMED, LLC      The Voice      Waubonsee Community College      Weldstar Company      WSPY      Woodforest National Bank      World Finance Corporation 

Calendar of Events

Grand Opening: Randall Crossings Townhomes
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
1279 Comiskey Ave., North Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 11:30 a.m.Grand Opening: Burger King
Thursday, Feb. 14, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
1378 Butterfield Rd., Aurora
Ribbon Cutting @ 9:30 a.m.

Leadership Academy
Applications Due
Begins Friday, March 1, at 8:30 a.m.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

State of the City Address
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Reception @ 4 p.m.
Mayor’s Address @ 6 p.m.
Sponsorships Available

State of the Village Address
Wednesday, April 10, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Oak Street Restaurant
945 Oak St. North. Aurora
Sponsorships Available

Member News

Aurora Young Professionals, You’re Invited to Volunteer!Sign up for Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry.
Sign up for Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry.
US DOL Opens Applications for HIRE Vets Medallion »
State of the City Set for March 5 »
Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry Establishes Evening Food Distribution »
Food Pantry Names New Exec »
2-1-1 Info Hotline Now Available in Kane »

Did You Know?

Last fiscal year, the #AuroraChamber website saw more than four million hits from nearly 350,000 visitors. One of the most popular destinations was the Member Directory with nearly 275,000 hits – an average of nearly 400 hits per member. Is your directory listing up to date? If you see something that needs to be changed or added, contact Reba Osborne, director of membership, for assistance.

SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERSHIP

The #AuroraChamber has a number of videos online to assist you in using your member profile to your advantage. Current videos include:How to Pay Invoices Online
How to Post a Hot Deal
How to Add a Job Posting
How to Update Your Personal Profile
How to Update Your Company Profile
How to Manage and Post Events

About The Aurora Chamber

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is a private, not-for-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of more than 700 members representing nearly 40,000 employees. Our mission is be the catalyst for business success by providing leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for our members.Not a Chamber member? Learn more about the benefits of membership.
Already a Chamber member? Make the most of your membership today.

Facebook    Blog    TwitterAurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189

www.aurora-chamber.com

New Program Provides Second Chance for Youthful Offenders

Monday, February 11th, 2019

The Kane County MCIP Second Chance Program has three key goals:

  1. Help young adults ages 18 – 24 convicted of non-violent crimes, such as DUI or driving without a license, overcome the barrier of having a criminal record and re-enter society through starting careers in the manufacturing industry.
  2. Provide a low-risk process to vet and hire young adults who were incarcerated but are highly motivated and need a “second chance”
  3. Provide work and training opportunities to returning citizens to help address the critical skilled worker shortage in manufacturing.

How does it Work?

Business and Career Services (BCS) is partnering with the Kane County Correctional Department to provide a second chance to non-violent offenders ages 18 – 24 to turn their life around and become productive, responsible adults.

An intensive two-week “Boot Camp” held before the internship will screen participants for attitude and motivation and will focus on employer expectations and requirements such as: attendance, attitude, ambition and problem solving. It also provides them with a 10-hour OSHA safety certification, resume writing and interviewing skills, financial literacy, shop math and problem solving. The program is modeled after the highly successful BCS Manufacturing Careers Internship Program (MCIP) which has a 70% success rate.

As part of the “Second Chance” program, participating manufacturers will be able to interview and select potential interns prior to the eight-week internship. BCS is the employer of record during the internship and covers wages, insurance and liability. BCS will also monitor the growth and success of the participants during the internships using frequent communication and on-site visits.

What are the Benefits to Employers?

  • There is No Cost to the employer during the eight-week internship. BCS covers wages and liability insurance.
  • Opportunity to identify, vet and hire highly motivated individuals for hard-to-fill positions.
  • Federal and State Fidelity Bonding Programs are available at no cost to protect the employer from any wrong-doing by the employee once hired. The bond coverage is usually $5,000 with no deductible. Higher amounts of coverage up to $25,000 may be allowed.
  • Employers may qualify for a tax credit of between $1,200 and $9,600 per employee for hiring ex-felons through the Illinois Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program.
  • Employers hiring qualified participants may be eligible to be reimbursed 50% of their wages up to $10,000 through the Kane County Workforce On-the-Job Training Program.
  • Similar to the MICP, internships can be terminated at any time,

For more information, contact Rand Haas, MCIP program manager with Business and Career Services, at (630) 204-9795.

Industry-Driven Program Offers Train-to-Hire Internships for Employers

Monday, February 11th, 2019

The Aurora Chamber would like to re-introduce a partner program for local employers. The Business and Career Services Manufacturing Careers Internship Program (MCIP) is an innovative workforce development program designed to:

  • Help employers identify and hire motivated, young adults ages 18 – 24
  • Help young adults learn about manufacturing and start a successful career path
  • Change the perception of manufacturing and promote it as a desirable career

Employers benefit from the program because:

  • Internship provided at no cost to employer, no commitment to hire
  • Minimize hiring risk by identifying motivated employees during internship
  • Drug Screening and Work-readiness training provided prior to internship
  • Employers may be eligible for On-the-Job-Training Grant if interns are hired as employees

The MCIP starts with a Career Exploration “Boot” Camp that leads directly to an eight-week paid internship. During the boot camp, interns visit six to eight local manufacturers, tour the manufacturing lab at the local community college, learn essential “work-readiness skills”, brush up on their math skills and gain OSHA and Lift Truck Driving Certifications. At the end of the boot camp, participating employers interview and select interns for an internship paid by the MCIP.

The MCIP is funded through the through a federal WIOA grant from the DOL. Business and Career Services (BCS) serves as the employer of record and covers payroll, liability and insurance during the internship. In addition, participants obtain a 10-hour OSHA certification and forklift truck-driving certification. Other elements include:

  • Tours of local area manufacturers to learn about careers and skills required
  • Emphasis on work-readiness, including attendance, attitude and problem solving
  • Emphasis on shop math and communication skills
  • Resume writing and job interview preparation

The MCIP has been recognized as one of the most unique and innovative workforce programs in Illinois. Since 2011, more than 200 companies have participated and over 700 interns have participated. More than 85% of interns hired after the internship have stayed with the company for longer than 12 months.

For information, contact Rand Haas, program manager, at (630) 204-9795.

US DOL Opens Applications for HIRE Vets Medallion

Monday, February 11th, 2019

The application period is open for job creators to apply for the U.S. Department of Labor’s HIRE Vets Medallion Award. This program recognizes small businesses, non-profit organizations, and large companies for their leadership in recruiting, employing, and retaining America’s veterans. Applicants are evaluated based on a range of criteria including veteran hiring and retention rates, and the availability of veteran-specific resources, leadership programs, dedicated human resources, and compensation and tuition assistance programs. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2019.

Learn about the HIRE Vets Medallion Award

Minimum Wage Bill Passes Senate Along Party Lines

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Despite concerns by suburban and downstate legislators in particular over the impact on the state budget (over $1 billion) and the impact on suburban and downstate employers, the Senate passed a proposal to increase the Illinois starting wage to $15 over 5 years as contained in Senate Amendment #1 to Senate Bill 1 (Sen Kimberly Lightford, D- Westchester). The 39-18 vote was along strictly partisan lines and came only after Governor JB Pritzker spent 30-minutes in the Senate Democratic caucus imploring a united front for his first major policy initiative. This action comes despite two very reasonable alternatives put forward by IRMA under the belief that an increase is inevitable, everyone was genuine in their desire to turn the page on the last four-years and seek genuine compromise, and the two alternatives IRMA put forward were supported in those respective states by the same proponents who are pushing the $15 wage increase in Illinois.

IRMA first suggested following the Oregon model where a different wage would be paid in different parts of the state. For example, $15 would be paid in Chicago, a lower wage in the collar counties, and a yet lower wage downstate. The Oregon model makes the most sense for a state as economically and geographically diverse as Illinois in that no other location in Illinois enjoys the economic benefits of Chicago. Nowhere else has over 55 million tourists per year, nowhere else has millions commuting into the city center every day spending money, nowhere else has the concentration of business headquarters, and nowhere else has the concentration of wealth. However, several legislators and the Governor’s Office expressed reservations over voting for $15 for some parts of the state but not others.

As an alternative, IRMA put forward the New York model. New York increased the starting wage in New York City over 4 years. The starting wage in the two counties on Long Island and Westchester County were increased to $15 over 6 years, and the starting wage in the rest of New York over 10-12 years (increased by CPI until reaches 15). While less sensitive to the economic diversity of New York and Illinois, it is an apt example for Illinois. The city of Chicago began increasing its minimum wage in 2015. If SB 1 is enacted as is, employers in the city of Chicago will have been given 10 years to get to $15 per hour. Employers in the suburbs and downstate will only be given 5 years. It raises the question as to why suburban and downstate employers are not being given the same consideration as employers in the city of Chicago. For those who say ‘well, the city raised the wage on its own, the answer is proponents don’t get it both ways. They can’t oppose preemption and then not count the actions of the city of Chicago. Employers don’t get that luxury.

Claims that alternatives were never presented are simply false. These alternatives were provided to the Governor directly the evening of Tuesday, January 29th, the primary legislative sponsors and the proponents during a morning meeting on Thursday, January 31st, repeated during another meeting the morning of Tuesday, February 5th and shared with other legislators and legislative staff throughout the week. Clearly, given the facts noted above, there does not appear to be a genuine desire for what would otherwise be considered an easily achievable compromise.

The proponents claim that a tax credit inserted into the bill will help small business. In fact, the tax credit as proposed is inadequate to soften the size and pace of the proposed increase and applies to very few employers. The following would NOT receive the credit:

  • Any employer with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees. The legislation does not state what constitutes ‘full-time” so it is impossible to accurately calculate. However, given the fact the proposal started with a firm cap at 50, we can expect a definition that keeps close to that number.
  • If you are a franchisee and have more than one store OR file as part of a unitary group (e.g. you are a franchisee, run some other type of business and they file taxes together) you would not be eligible for the tax credit.
  • If your average wages paid are less than the same quarter the year before, you are not eligible for the credit. For example, if you are forced to cut hours worked, lay off workers, or if workers are absent, your average wages could easily drop.
  • Employers with 5 or fewer employees are eligible for a credit for a year longer than everyone else. While the proponents claim this applies to 48% of all employers, they don’t tell you that the vast majority of that 48% is comprised of employers where the only employee is the employer. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), in the City of Chicago, such businesses account for 6.6% of employers. According to the US Small Business Administration, 80% of all employers fall into this category. Therefore, 1.4% – 2.0% of employers in Illinois would qualify.

Clearly, the tax credit is nothing more than a talking point.

As passed by the Senate, SB 1 increases the starting wage as follows:

18 years and older

Under 18 years of age*

YEAR

WAGE

YEAR

WAGE

1/1/2020

$9.25

1/1/2020

$8.00

7/1/2020

$10.00

7/1/2020

1/1/2021

$11.00

$8.50

1/1/2022

$12.00

$9.25

1/1/2023

$13.00

$10.50

1/1/2024

$14.00

$12.00

1/1/2025

$15.00

$13.00

 

*If the employee who is under 18 years of age works more than 650 hours for the employer during a calendar year, then the employer must pay the full minimum wage regardless of the employee’s age.

While it looks like a six-year phase-in, it is really a five-year phase in because employers will experience a $2.75 per hour increase (33.3% increase) in the first 366-days. For an employer’s planning purposes, a year-and-one-day, is not two years. This phase-in is an average annual increase to an employer’s largest or second-largest line-item of over 16% per year for a total increase of 81.8% over 5 years.

The House Labor & Commerce Committee is scheduled to consider SB 1 on Wednesday, February 13th at 2:00 p.m.

IRMA members should register their opposition by filing a slip at this link. Additionally, IRMA members are encouraged to continue to register their opposition per the action alerts IRMA has distributed.

 

 

$15 Minimum Wage Passes Senate

Monday, February 11th, 2019

The Senate approved SB 1 (Lightford) by 39-18. The bill would increase the minimum wage for those above the age of 18 from $8.25 (current) to:

-$9.25 by January 1, 2020
-$10.00 by July 1, 2020
-$11.00 by January 1, 2021
-$12.00 by January 2022
-$13 by January 2023
-$14 by January 2024
-$15 by January 2025.

The bill would also make similar increases for those under 18 with the final wage being $13 per hour by 2025.

The bill includes a tax credit for employers with less than 50 employees. However, as drafted, the credit is not as straightforward as it is being sold.

Business organizations — including the Illinois Chamber, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, and others — remain opposed.  The Senate is expected to put SB 1 up for a vote in the House this week. Members are encouraged to reach out to their lawmakers and urge them to vote NO on any minimum wage increase that does not include employer protections. Members can reach their legislators by either writing or calling their offices here.