Your Business Advocate - July 2, 2020

“This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”
Theodore Roosevelt

Advocacy is one of the many ways that the Chamber supports our members and the local community. 

During the past few months, our role as an advocate for your business has increased substantially as we’ve reached out to our elected officials and our state and federal associations to ensure that appropriate funding and policies are made to support the safe reopening of our economy.

While our minds are very focused on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have for months to come, there are other issues that affect us being discussed at the state and federal level that I want to share with you today.

Of importance to our community is an announcement by Amtrak that they are scaling back many of their long distance routes to three times a week, including the City of New Orleans which passes through Effingham. And, the subsequent push back by U. S. Senators to Amtrak’s request for additional federal funding. Many businesspeople and local residents rely on Amtrak for business and personal travel. This reduction of service would have a negative impact on our economy also due to the number of people who access the train here in Effingham. We encourage letters and communication with Senators Durbin and Duckworth on this issue. You can find contact information for the Senators on the Advocacy page of the Chamber Website.

A Constitutional Amendment has been placed on the November election ballot in Illinois to replace the current flat state income and corporate tax with a graduated income tax that allows legislators to determine different rates for both individuals and corporations based on income earned.The amendment also repeals the constitutional ban of more than a single tax on income allowing future general assemblies to tax the same dollar of income multiple times.

Although the ballot question does not contain the new tax brackets, a separate piece of legislation establishing the rates under a progressive income tax system was approved by both Houses in the General Assembly and signed by the governor. Under the proposal, corporate income would be taxed at flat rate of 10.49%, the third-highest rate in the nation, while the highest bracket for pass-through business income would be taxed at 9.49%, the fourth highest in the nation. 

The Effingham County Chamber Board of Directors has passed a resolution opposing the
ballot initiative due to the significant economic impact it will have on businesses and individuals who are already suffering from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will be posting information about the proposal in the weeks ahead and creating an information page on our website for ongoing access. Be watching for it.

With the November elections coming up, the Chamber’s Legislative Committee has begun working on activities that will help you get to know the local and regional candidates for public office so you can make an informed decision when you go to the polls. Be watching for information for how you can learn more about the candidates in the coming months.

Our mission is to create connections that strengthen member businesses and stimulate regional prosperity. We live our mission by advocating for a business friendly environment.