Appointed to economic recovery commission.
I’ve said from the beginning that the General Assembly needs to be engaged and part of the decision making process as our state moves forward. I wish we were meeting as an entire body but since this is not happening right now, it will be up to this 14-member Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission to have the voices of the legislative branch and our constituents heard. This commission has the potential to help our state save critical segments of our economy and bring back the countless jobs lost during the shutdown, but only if all the commission members and the Governor are receptive to recommendations. There are numerous safe ways to get more people back to work and we need to take action. Too many previous commissions have failed to deliver and we simply cannot afford that this time around. Read More Here.
Disappointed by Pritzker decision to cancel State Fair.
I understand the difficulty and importance of taking every safety precaution as we decide whether or not to hold certain events as we continue to deal with COVID-19. However, I am very disappointed in the Governor’s unilateral decision to cancel the State Fair. Not only was it inappropriate to make this decision without feedback from our Central Illinois communities that rely on the millions of dollars generated by the event, but he is once again exceeding his authority and violating state law by not consulting the legislature. There was time to consider safely restructuring the fair and move forward, and it is extremely unfortunate that has not happened. Read More Here.
Guidelines released for Phase 4.
All four regions of Illinois will move into Phase 4 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan on Friday, June 26, 2020. Phase 4 guidelines were designed by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in coordination with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Under Phase 4, restaurants, bars and taverns will be allowed to reopen their indoor facilities under conditions of social distancing. Schools and universities will be allowed to make plans for reopening in fall 2020. Health and fitness clubs, gyms and swimming pools will be allowed to reopen under strict guidelines, as well as other recreation facilities. Read More Here.
SBDC gets $7.3 million to support IL small biz.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced a new $7.3 million investment from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program – a statewide network focused solely on supporting Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs in starting, growing and maintaining their businesses. There is no cost to small business owners for SBDC services. In the wake of COVID-19, SBDCs have played a vital role in connecting businesses with support resources and assistance programs designed to help keep businesses afloat. Read More Here.
Business Interruption Grants program launched.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is launching the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. The BIG Program is available for up to 3,500 businesses that experienced a limited ability to operate due to COVID-19 related closures. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 million of which has been set aside for childcare providers and is funded by the CARES Act. Read More Here.
State ed. boards release guidelines for in-person learning.
The state’s three education boards for K-12, higher education and community colleges have announced guidelines for Illinois schools and colleges to return to in-person instruction as the state advances to Phase 4 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan. Some of the guidelines have immediately been met with concern from parents, students and educators alike. Read More Here.
Governor signs ‘Cocktails to Go’ legislation.
Among the legislative victories of the special session was the overwhelming support of legislation to allow bars and restaurants to sell pre-made cocktails for pick-up or delivery as part of the reopening of Illinois’ economy. The legislation, House Bill 2682, which I was glad to co-sponsor, was signed by Governor Pritzker earlier this month. It is a vital step in the right direction, similar to outdoor seating, to help struggling bars and restaurants weather the coronavirus shutdown storm as alcohol sales are one of the most important revenue generators for the industry. Read More Here.
Online preregistration available for driver’s lic. renewals.
The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office has launched an online driver’s license and ID card preregistration application program to reduce the processing time of transactions at Driver Services facilities. Visit cyberdriveillinois.com to access the preregistration application for driver’s licenses and ID cards and input specific information regarding their upcoming transaction. As a result, once the customer visits a Driver Services facility, the clerk will not have to enter all of the data like a change of address or a change of height and weight into the electronic application form because the customer has already updated the information. This will improve the efficiency of these transactions and cut down wait times. Read More Here.
Reminder: income tax filing deadline is July 15.
For those who have not yet filed, state individual income tax returns and payments are due July 15, the same date set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for federal returns. Taxpayers who have yet to file their 2019 state individual income tax returns must act by July 15 to avoid penalties and interest. The tax filing season was extended three months from the normal due date of April 15 to help Illinois taxpayers experiencing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More Here.