Last Wednesday, April 22 was a good day for Chamber630 businesses. Well represented with 25 delegates in Springfield, along with four other chambers of commerce, we visited with several elected officials at the Capitol and ended the evening hosting a well-received legislative reception.
The delegation was provided Springfield updates and briefings by Illinois Chamber president, Todd Maisch and lobbyist, Elizabeth Van Holt of Isaiah Consulting at a luncheon sponsored by AT&T. Budget spending levels were discussed as well as the possibility of new revenue sources. Workers’ compensation continues to be a critical concern for employers, as does any increase of the minimum wage, especially without meaningful business reforms. Transportation funding and its revenue source came up as well as the foreboding and Senate Bill 1, the Education Funding Reform Act (last year’s Senate Bill 16).
Members brought these topics over to the Capitol while visiting with Republican House Leader Jim Durkin (82nd), Deputy (first female in Illinois) Republican Leader Patti Bellock (47th), Representatives Ron Sandack (81st) and Grant Wehrli (41st). The strong will for change and the party’s dedication to it along with a focus on the greater good of the State was evident. Across on the Senate side, Republican Leader Radogno (41st) encouraged us to communicate with the committee members that vet the issues of concern. Pulled from the floor, Senator Tom Cullerton (D23rd) (preparing for run for Congress), said he felt that a conclusion to Senate Bill 1 would likely be found in 2016 and not before. Michael Cassa, president of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation (DG EDC) asked the Senator for an amendment to Cullerton’s bill, SB1682 that will save the Village of Downers Grove over $100,000; he was assured by the Senator that the change would be submitted. Meeting with the Executive Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Jim Schultz was cancelled as he was in Chicago to announce the organization’s partial change to a public/private entity – yet another indicator of Illinois change.
Sponsors of the trip, Choose DuPage, AT&T, Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation, Midwestern University, Nicor and The Olive Tap welcomed 43 guests at the reception including those mentioned earlier and Representatives Peter Breen (R48th), Mike Fortner (R49th), Mark Batinick (R97th), Jeanne Ives (R42nd), Emily McAsey (D85th) and many others. As always, much work is done after hours.
For those Members who took a day away from their business to represent Chamber630 and show elected officials the importance of their business concerns, thank you. Mario Olivi of The Olive Tap, Karyn McCarthy of PowerForward DuPage, Joe Malas and Ricky Reyes of Advocate Health Care, Elizabeth Van Holt of Isaiah Consulting Group, John Harvey of Shell Oil, John Quinn, AT&T; Michael Cassa, DG EDC, Bob Casey, A-1 Inspection, Ron Castrogiavanni of Wadell & Reed, Rich Moore, owner of Shannahans and all the rest – a round of applause to you. We heard over and over again, the importance of ‘showing up’ in Springfield and these Members made it happen!