121 Report – CRMA – October 2016



Considering the very local and national conversation this country is having regarding quality of life, addressing the lingering racial divides, issues of inequality, political and community leadership, Mayor Emanuel’s annual budget address took a more pensive tone than in recent years. Instead of focusing on pension deficits and plugging budget holes resulting from years of kicking the financial can down the road, the Mayor focused on the importance of mentoring young people, providing first jobs and job training, and how critical it is to develop every community, not just those in or near the central business district. With the immediate needs of pensions behind him (due to the recently passed water tax increase for the Municipal Employees Pension Fund, the increase in property taxes for Police and Fire and the increased 911 surcharge for the city’s Laborers) he could focus the budget address on his goals for rebuilding communities.

Continue reading “121 Report – CRMA – October 2016”

Darvin Furniture as Retailer of the Year


September 12, 2016

CONTACT:   Rachel Peabody, 217-753-1761



 Illinois Retail Merchants Association honors Darvin Furniture as Retailer of the Year


CHICAGO—The Illinois Retailers Merchants Association is proud to announce that Darvin Furniture is the 2016 Illinois Retailer of the Year. Darvin, a third-generation family-owned furniture store in Orland Park, was selected for the award due to their success in the industry, their innovation meeting consumer desires and their dedication to the community and employees that they serve.

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121 Report – CRMA – July 2016




Employer’s Expense Tax

Sponsors:  Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward), Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward), Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward) and 11 co-sponsors

Committee:  Committees, Rules and Ethics

After advocating against the tax originally imposed by the Daley administration and repealed by the City Council in the current administration, a leader of the Progressive Caucus wants to resurrect the job-killing, anti-growth tax.  The tax singles out employers that have at least 50 employees that work as commission merchants or that work full-time or any combination thereof.

Continue reading “121 Report – CRMA – July 2016”

This Week in Springfield – 99-39

Illinois Passes Stop Gap Budget

For a little more than a year Illinois has been without a budget and has operated under a series of consent decrees as lawmakers have been unable to pass a FY16 or FY17 budget. Despite the condition of the state and pressure from constituents, lawmakers were unable to come to a budget agreement and for a second consecutive year the General Assembly adjourned on May 31st without a budget.  With no FY16 or FY17 budget and the specter of impending November elections, it appeared that a budget agreement would be delayed until next January.

With a full FY16 or FY17 budget agreement seemingly out of reach, working groups from both parties and the governor’s office continued to meet in an attempt to reach a temporary stop-gap budget designed to fund necessary services through the end of 2016. While the working groups met, pressure continued to mount on the legislative leaders from social service providers, prisons, schools, municipalities and newspapers to name a few.  With one day remaining until the end of the fiscal year, lawmakers reached agreement on a temporary stop-gap budget. In essence, the stop-gap budget would address the most pressing matters including ensuring schools open on time, road projects and other capital projects would be funded, and some human service providers would be able to continue with a temporary lifeline from the state. The stop-gap appropriates a total of $75 billion — $25 billion for FY16 and $50 billion for FY17 — for agency operations, grant lines, capital and other state spending.

In order to ensure that K-12 schools opened up on time in the fall, $11.1 billion was appropriated to the State Board of Education, including $7.5 billion in General Revenue, $71.5 million in Other State Funds, and $3.6 billion in Federal funds for K-12 funding. Additionally, the agreement would provide relief to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) by infusing $300 million from the state and giving CPS the authority to levy another $250 million from property taxes.  Given the existence of the classification system in Cook County, this does mean commercial and industrial property owners will bear the majority of the burden of this latest property tax increase. Moreover, the agreement establishes Chicago pension parity for FY17 by requiring the state to make a $205 million contribution to the Chicago Teacher’s Pension Fund. These were offered in exchange for a pension reform bill that must be passed by January.

To keep road projects and other capital projects continuing during the summer months, the stop-gap appropriates $14.6 billion to the Illinois Department of Transportation for annual operations, various grants, and some capital spending for FY16 and FY17. Specifically, $1.5 billion of this amount represents the annual costs to IDOT and the remaining $13.1 billion is appropriated for capital projects, funding roads, bridges, rail, aeronautics, and permanent improvements. Additionally, lawmakers passed separate legislation that would allow Chicago to use substantial revenue from a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to help access federal money for mass transit projects. The proposal holds CPS harmless, but it would divert money from libraries, parks and the water district.

Universities, community colleges and low income student MAP grants also received funding which relieves pressure on the university system in Illinois. The agreement appropriates $997 million to various higher education agencies, universities and community colleges which funds them up to 90% of the monies they would have received in FY15. Additionally, the agreement appropriates $151 million from the Education Assistance Fund to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to cover MAP grants for low income students. This will also reimburse all universities who fronted the costs for MAP grants for the spring 2016 semester.

Human services also receive some funding through a $752 million appropriation from the Commitment to Human Services Fund. Specifically, the Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Public Health and Department of Aging received some funding for operational expenses. Additionally, programs that received funding include but are not limited to SIDS, HIV/AIDS, and Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening, the Autism Project, Funeral and Burial Expenses, Psychiatric Leadership Grants, Independent Living Centers, Community Care Program, Illinois Council on Aging, Grants to Area Agencies on Aging, and the Ombudsman Program.

The stop-gap budget is just that – a stop-gap. While it represents some bi-partisan progress and provides a temporary partial reprieve, it does not provide a sustainable budget for the long term, adds to the bill backlog, and does not contain any of the much needed reforms Illinois needs to regain stability, reign in local government, and otherwise ensure Illinois’s long-term competitiveness. It will be interesting to see what develops after the November elections.

This was a deal negotiated by the Governor who will sign it upon receipt.

Contact Information:


121 Report – CRMA – June 2016

In This Issue





Resolution to Add a Public Question to the November Ballot

Sponsor:  Ald. Joe Moore (49th Ward)

Committee:  Committees, Rules and Ethics


In each general election, the City Council poses questions to the voters to determine whether there is support regarding relevant, but controversial issues.  While the result of the votes is non-binding, they do use the outcome to inform them on whether to further pursue an issue legislatively.  The questions are sent to committees for consideration and voted on by the full Council before appearing on the November ballot.  No more than three questions can appear on the ballot.  At this meeting two of the three questions were approved by the full council.  The third, a question regarding an elected, independent airport authority was not heard in committee and is unlikely to be called for consideration.  Instead, an alternative question was submitted by the sponsor for consideration on the ballot.  The question will be of interest to CRMA members in the petroleum industry.

“Should the City of Chicago establish a policy of not investing City funds in corporations that produce fossil fuels?”


Replacement of Non-Conforming Signs

Sponsors:  Ald. Joe Moreno (1st Ward), Ald. Daniel Solis (25th Ward) and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward)

Committee:  Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards


This proposal will allow a business to replace or continue a legal, properly permitted off-premise sign if the owner of the lot is simply contracting with a new sign company or is replacing the sign due to ownership of the sign structure.  The sign cannot change in height, size or area or incorporate any new technological elements and it must have the same placement and configuration of the original.  Lot owners must apply for a building permit and must sign an affidavit regarding ownership.


Amendment to Types of Signs Allowed in Certain Zoning Districts

Sponsor:  Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

Committee:  Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards


This proposal will allow on-premise freestanding signs in DC and DX districts and will also allow projecting signs in DC districts.



Discrimination Regarding Public Accommodations

Sponsors:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th Ward), Ald. James Cappleman (46th Ward) and 4 others


This ordinance will amend the city’s Human Rights ordinance to allow people to use the public accommodation in accordance with whatever gender the person identifies with.  People will no longer need to use a public accommodation in accordance with their government-issued form of identification.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  July 19, 2016


Public Questions Added to the November Ballot


The following questions will appear on the City of Chicago’s November ballot:

 “Should the State of Illinois provide full and equitable funding for the Chicago Public Schools?”


A number of fiscal issues still remain without a resolution in this legislative session, one being pension reform and aid to schools.  Both Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Governor Rauner have put forth proposals to overhaul how schools are funded.  Sen. Manar’s plan has been criticized because it would decrease the amount going to many suburban school districts that are well-funded and that have high-performing students in order to shift taxpayer money to downstate districts and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  Gov. Rauner’s plan has also been criticized because his formula would decrease the allotment for CPS and increase funding to wealthy suburban areas.  It is clear that legislators want school funding reform, but they are far from agreement on how it should be accomplished.  This question will be used to coerce lawmakers and the Governor to find a long-term solution to school funding.


    “Should the State of Illinois strengthen penalties for the illegal trafficking of firearms and require background checks for gun dealers and their employees?”


Prior to its recess, the General Assembly considered a bill that would license gun dealers.  HB 1016 (Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Northlake) would have required gun dealers to obtain two different licenses.  It would have also required an examination, training and continued education credits.  No other state that licenses gun dealers requires more than one license, nor do they require exams or training.  The bill was passed by the Senate, but failed to pass the House.  It is likely that it will be revived as the conversation on gun trafficking and gun violence continues to be debated at the national level, and as Chicago continues to manage criminal activity involving the use of guns.


Paid Sick Leave (PSL)/Paid Time Off (PTO)

Sponsors:  Alderman Toni Foulkes (15th Ward), Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward), Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and 36 others  


Almost a year after their first meeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Working Families Working Group (WFWG) issued a report that recommended the Chicago City Council pass an employer- funded paid sick leave ordinance.  IRMA participated in the WFWG and, along with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, opposed the recommendation that forces yet another unfunded mandate in a long list of mandates that the City Council has passed in the last two years on employers.  There are many models available to address Paid Sick Leave.  It can be employer funded in whole or in part, it can be paid for through a social insurance program set up by the government which an employee pays into and can take with them from job to job, and it can be paid for by some combination of employer/employee funding, like healthcare.  Without equal consideration of all options, the WFWG chose a wholly employer-funded mandate and the sponsors concurred.

After the policy debate was settled, IRMA attempted to engage in negotiation with the sponsors, the advocates and the Mayor’s office regarding how to provide paid sick leave without overregulation.  The complicated system of accrual and carryover, along with complications this will add to employers that already provide some form of paid leave left the employer community with many concerns and will be complicated for small businesses to administer.  Our points of concern were discussed and the decision was made to move the proposal forward without making any changes, but leaving open the opportunity that there would be rulemaking.  As IRMA members know, the city of Chicago has no rulemaking process, so we have little faith that a process made on the fly will carefully consider employer needs.  Please find IRMA’s outstanding concerns detailed here.

We are engaging with the Mayor’s office and the sponsors to possibly address our outstanding concerns through an amendment to the current ordinance and not through rulemaking.

Here are the main points of the ordinance in Q & A form:


Who is covered?

Any employee that works at least 80 hours within a 120 day period and is at least 18 years of age.  Current collective bargaining agreements are exempt until the contract ends.  Future collective bargaining agreements must specifically exempt themselves from this law if they do not want it to apply.  Employers with less than 4 employees (not including family members) are exempt.


What type of leave must the employer provide?

The employer must provide either paid sick leave (PSL) or paid time off (PTO).  If the employer chooses to provide PSL, then the employee will be allowed to take the time to care for her/his own illness or medical care related to an illness/injury or case of domestic violence, the illness of a family member or other unrelated person that is like a family member or for cases of business or school shut downs due to a public health emergency.  If the employer chooses to provide PTO, then the employee can take any eligible time earned for any reason.


How does PSL/PTO accrue?

The employer can give the employee 5 days upfront for the year (a year is calculated from the employee’s first day of work or the effective date of the ordinance, whichever is later).  Or, the employer can choose to use an accrual system instead.  If so, then the employee will accrue PSL at the rate of 1 hour for every 40 hours worked.  Employees will only be allowed to use 40 hours of PSL per 12-month period.


Will an employee be allowed to carry over PSL/PTO?

Yes.  An employee can carry over a maximum of 20 hours to the following 12-month period for use as PSL/PTO.  However, if an employee works for an employer that must comply with FMLA, then the employee will be allowed to carryover up to an additional 40 hours of PSL to use concurrently with FMLA.  While PSL/PTO is capped at the equivalent of 5 days in a benefit year, there is no cap on how much time can be accrued or used for time taken concurrently with FMLA.


Will employers be required to pay out any PSL/PTO upon employee separation? 

No.  Employers will not be required to pay out any unused PSL/PTO or any PSL/PTO that is no carried over.


How will this ordinance apply to tipped employees?

An employer must pay the tipped employee at the full minimum wage in effect at the time the employee takes leave.


How many days in a row can an employee take of PSL?

Employers can require documentation regarding the need for leave when an employee takes more than three consecutive days of PSL.


What kind of notice must I provide to my employees?

You must amend or replace the minimum wage sign to include notice of rights to PSL/PTO.


What recourse does an employee have if I fail to provide PSL/PTO?

The employee has a private right of action in the appropriate court of jurisdiction.  A fine can also be issued by the city for each violation at a rate of $500-$1000 for each violation.


EFFECTIVE DATE:  July 1, 2017
The next City Council meeting will take place on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 10am in the Council Chambers.


Contact Information

TanyaTricheTanya Triche

Vice President & General Counsel