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Tax Hike on the Horizon for IL?

ACCE Webmaster on Monday, June 8, 2009 at 6:03:09 pm 

Newly seated Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was out stumping this weekend to boost public support for his balanced budget plan.  The Governor is calling for an income tax hike that he believes is necessary to maintain the services state residents rely on.  Gov. Quinn said:

"If we don't get the budget that we need that's decent and fair and reflects the values of Illinois within a very short period of time -- I would say a week or so -- I'm going to lay out the consequences of the legislature's failure to provide revenue for our state and for our budget,"

State legislators have sent the Governor a spending plan for 2010, but have yet to sign on to his proposed tax increase to fund their spending.  Illinois' budget year starts on July 1.  Read more in this article from the Chicago Tribune.

Most states are facing similar difficult choices with respect to their budgets this year.  What steps is your state taking close budget gaps?  Cutting expenditure, raising taxes and fees, both?  What makes since in the short term and will help promote long term economic growth?  Leave a comment with your thoughts.

We'll dig deep into this issue at the 2009 ACCE Convention in Raleigh.  Join us on on Friday, July 31 at 2:45 pm for State Budgets and Their Impact on Local Communities, an issue forum featuring guest speakers from the Council on State Taxation, The Rockefeller Institute and the Kentucky Chamber.

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ACCE Convention Speaker Profile - Bob Ward, Rockefeller Institute

Ian Scott on Monday, June 8, 2009 at 5:03:43 pm 

Ward 4x5 (2) The ACCE Convention is drawing nearer, the deadline for early bird pricing is this Friday - June 12.  As we prepare to meet in Raleigh to learn what's NEXT in all areas of chamber leadership, I'm blogging about some of the featured speakers and workshops from our Government Relations/Policy and Economic Development programming tracks.  Last Thursday I profiled Joe Crosby from COST, today I'm featuring his co-panelist on the "State Budgets" Issue Forum - Bob Ward from the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Robert B. Ward is the deputy director of the Rockefeller Institute and heads the Institute's State and Local Government Finance research. He has studied and written about New York State government for more than 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, as assistant to the chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, and as director of research for The Public Policy Institute of New York State, the research affiliate of The Business Council of New York State. 

Having worked at the State Chamber in New York, Bob appreciates the important role that local chamber's must play in guiding public policy, and there is now no bigger policy issue for states than the insolvency of state budgets.  Bob will join Joe Crosby on Friday, July 31 at 2:45 pm for State Budgets and Their Impact on Local Communities.  His remarks will focus on the expenditure side of state budgets and how states can help close budget gaps through smart cuts.

Dave Adkisson, President of the Kentucky Chamber and ACCE chair-elect, will moderate this important session.  We'll discuss the wide ranging issues that impact budgets from health care to taxes to public pension liability.  You don't want to miss this one.  If you have questions about this, or any other workshops at the ACCE Convention, please give me a call.

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ACCE Convention Speaker Profile - Joe Crosby, COST

Ian Scott on Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 11:39:35 pm 

Crosby Email Picture

With the early bird registration deadline (June 12) for ACCE Convention  approaching, I wanted to share information about some of the workshops and featured speakers you'll see in Raleigh this summer.  Today I'd like to highlight... Joe Crosby.

Joseph R. Crosby is the COO & Senior Director of Policy for the Council on State Taxation (COST).  He is responsible for all aspects of COST's advocacy, and regularly testifies before state legislatures and other state and national policymaking bodies.  He's also a frequent speaker to trade and industry groups on tax policy matters. 

Joe is one of two panelists speaking at the "State Budgets" Issue Forum at the ACCE Convention in Raleigh.  The session is schedule for Friday, July 31 at 2:45 pm.  During the session - State Budgets and Their Impact on Local Communities - Joe will address observed and potential tax implications on business as states try to close budget gaps.

If you have questions about this, or any other workshops at the ACCE Convention, please give me a call.

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Kentucky Calls Special Session

ACCE Webmaster on Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 6:00:08 pm 

Starting next week the Kentucky Legislature will be back in Frankfort.  Gov. Beshear's primary focus for calling back law makers is to address a projected budget shortfall.  Below is the Kentucky Chamber's release:

"This afternoon, Gov. Steve Beshear issued a proclamation calling the Kentucky General Assembly into Extraordinary Session on June 15, 2009, to deal with the projected shortfall in the state’s budget for the coming year.  The Consensus Forecasting Group (CFG) issued an official budget estimate of $996 million for Fiscal Year 2010. Although that amount is in dispute because it doesn’t reflect budget adjustments already made this year, it still poses a significant challenge. The governor met earlier in the day with legislative leaders and presented them his proposal to close the budget gap.

 

Beshear’s plan would not raise taxes on businesses or individuals, but would instead rely on a series of budget cuts, a reduction of paid holidays for state employees and targeted use of federal stimulus dollars made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."

The session may address other vital issues including economic development programs and infrastructure authority for major projects.

 

Budget shortfalls are a painful reality for most states right now.  We're addressing this subject in an Issue Forum at the ACCE Convention in Raleigh on Friday, July 31.  The Kentucky Chamber's Dave Adkisson will moderate as Joe Crosby from the Council on State Taxation and Bob Ward from the Rockefeller Institute of Government discuss the prospects for state budgets from the expense and revenue sides.  Learn strategies for dealing with budget gaps in ways that don't slam your state's economic engines.  More at www.acce.org/convention.

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Regionalism Forum - Promotional Price

ACCE Webmaster on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 6:31:31 pm 

ARSlogosmallRegistration fees for the ARS Regional Strategies Forum are now only $200 if you register for the Forum and the ACCE Convention together. The deadline for ACCE Convention early bird pricing is June 12 – go to www.acce.org/convention to register.

The 2009 ARS Regional Strategies Forum will address the realities of the changing economic landscape and offer insight as to how regions can restructure themselves for future growth. From adopting the right organizational model to leveraging assets to engaging civic leaders; our expert speakers and regional practitioners will tackle key challenges faced by every region. We'll also recognize some of the nation's best regional leaders and organizations during the ARS Awards luncheon.

For a detailed agenda and list of speakers for the 2009 ARS Forum, check out www.regionalstewardship.org/forum/2009  

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Federal Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

ACCE Webmaster on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 1:24:00 am 
<p>Last month House Democrats&#0160;reintroduced <em>The Healthy Families Act</em> (<em>H.R. 2460) - </em>legislation that would require employers with more than 15 employees to provide paid sick leave to their staff. The provisions in this legislation are similar in nature to the prior federal versions.&#0160; If passed, this legislation would allow employees to earn one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked - up to a maximum of 56 hours (7 days) in one year. </p><p>Some major issues for employers with this legislation include&#0160;administrative burdens related to accrual caluclation and record keeping, overlap with existing leave policies, and verification.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.cose.org/en/Advocacy/Issues/Paid%20Sick%20Leave.aspx">Council of Smaller Enterprises</a>(COSE) - part of the Greater Cleveland Partnership - has compiled information on this pending bill.&#0160; Click <a href="http://www.cose.org/en/Advocacy/Issues/Paid%20Sick%20Leave.aspx">HERE</a>.</p>
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Labor "Outhustled" on Card Check

ACCE Webmaster on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 7:19:00 pm 

Today the Los Angeles Times ran the following headline: Labor unions find themselves card-checkmated.  The article details how the business community has united around the Card Check issue and effectively engaged grassroots opposition.

Click HERE for the full article.  Here are some select excerpts:

"When it came to key senators, business interests outmuscled labor.  Lincoln, for example, reported overwhelmingly more calls and letters from business interests and their supporters than from the union side. And thanks to "airlift" programs run by the Chamber of Commerce and allied groups, some key senators received far more personal visits in Washington from card-check opponents than from supporters."


"We were outspent, outhustled and outorganized," said one chagrined union advisor who was not authorized to speak by name.

"The legislation is severely challenged," said John Wilhelm, hospitality president of Unite Here -- the textile, hotel and culinary workers' union. "The unified business community has been so strident about the issue, they have effectively achieved solidarity among Republican senators."

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Obama Talks Card Check

ACCE Webmaster on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 8:21:00 pm 

President Obama brought up the Card Check issue at at town hall meeting in New Mexico this week.  His comments echo reports coming from Washington DC over the past few weeks; namely that Card Check supports currently lack votes in the Senate, but that a compromise is in the works.

Here is an excerpt from Bloomberg.com:

“There may be areas of compromise to get this bill done,†Obama said today at a town hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “That’s what we’re working on.â€

Right now, he said, “there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to get it passed.â€

In his remarks, President Obama voiced his support for the Employee Free Choice Act.

LaborPains.org, a joint blog of the Center for Union Facts and the Employee Freedom Action Committee, includes links to video clips from the town hall meeting.  Click HERE to connect to that blog post.

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State Contract Preference Critique

ACCE Webmaster on Friday, May 15, 2009 at 12:20:39 am 

Local vendor preference ordinances are controversial for chambers.  On one hand, who doesn't want local companies to benefit from government contracting.  On the other hand, a local preference clause in your city, county or state may cause retaliatory government contract provisions when your local companies bid on projects in other cities or states.

Also, it is not always easy to determine which companies are, in fact, local.  Is the engineering firm headquartered in your city that employees 15 people any more "local" than the firm headquartered out of state that has employees 50?

The Detroit News took a different line of questioning.  They published an editorial with a taxpayer-focused critique of state preference legislation pending in Michigan.  Here is an excerpt:

"Michigan lawmakers have been busily working on packages of bills with titles like "Hire Michigan First" and "Buy Michigan First." Unfortunately, the well-meaning legislation involves trade-offs that don't necessarily benefit taxpayers and seem unlikely to have much of an impact on jobs...

Lawmakers say about $13.6 billion of the state's $16 billion in annual contracts go to Michigan businesses -- or about 85 percent. They want to improve that, so one part of the bill package gives Michigan businesses a 10 percent advantage over out-of-state businesses in competing for state contracts. In other words, an in-state firm could bid $1.07 million to print a batch of state park brochures and be considered a lower bidder than a company from another state or country that bid an even $1 million.

The whole purpose of competitive bidding is to restrain government expenses, which, in turn, holds down taxes. The ultimate cost to provide the above example's $700,000 home-field advantage would be borne by taxpayers. Don't they deserve a break?"

Their math is wrong, the scenario they laid out would cost taxpayers an additional $70k not $700k, but the premise holds up.

To read the full editorial, click HERE.

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Together for Recovery

ACCE Webmaster on Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 4:59:23 pm 

The US Chamber's Business Civic Leadership Center has launched TogetherForRecovery.org, a website described as a "one-stop-shop for information and guidance regarding economic recovery." 

In addition to information about the stimulus package and federal funding opportunities from various departments, the site also highlights dozens of ways the business community is helping lead economic recovery.  Examples include Bank of America's program to assist multicultural homeowners facing foreclosure and McDonald's and Visa's cooperation to launch the country's largest employer-based financial literacy program - the McDonald's Practical Money Skills Program.

The site also helps individuals and corporate citizens find ways to get involved through partnerships with other non-profit organizations and community groups.

Check out TogetherForRecovery.org and contact the US Chamber if you are interested in hosting a recovery related community program in your region.

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