Chicagoland Chamber Unveils 2024 Legislative Agenda; Workforce, Innovation, and Business Climate Among Focus

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce serves as a boardroom-brand for businesses throughout Illinois, working to create an environment where businesses can thrive. The Chicago Chamber’s 2024 Legislative Agenda attempts to underscore their commitment to Illinois businesses. It presents a comprehensive set of policy recommendations crafted to bolster Illinois’ competitive edge on the national and global stage.

This legislative agenda recognizes that in a world defined by relentless economic competition, a state’s success hinges on its ability to foster a skilled workforce, sharpen innovation, and cultivate a friendly business climate. The initiatives the Chamber outlines will attempt to empower Illinois businesses to attract top talent, lead in cutting-edge industries, and contribute to vibrant communities across the state.

Key Legislative Priorities

  • Workforce Development and Opportunity

The Chamber believes in creating pathways to economic success for all Illinois residents. This includes supporting the modernization and expansion of the Illinois Returning Citizen Tax Credit (SB 3789, Sen. Martwick/HB 4871, Rep. Davis). The Chamber believe this program can play a transformative role in reducing recidivism and helping formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate into the workforce. Additionally, prioritizing investments in pre-apprenticeship programs and the 21st Century Employment Grant (SB 3803, Sen. Omar Aquino/HB 5158, Rep. Nabeela Syed) will provide youth and workers with the tools they need to excel in rapidly growing sectors of the economy.

  • Fostering Innovation

Illinois boasts a strong foundation in emerging technologies like quantum computing. The Chamber’s agenda calls for decisive action to turn this potential into lasting dominance. Expanding the state’s R&D tax credit (SB 3474, Sen. Sims/HB 4766, Rep. Walker) will incentivize businesses to make bold investments in quantum research. Furthermore, dedicating capital appropriations towards the development of specialized quantum facilities (HB 5565, Rep. Walker) will create hubs where groundbreaking discoveries can flourish.

  • Revitalizing Commercial Corridors

To grow and strengthen the State’s economy, Illinois communities of all sizes must bustle with economic activity. In attempting to make vision a reality, the Chamber proposes a new tax credit (SB 3576, Sen. Hunter/HB 4790, Rep. DuBuclet) aimed at spurring the conversion of underutilized commercial buildings into modern residential, retail, or mixed-use properties. In conjunction with project labor agreements and green building standards, the idea is to inject new life into urban and suburban centers.

  • Tax Policy and Business Climate

A competitive business environment demands a tax system that is both fair and predictable. The Chamber believes that an independent and comprehensive study of Illinois’ property tax framework (SB 3455, Sen. Martwick/HB 5460, Rep. Canty) is essential. This analysis will provide critical insights on how to reform the system, making Illinois a more attractive destination for businesses of all sizes.

  • Clean Energy & Sustainability

In Illinois, environmental responsibility and economic growth generally don’t proceed on their own paths, they are inextricably tied. The Chamber support policies that accelerate Illinois’ transition to a clean energy future, such as refinements to the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) Self-Direct Program (SB 3500, Sen. Holmes/HB 4859, Rep. Delgado). Additionally, launching an offshore wind pilot program (SB 193, Sen. Peters/HB 2132, Rep. Evans) and establishing a clear regulatory framework for carbon capture and storage (SB 2153, Sen. Cunningham/HB2202, Rep. Hoffman) will create green jobs and position Illinois as a leader in sustainable energy solutions.

The 2024 Agenda’s Outlook

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s 2024 agenda faces approaching hurdles, for sure. With key bills stalled in committee and the legislative deadline looming, it’s unclear which agenda items will survive. The Chamber’s evolving strategy, potentially more collaborative than in the past, could signal a turning point. This collaborative spirit could be crucial in pushing their agenda forward and reasserting the Chamber’s influence in Illinois politics.

Note: For the press release announcing the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s 2024 Legislative Agenda, click here.

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