From State Rep. Dan Ugaste:
News from State Representative Dan Ugaste
Last Friday we entered Phase 4 of reopening our state. I want you to know that my office will remain a resource to you as we now enter this phase and begin the new challenge of economic recovery.
Heading into the start of a new fiscal year today, July 1st, this newsletter contains several important updates for you:
Illinois unemployment insurance (UI) program to borrow from federal government. The UI program, facing insolvency, has applied for permission to borrow $6.4 billion. Acting under Title XII of the Social Security Act, the federal government has announced its readiness to loan a sum up to this amount to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). This massive cash infusion will allow Illinois unemployment benefits, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) aid, to continue to be paid to eligible Illinoisans. Illinois is one of eleven states that had received authorization, as of Tuesday, June 23, to borrow money from the federal government to support their unemployment insurance programs.
Four of these states, including California, New York, and Texas, have already begun to draw on the moneys authorized. Illinois will soon have to draw on this money, too. The moneys authorized and, in many cases, drawn down are being paid out in accordance with underlying COVID-19 pandemic unemployment patterns, which are hitting high-population-density and urbanized states first. While more rural states such as Iowa are also being hard hit by COVID-19, the pandemic is not affecting their economies and overall job pictures as much as the pain inflicted on relatively urbanized states such as California, Illinois, and New York.
Many employers can get their PPP loans forgiven if they call back their employees. The good news applies to employers who have applied for, and received, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) temporary loans from the federal government. Congress created the PPP loan program during the opening weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide “bridge” financing for employers facing cash-flow situations. PPP financing terms include clauses intended to create an incentive for the employer to maintain an employer-employee relationship with persons who have been laid off due to the pandemic.
Under certain circumstances, if an employer fulfills the contractual conditions created under the PPP loan document and calls back its employees, the employer will enjoy PPP loan forgiveness. If this forgiveness is granted, the PPP funds transfer, or part of it, stops being a loan and becomes a forgiven loan – in effect, a grant – paid to the employer as a reward for maintaining the employer-employee relationship during tough times and calling back the employee for further service.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR), the State agency that oversees financial institutions and loan activity, has developed two new webinars to walk Illinois lending institutions and PPP borrowers through the new loan-forgiveness process.
Urgent need for Illinois blood donations. The near-end of conventional bloodmobile collections has now run into a sharp upturn in conventional medical procedures throughout Illinois clinics and hospitals, including procedures that require blood and blood products. Illinois has moved through several stages of its COVID-19 reopening process, and as of late June a wide variety of health procedures are being performed under the conditions recommended by board-certified physicians, including open-heart surgeries and other blood-dependent procedures.
Based on current supply and demand numbers, the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers reported “a critical shortage of blood” in Illinois this week. Three-fifths of the blood conventionally supplied to blood centers by donation is, under usual circumstances, collected through the off-site blood drives that are currently shut down through much of the state. Only a trickle remains to service what is becoming a fully reopened pathway of demand from health care providers statewide.
Blood collection centers welcome donors. They are keeping their premises carefully cleaned and sanitized, and all donors are kept at safe social distances from each other. Some off-site blood donation locations are beginning to open. You can contact your local blood centers for opportunities to donate. In addition, I am in the process of coordinating a blood drive in the 65th District. I will let you know more information in the coming weeks as we finalize the details!
Report puts numbers behind Illinois’ high property taxes. The study, but the nonpartisan Center for State Tax Policy, is based upon publicly available tax rates and other data collected in all 50 U.S. states.
The Center found that when the 50 states and their local governments are ranked in terms of their institutional dependency upon revenue from property tax bills, Illinois is 11th highest of the 50 states.
In terms of property taxes per capita, a relatively efficient measurement of the actual burden exerted by property taxes upon individual Illinoisans and their families, Illinois “scored” 8th of 50.
The numbers compiled by the Center for State Tax Policy are especially noteworthy when compared to two other “high-scoring” states with comparatively heavy property tax burdens, Alaska (property tax burden: 2nd of 50 states) and New Hampshire (#1 of 50).
These are two states that do not deduct state income taxes from paychecks, and they must make up the lost income in other ways.
By contrast, Illinois has a burdensome State income tax.
With a higher-than-average property tax burden, one of the highest-in-the-nation sales tax rates, and a personal/corporate income tax, Illinois’s cumulative tax burden is one of the highest such burdens among the 50 states.