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Community Advocacy

THE SYCAMORE CHAMBER’S ECONOMIC POSITION STATEMENT

The Sycamore Chamber of Commerce believes that for Sycamore to continue its momentum of progress and sustained economic vitality, it is essential to our business community as well as our entire community that the City Council continues to implement and follow the proposed Comprehensive Plan. This Plan provides healthy residential growth, allowing necessary business expansion in our community.

The Sycamore Chamber will continue to be an active partner offering input in the information gathering and decision making process on how Sycamore should zone and plan the use of the land within our borders to increase local business revenues and enhance our local tax base.

The Sycamore Chamber will continue collaborating with all economic development entities to encourage and foster aggressive business growth that is essential for a healthy and vibrant Sycamore area community.

PRINCIPLES IN SUPPORT OF THIS STATEMENT

  • By encouraging businesses to locate and thrive in our community, we strengthen the area’s economy, ensure diversified career opportunities, and increase the tax base for funding services.
  • Recognizing that a healthy business environment requires efficient and responsive governmental system, we encourage cooperation and consolidation, to reduce costs, delays and uncertainties in permitting, approvals, inspections and licensing.
  • The business community should not be disproportionately burdened with taxes, fees, assessments or licensing requirements.
  • The impact on local business should be considered when making land use decisions, and ensure such decisions are appropriate to location and are in keeping with the parallel goal of ensuring sustainable business growth and economic vitality.

HEALTHCARE ADVOCACY

The mission of the Healthcare Committee is to develop and take actions to achieve affordable, accessible, efficient, high quality healthcare for the employers and residents of the Sycamore area. The Committee represents Chamber Member employers in seeking market-based approaches to help them provide affordable, quality healthcare coverage for their employees and works closely with providers to help strengthen our healthcare system.

The Healthcare Committee is excited to report that we completed our Wellness Screening and have received our Summary Report. This report is available to members who participated in the screening that was held in April.

Our partnership with our member, Wellness Inc., was a success and the committee is currently working on future screening dates.

Join fellow Chamber Members in continuing the progress toward lowering healthcare costs for businesses in our community. Contact rtreml@sycamorechamber.com to see how you can get involved.

UPDATE

A Closer Look at the Employer Mandate: How Much Could It Cost Your Business?
As Congress weighs its options for reform over the next month, it is important for employers to know what the proposals will and will not mean for their bottom line. According to a recent poll, over 70% of employers fear that costs could actually increase in the wake of healthcare reform.

The legislation that currently lies in both the U.S. House and Senate propose an employer mandate as a way to reduce the ranks of the uninsured while representing smaller employers with a supposedly cheaper alternative to purchasing coverage on their own. The reality of the employer mandate, however, is that it will most likely generate a higher price tag than advertised.

As employers evaluate the tax implications of a new employer mandate, several factors should also be considered:

  • The new assessment tax is in addition to all other taxes paid by the employer and no credits are given against other taxes.
  • Employers currently providing healthcare coverage receive a tax deduction that lowers overall tax liabilities.
  • Employers choosing to pay the new payroll tax will not realize the same dollar value from the tax as those employers who currently provide coverage and receive a tax deduction for those expenses.

The employer mandate not only threatens to increase costs on employers, it also poses problematic to the nation’s ability to create jobs and spur economic growth. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, a new employer mandate could result in the loss of 1.6 million jobs, with over a million of those jobs lost in businesses that employ fewer than 500 employees. Furthermore, the mandate could force employers who rely on temporary or seasonal workers to keep their payrolls lower in order to decrease their tax liability, which translates into fewer available jobs.

Overall, the Illinois Chamber believes the employer mandate is a counterproductive approach to reforming the healthcare system. Employers already voluntarily provide coverage for over 170 million employees because it is an efficient way to provide benefits and allows companies to attract and retain a talented workforce. Healthcare costs, however, have increasingly crippled employers’ ability to maintain robust benefit packages and have also prevented more employers from taking advantage of this asset. The key to successful reform is fixing the problems in the market that have inflated these costs and prevented employers, particularly smaller employers, from voluntarily providing their own coverage.

NEW STUDY LOOKS AT THE COSTS OF INACTION

When lawmakers returned to D.C. earlier this month, they were greeted by a President who renewed his calls for significant healthcare reform, declaring that the “status quo as a solution” is not acceptable. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Employers for Quality Health Care and the entire employer community at large have long maintained that the increasing health costs borne under the status quo threaten the long-term sustainability of employer-sponsored healthcare coverage and the healthcare system as a whole.

The new Hewitt Associates study, commissioned by the Business Roundtable, estimates that if nothing is done to curb healthcare costs, healthcare spending will approximately double in the next ten years, reaching $4.4 trillion by 2019. During that same period, employers’ annual healthcare costs will balloon by 166%; a cost that is even more crippling when considered with the $56 billion cost shift onto private payers for uncompensated care. Employers and individuals with private health insurance also pay a hefty price for the government’s inadequate reimbursement rates under Medicare and Medicaid; a cost that currently amounts to approximately $90 billion a year.

While the new Hewitt report confirms that healthcare costs are indeed spiraling out of control, it also underscores the important role the marketplace can play in slowing this alarming cost trend. The recommendations advanced by the study include goals that align with that of the Illinois Chamber’s:

  • Empowering consumers to be better stewards of their own healthcare needs;
  • Aligning financial incentives for providers to quality and outcomes; and
  • Investing in certain innovations, such as health information technology, that could help improve health outcomes while reducing costs.

The study also suggests that Medicare would serve as the best place to test specific delivery system reforms. The federal government is the largest single purchaser of healthcare services in the United States, with spending expected to reach $500 billion this year.

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