March 2017 – The Sycamore Chamber took an official stance opposing the House Bill 2749 which amends the Minimum Wage Law. It provides that the overtime requirements of the Law do not apply to an employee in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity as defined by or covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 but compensated at a salary greater than $47,476 per year or the weekly/monthly portion thereof or a greater salary as may be adopted by USDOL. Provides that the amount shall increase annually by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index. Effective Immediately.
Along with the Illinois Chamber we oppose this bill for the following reasons:
- The proposed change to the salary level has a disproportionate adverse effect on employers located in lower-wage areas and harms the career growth of mid-level employees—the difference in the cost of living between Chicago, Springfield, and other cities directly impacts an employee’s wages. While $47,476 may be an average administrative salary in Chicago, a salary around $35,000 in Springfield may be the average.
- Few employers have the budget flexibility to increase the wages paid to employees under the proposed increase in the minimum salary level. Many employers will have to choose among the three unpalatable options:
- The employer will need to lay off employees to fund the increase in wages for retained employees. This will necessitate curtailing aspects of their operations and/or increasing the workload of the remaining exempt workforce.
- In order to maintain payroll budgets, employers will need to lower the hourly wages of non-exempt employees to remain at the prior year’s level. This will have a negative impact on employee morale, and place smaller employers at a disadvantage in competing with larger employers for qualified candidates
- The employer will need to adopt a firm restriction on the overtime hours worked by non-exempt employees, relying on temporary or part-time staff for additional personnel resources at straight-time rates, or forcing exempt employees to absorb some of their non-exempt colleagues’ duties.
- The growing opportunity for more flexible work hours such as allowing employees to work from home given cellphones, tablets, internet connections, etc. will be turned upside down, and employers will be required to vigorously regulate and oversee their employee’s business use of such devices away from the workplace. Employees enjoying such flexibility may see it eliminated or dramatically curtailed.
We respectfully urge a NO vote.
March 2017 – We held a Candidates Night for the community to hear from the three Mayoral Candidates. Over 200 attended. We accepted questions from the audience and from our membership prior to that evening. Also gave other county and municipal candidates and opportunity to meet and greet with those in attendance.
May 2016 – The Sycamore Chamber took an official stance opposing the County School Facility Occupation Tax. The DeKalb School District and four other districts in DeKalb County are pursuing a 1 percent sales tax increase in the form of a County School Facility Occupation Tax. The Chamber feels strongly that this would have an adverse affect on our local economy. Position Statement in Opposition to County School Facility Occupation Tax 2016
May 2016 – The Sycamore Chamber wrote a letter supporting the Sycamore Park District’s Grant Application to the Illinois Department of Transportation for their Trail Project. Park District Letter of Support 2016
March 2016 – Committee met and discussed the one percent sales tax increase, a County School Facility Occupation Tax, that the DeKalb School District is likely going to pursue. Also attended an informational meeting hosted by the DeKalb School District regarding the issue. Those in attendance heard a presentation from Ann Noble with Stifel Nicolaus Financial Consulting and it was followed by a question and answer session. It was determined that an additional meeting had to be scheduled to clarify the exact net dollar amount that this tax would produce.
February 2016 – Committee met with DeKalb County Building & Development Association Representatives and the Sycamore City Manager, Brian Gregory to discuss and review Sycamore’s Impact and Connection Fees. It was determined that there was no need for the Chamber to take a position at this point.
January 2016 – Participated in a planning workshop with the Sycamore City Council and Planning Commission to discuss the annexation and rezoning of the Northwest Sub Area Plan and the corresponding regulations outlined in the Unified Development Ordinance.
August 2015 – Appointed to Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee on Growth Management. Discussions focused on Connection Fees, Land Cash Ordinances and Impact Fees.
April 2015 – Participated in discussions facilitated by Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Robert Pritchard, Senator Dave Syverson, and Representative Tom Demmer about government consolidation and unfunded mandates.
The Lt. Governor was appointed to lead a task force under the Governor’s Executive Order 15-15 to find ways for the state to consolidate its more than 7,000 units of local government thereby reducing duplication and mismanagement, and improving operating efficiencies. Illinois has the highest local government taxes in the nation, including the 10th highest sales tax and 2nd highest property taxes.
The state currently imposes more than 280 unfunded mandates at a cost to local communities in the billions of dollars. However, not all mandates are undesirable; for example some can save taxpayers money and improve safety while others provide citizens with information so they can be more engaged in their government.
November 2014 – The Committee met with State Representative Bob Pritchard and Sycamore School District Officials to discuss the DeKalb County School Occupation Sales Tax. Area school superintendents said they have discussed the possibility of a countywide sales tax for school facilities, but say school board members have not shown interest in bringing the measure to voters. We will keep an eye on this issue.
October 2014 – The Committee has with State Representative Bob Pritchard and Sycamore School District Officials to discuss Senate Bill 16 (SB16). This bill will make sweeping changes in how the state funds education. SB16 does not increase the level of education funding, but changes the way in which limited state funding is apportioned among school districts. The Illinois State Board of Education has calculated the amount each school district would receive next year if SB16, as written, becomes law. District 427 would lose $591,803 per year. This loss of state funds is on top of the $3.2 million dollars that our school district has lost over the last four years due to funds being pro-rated. Will meet again in 2015 to discuss a possibly taking a position.
October 2014 – As the voice for our business community and as reinforced by our recent member survey, we oppose raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. We wrote a letter to the Governor and our State Legislators opposing the increase, and asking them to do the same.
Our small businesses cannot afford to have the highest minimum wage in the nation. One of the serious consequences of raising the minimum wage is that our local business owners, saddled with a higher cost of labor, will need to cut costs, or pass the increase to their consumers in order to make ends meet. Many of the businesses that pay their workers minimum wage operate on extremely tight profit margins, with any increase in the cost of labor threatening this delicate balance.
Increases in the minimum wage fall disproportionately on small businesses who are the least able to absorb dramatic increase in labor costs. Business owners are already dealing with the relatively high costs of doing business in Illinois, such as workers’ compensation costs and unemployment insurance costs, and uncertainty about the impact of the Affordable Care Act. There are only so many dollars to go around and this can worsen an already adverse business environment in which employer’s bare costs that are stifling their ability to grow and create jobs.
The Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, representing 500 businesses in DeKalb County urges you to oppose the minimum wage increase. We urge you to vote no, stop the minimum wage hike and show our member businesses that you support a positive environment for business in Illinois.
2014 – September – The Sycamore Chamber encourages voters to study the Park District’s Vision 2020 proposal in order to make an informed and educated decision regarding the vote on November 4.
We sent a letter in support of a healthy Park District to our local media venues and our members.
The Sycamore Chamber believes that a strong park district is not only invaluable to the community but also imperative to the growth and sustainability of a thriving business culture. Therefore, it is in the Chamber’s best interest to inform our members of the park district’s efforts to maintain and expand opportunities for our residents.
On behalf of our almost 500 member businesses, organizations and non-profits we commend the Sycamore Park District’s leadership for their thoughtful and prudent approach addressing expansion needs. We encourage members of the community to educate themselves and view the Park Board video on the Vision 2020 plan. The video is an informative piece on the history of how this measure came to be on the ballot.
2014 – August – Supported DeKalb County Community Foundations Advancing DeKalb County Initiative
2014 – June – Wrote a letter of support for Kishwaukee College for the TriO Student Support Services Program
2013 – On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, representing over 500 businesses from our community, we would like to offer a letter of support for Greater Elgin Family Care Center (GEFCC) New Access Point application to secure HRSA/BPHC funding to develop a Community Health Center in DeKalb County.
2012 – March — The Chamber Executive Director attended a City Council Meeting and spoke on behalf of its 500 plus Businesses. The Chamber supported the City’s plan for the 100 Block of West Exchange Street to be kept open for two way traffic when the Courthouse expansion is complete. It was voted on and passed with a 5 to 3 vote that evening.
2012 – August – Sycamore Chamber sends letter to Governor Pat Quinn requesting him to veto the Leucadia Bill, SB 3766.
At a time when natural gas prices are dropping, this bill would force Nicor Gas and Ameren customers to pay more than triple the current gas rates to cover the construction and operation of a $3 billion “clean coal” plant in Chicago. One analysis found that the measure would slam Illinois consumers and businesses with $2.4 billion in higher rates over the first decade alone.
Our local businesses are constantly being challenged by increased costs, decreasing revenue and the ever present threat of higher state and local taxes. If this bill passes in its current form it will undoubtedly create even more burden for many businesses in the form of higher energy costs. The perception that Illinois State Government has imposed yet another obstacle to our local employers will further inhibit their ability to grow and employ the jobless. This will be difficult to overcome with only the prospect of promised short term construction jobs. Furthermore the known costs and mechanism for subsidy place too great a burden with too few and yet many uncertain benefits, on not just the state’s businesses, but all ratepayers and the citizens of Illinois. We respectfully ask him to evaluate the claims of Leucadia supporters based on the known facts and to weigh their merit. We ask Governor Quinn to show the businesses of Illinois, including our 450 Chamber members, that Illinois supports a positive environment for business.Governor vetos bill!
2011 – October – Sycamore Chamber again opposes Tanaska Bill, SB 2488, and sends letter to Senator Christine Johnson requesting a no vote. Bill defeated in Springfield.
– Chamber opposes Tanaska Bill, sends letter to Senator Brad Burzinski requesting a no vote. Bill defeated in Springfield!
2011- The Chamber opposes the 1/2 % home rule tax increase proposed by Sycamore City Council.
2011 – Healthy Families Act – Requires certain employers, who employ 15 or more employees for each working day during 20 or more workweeks a year, to provide a minimum paid sick leave of: (1) seven days annually for those who work at least 30 hours per week; and (2) a prorated annual amount for those who work less than 30 but at least 20 hours a week, or less than 1,500 but at least 1,000 hours per year.
2011 – HEALTHCARE ADVOCACY COMMITTEE CREATED
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.