The GOA Government Affairs Team monitors and advocates for pro business legislation on a State and National level to help ensure an atmosphere in which business can thrive.
2013 Legislative Platform
The GOA supports the enhancement of funding for transportation investment programs to address the backlog of highways, major arterials, bridges and unmarked state routes currently in dire need of rehabilitation; and strategic improvement to increase capacity to address existing congestion and support the suburb-to-suburb and reverse commute from Chicago traffic patterns. The following strategic expansion is supported: Illinois Route #53/Illinois Route 120 Bypass.
The GOA wants legislators to strengthen the local economy by addressing deficit spending and restore its fiscal integrity on all levels; and seek only the passage of county and state budgets that identify fair and equitable funding sources, with fiscal restraint and a long term, equitable revenue strategy. Lawmakers should resist the temptation to add or fund programs, which will cause additional strain on overloaded budgets.
The state must reform its five retirement systems, as well as police and fire pensions, to achieve financial stability for Illinois. Tax increases are a short term band aid and have not produced an actual solution to our budget problems. The General Assembly must enact additional pension reform to fix our annual budget deficits. Ultimately, the issues raised above tend to lean towards a defined contribution plan.
Health Care/Hospitals Tax Exempt Status
There are countless benefits and services that local hospitals provide our communities — world-class healthcare; over 157,000 good-paying jobs; and more than $3.5 billion in charitable community benefits.
That last point — charitable community benefits — is key to supporting our communities, and is why our local nonprofit hospitals are recognized as tax-exempt organizations.
The charitable benefits provided by local hospitals to our communities include:
- Caring for the growing number of uninsured and underinsured patients;
- Subsidizing the cost of care to seniors and low-income individuals;
- Bringing needed health care services into the community; and,
- Educating tomorrow's nurses and physicians.
In all, our local hospitals provided more than $3.5 billion in such charitable community benefits in 2009 alone. Unfortunately, some politicians in Springfield are considering jeopardizing these benefits by taking away the tax-exempt status of local, nonprofit hospitals. Make no mistake: Doing so would amount to a tax hike on these vital organizations — and threaten the quality healthcare, jobs, and charitable benefits they provide. The GOA GAT opposes any legislation that would remove the tax-exempt status from non-profit hospitals.
In addition the GOA opposes universal mandates to employee coverage and opposes any legislation that would increase costs to the business owner. We urge legislators to seek incentives to maintain the high quality of physicians at regional healthcare facilities. We support legislation that addresses the increasing fees for the medical liability/malpractice reimbursement insurance by providing some caps as has been done in neighboring states.
We support and promote an education system that produces and sustains a qualified workforce that maintains high expectations, standards and accountability.
Recognizing that a high quality workforce contributes to the economic development and strength of our community, the GOA Regional Business Association proactively supports an accountable and competent education system that produces and sustains a workforce capable of adapting to the changing labor market.
Further, the GOA supports improved education and training in manufacturing and technology, because these jobs are in high demand by our state's employers, due to the fact that our state is very weak in education and training
Labor/Workers Compensation Reform
The GOA Regional Business Association opposes the increase of the minimum wage beyond the federal level.
With regards to Workers Compensation GOA Regional Business Association recommends specifically, that Illinois must address the following:
- When determining eligibility for benefits, require the workplace to be the “primary”(i.e. 51%) cause of the injury instead of just a “contributing” factor in order for the employer to be liable.
- Allow credit for preexisting conditions and limit permanent partial disability to 100% compensation.
- Allow reopening of wage differential cases for changes in economic circumstances, provide credit for previous wage differential claims and cap benefits to retirement age instead of lifetime.
Repeal all new business taxes since 2010 and rollback business fees. Legislators should be encouraging businesses to locate and remain here.