Naperville Area News

Date ArticleType
7/20/2015 Current
From Nicki Anderson: Federal Government, Polices, Programs and Problems

IMG_6469Dear Members,

$1.6 trillion per year.  That is the total cost of America’s Entitlement Programs (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) and in 2010, an estimated 49% of households received benefits from these programs or other federal and state government assistance. 

This month the Legislative Committee discussed the federal landscape of policies, programs and problems with Ben Taylor, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Region of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  During a lively discussion about funding for transportation, tax restructuring, marketplace fairness act and other issues, Chamber Members heard the importance of getting involved for a better business regulatory environment.  Here are a few of the highlights of our conversation and if you would like more information let us know.

In 10 years’ time, the total price for our entitlement programs will soar to an astounding $3 trillion a year and during the next 17 years, 77 million workers will retire – that’s 10,000 people a day. With Social Security and Medicare not structured today to meet the demands of tomorrow, it leaves little left over to provide for defense, infrastructure, education, science and research, and other investments needed for the future prosperity of our country.

As we transitioned to the topic of transportation, the discussion was livelier than most.  Taylor started the conversation by discussing the importance of increasing the Federal Highway Trust Fund and a primary vehicle for revenue would be an increased gas tax.  This discussion is a clear and excellent example of why it is important to understand both the federal and state impacts of regulatory affairs.  While an increase in the gas tax is not without merits, in Illinois we currently have no budget (balanced or otherwise), recently sunsetted the income tax increase and local municipal sales tax (increases or creations) are popping up all over the state. It seems to me, every layer of governments’ answer to a budget is new across the board revenue instead of reducing spending.  In business, when our budgets don’t balance, we have to cut the expenses.

The most briefly discussed topic, yet vital for small and midsize businesses understanding, is the Department of Labor’s proposed overtime rule.  In sum, the rule which could take effect in 2016, states a worker qualifies for overtime pay if his or her wages for 40 hours of work per week fall below a $50,440 threshold – more than double the existing threshold.  These added costs would mean fewer opportunities for growth and could even result in a curb on hiring.  Employees – those who the rule purports to “help” – may gain overtime eligibility, but they are likely to lose hours, health care and retirement benefits and in all likelihood will not have the entitlement programs to today for their retirements tomorrow.

The Naperville Area Chamber dedicates resources to help you navigate the regulatory environments impacting your business. Missioned to drive economic growth, let us advocate for you by telling us what regulations are obstacles to your businesses growth. 
Nicki Anderson
President & CEO
Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce
D: (630) 544-3382

Chairman's Circle and President's Circle Members