This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) "News and Views" e-newsletter includes information about the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform Fiscal Year 2021 Reconciliation Act proposal that includes funding for states and local governments, spotlights introduced legislation of interest to counties, provides an update about the Governor's upcoming budget address, links to ISACo's 2021 state legislative agenda, announces the identification of the first case of the B.1.351 COVID-19 variant in Illinois, discusses the addition of more than 300 new COVID-19 vaccination sites and the expansion of COVID-19 vaccination eligibility within Phase 1B, reports on the deployment of disaster survivor assistance teams to support COVID-19 vaccination sites across Illinois, includes information on upcoming National Association of Counties (NACo) webinar events and highlights ISACo's corporate partner Nationwide.
Federal 2021 Reconciliation Act Proposes COVID-19 Funding for States and Local Governments - Action Requested!!!
The U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight released a summary of provisions that would create new funding for states and localities combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty percent of the funds would go to States and 40% to localities. Local governments of every size would receive dedicated allotments. Funds would be available until expended, awarded directly from Treasury within 60 days of enactment and subject to eligible uses including to replace revenues lost, delayed or decreased as a result of the pandemic. It is estimated that the plan would make $7.549 billion available to the State of Illinois and $5.684 billion available to Illinois local governments.
The National Association of Counties released projections about how much each county would receive should the funding be approved at current levels. Here is a link to a document with estimates about how much each Illinois county would receive. All projections are subject to change.
This funding, along with other parts of the broader $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, will be considered in the U.S. House of Representatives during the week of February 15. The U.S. Senate is expected to begin deliberations on its version of COVID relief aid in the coming days. Once, and if, both chambers have completed their respective work, they will meet to reconcile differences before sending a final bill to the president's desk for his signature.
ISACo sent a letter to the Illinois Congressional delegation in support of the funding proposed for states and localities within the Fiscal Year 2021 Reconciliation Act. We ask that county officials contact their members of Congress and convey that these funds are critical to assist counties emerging from the fiscal challenges created by the pandemic emergency response.
County Legislation Spotlight
ISACo will frequently highlight legislation of interest to counties. This week's highlighted bills are below. In some cases ISACo has a position. In other cases, ISACo does not have a position or the position has not yet been determined. ISACo positions on legislation are informed by our County Platform and member input.
HB 6 - Reduction to Sales Tax Administrative Fee Retained by State on Local Taxes (Support)
HB 412 - Inapplicability of GATA to State-Shared Local Revenues (Support)
SB 96 - Local Governments Not Liable for Injuries Associated with Unauthorized Data Breaches (Support)
HB 22 - Prohibition of Non-Disclosure Agreements for Tax Incentives (Opposed)
SB 178 - Prohibition on Withholding Retainage from Contractors (Opposed)
HB 162 - Creates Decennial Committees on Local Government Consolidation and Efficiency Act (Under Review)
Governor to Present Virtual Budget Address on Wednesday
Governor JB Pritzker will present his annual budget address at noon on Wednesday, February 17. Confronting a $3 billion budget deficit, the Governor will decline to request a tax increase and will propose a State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2022 budget that holds state spending at SFY 2021 levels.
Early indications are that the Governor will propose a continuation of $700 million in state government cuts administered during the current budget, closure of $900 million in unspecified corporate tax loopholes, moving cigarette tax revenues to the State's General Revenue Fund (GRF) and holding state spending flat for K-12 education while counting on federal dollars to provide additional funding for education during the next budget year.
ISACo will monitor the budget address to ascertain the details, particularly those that would affect counties.
ISACo's 2021 State Legislative Agenda
ISACo's 2021 Illinois County Action Program (ICAP) was approved by the Board of Directors in December 2020. These are proposals for which ISACo will actively seek sponsorship and passage. There will be dozens of other introduced bills affecting counties that ISACo will either seek to pass, defeat or amend during the 2021 spring legislative session. The 2021 ICAP is available via this link.
If your county is working with a contract lobbyist or area legislators in support of a bill that will benefit your county, please contact Executive Director Joe McCoy at email@example.com so we can assist your efforts!
COVID-19 Mitigation Update
First Case of B.1.351 COVID-19 Variant in Illinois
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant B.1.351, which was first identified in South Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the variant in a Rock Island Resident. Illinois is currently reporting 22 cases of the B.1.17 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom. More information is available via this link.
Pritzker Administration Deploys Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams Across Illinois
The Pritzker administration announced the State is deploying three Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams throughout the state to serve as community outreach specialists at county-run COVID-19 vaccination sites. These teams are federal resources requested by the State of Illinois.
Given the current COVID environment, DSA teams will be deployed to assist local health departments serving underserved communities and vulnerable populations.
The first DSA team was deployed to St. Clair County. The team will be used to support the county's call center operations to help individuals make vaccination appointments. The team will also work with various organizations throughout the community to contact seniors and other eligible populations about the availability of the vaccine.
The two remaining teams will be assigned to assist the Cook County Department of Public Health. These teams will be used as community ambassadors stationed at health centers to assist patients with scheduling first and second appointments.
Additional information is available via this link.
More than 300 New COVID-19 Vaccination Locations Added
The number of COVID-19 vaccination locations across Illinois continues to increase. Since February 10, more than 340 new retail pharmacy locations have been added to the list of COVID-19 vaccination sites open to the public through the state's partnership with Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, Kroger, Mariano’s, Meijer, Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies to provide COVID-19 vaccinations.
Additional information about the new locations added is available via this link. There are now more than 850 vaccination locations in Illinois open to the public.
In light of a steadily increasing federal vaccine supply, Illinois is making plans to expand Phase 1B eligibility on February 25 to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions as defined by the CDC. In addition, Illinois will prioritize individuals with disabilities. Vaccinations are available only by appointment at this time and people are encouraged to check back frequently for open appointments. Individuals should be signing up for an appointment to receive their second dose while they are getting their first vaccination.
A full list of the new COVID-19 vaccination locations is available via this link.
Additional information about the expansion of Phase 1B eligibility is available via this link.
For information on how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, updates on the state’s plan and individual eligibility and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, go to coronavirus.illinois.gov.
Upcoming NACo Webinars
The National Association of Counties (NACo) has announced the following upcoming webinar opportunities:
Follow the Data on the Pathway to Recovery
(Thursday, February 18, 2021, from 12pm-1pm CST)
Nationally recognized Treasurer Scott German of Genesee County, N.Y. will discuss how he maximized the value of Genesee County's cash through liquidity data and treasury service monitoring. With the help from cashVest® by three+one®, over the past 4 years, Treasurer German has leveraged technology and followed data findings in order to shift strategies and navigate various economic cycles resulting in a cumulative benefit of over $3 million dollars to his taxpayers. Genesee County maintains a population of 57,280 and an annual budget of $144 million.
- How to ensure every tax dollar is being maximized.
- Know what peer benchmark rates are and how to outperform them in any marketplace.
- How to optimize short-term and long-term cash performance.
- Understand how new banking technologies can streamline cash management.
- See the impact of harnessing cash flow projections, liquidity data and treasury services data.
Click on this link to register for this webinar.
NACo National Membership Call
(Thursday, February 18, from 1pm-1:30pm CST)
Click on this link to register for this event.
NACo & CVS Sponsored COVID-19 Testing Solution: Return Ready
(Thursday, February 25, 2021, from 1pm-2pm CST)
The National Association of Counties (NACo) and CVS Health are proud to introduce a new cutting edge COVID-19 testing solution for local government employers and employees called Return Ready. Return Ready is designed to get county employees back to work with a new level of safety, help manage the spread of the virus and provide detailed testing metrics.
Click on this link to register for this webinar.
Corporate Partner Spotlight
This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with Nationwide.
Over the past 85 years, focusing on customers and valuing people have helped nationwide become one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world.
Even though Nationwide has dozens of affiliated companies, people are its biggest resource – and its greatest asset in providing excellent customer service to its customers. That's why its Supply Management Services group makes sure agents and associates get the best quality products and services, at the best possible cost. It's also why Nationwide has an Office of Customer Advocacy.
More information about the services provided by Nationwide is available via this link.
Click on this link to learn more about the benefits and opportunities available through ISACo's Corporate Partner Program.