Local Priorities

Policy Update Regarding Red Light Camera Installation at Route 83 and 22nd Street

The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce is deeply concerned about and opposed to the City of Oakbrook Terrace’s planned installation of red light cameras at Route 83 and 22nd Street. As such, the Chamber has been working diligently to delay and prevent installation of the cameras.

 Part of this work has involved collecting as much traffic data for this intersection as possible to ensure that we understand the City’s and IDOT’s safety rationale for these cameras. The City of Oakbrook Terrace has shared with us their primary concern that focuses on specific data showing approximately 365 violations (not accidents) out of as what is estimated to be as many as 100,000 driver counts at this intersection. Apparently the City fears that these violations, without intervention, will lead to life-threatening accidents. We believe the City’s data actually reinforces data showing that this intersection is one of the safest in the region. We have also learned from current, reliable studies on red light cameras that there are much more effective ways than red light cameras to reduce potentially life-threatening violations like these at intersections similar to the one at Route 83 and 22nd Street.

We believe that these cameras may actually increase accidents at this intersection. Accident data for this intersection shows that while the number of total accidents for left turns at this intersection exceeds (barely) the minimum Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) requirements for red light camera approval, over eighty percent of these accidents are rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions are most often caused by yellow light intervals that are too short. Based on our data review, these collisions are likely attributable to the unusually short yellow warning light at this intersection. We have learned that in Chicago yellow light intervals at same speed intersections would last four seconds. The yellow light at this intersection doesn’t even last a full three seconds. In fact, since rear-end collisions are strongly associated with red light cameras, there is a good chance that installing red light cameras at this intersection will actually increase accidents here. In addition to the likely increase in rear-end collisions and injuries, we believe these cameras will also add to driver frustration and diminish visitor experience, possibly having a negative impact on our local commerce and workforce.

While we understand that the City of Oakbrook Terrace has received IDOT’s approval for installing red light cameras, we have urged the City to cease any red light camera installation until IDOT improves its research and knowledge related to the impact of red light cameras on safety. We believe that IDOT’s red light camera standards must begin addressing where and under what circumstances, if any, these cameras would actually work to improve safety. Each intersection reviewed should be analyzed in a comprehensive way, not by using only one set of safety data points that could be linked to multiple causes. And as opposed to specifically focusing on the number of violations that are occurring, IDOT must begin considering the different types of accidents that are occurring at these intersections, the role of yellow and green light timing in reducing turn lane accidents, and the actual previous safety results of red light cameras at similar intersections.

The Chamber has shared all of this information with the City of Oakbrook Terrace and, again, we have urged the City not to install these red light cameras. We believe these cameras will not improve safety at this intersection and will likely make the intersection less safe. We will continue to communicate our concerns to the City. We will also urge IDOT and the Governor’s office to halt camera installation and instead consider increased yellow light timing and other non-red light camera interventions, if needed, that will actually promote safety. If the cameras are installed, the Chamber will collect and openly review with the Village and the public all the safety data going forward for this intersection to reveal if safety has actually improved or worsened. In addition, we will measure and address the impact of these cameras on driver behavior, visitor experience, and local commerce and workforce. If the cameras are installed, we strongly believe this data will show that the cameras have had a negative impact on safety, as well as on other areas of concern, and we will push for camera removal.

We will continue our efforts to prevent or ultimately remove red light cameras at this intersection and we will keep you informed about the status of these efforts. As we go forward, we would welcome the entire Village Board to work supportively with the Chamber and businesses as we carry out this work.

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Policy Update Regarding a Proposed Oak Brook Business Registration Program

The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce (OBCC) and Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership (EDP) strongly oppose a business registration program in Oak Brook, for the following reasons:

  1. Unnecessary increased expense of doing business. This is an expensive and unnecessary program that would place an operational and financial burden on businesses and the Village of Oak Brook.
  2. Negative impact on business climate. As such, this program would have a significant negative impact on Oak Brook’s business climate.
  3. Impairs business development and retention efforts. This program will also impair Oak Brook’s ability to attract and retain companies.

Voices in support of business registration argue that the fire department needs more information in order to conduct inspections. However, we are not aware of a compelling reason to ramp up fire inspections in Oak Brook, nor do we believe that a business registration program in Oak Brook would add anything to Oak Brook‘s current ability to conduct inspections or improve its inspection efficiency. In fact, a business in one nearby community recently lodged complaints against its municipality for using its business registration process to disrupt their business operations with intrusive and arbitrary inspections.

Furthermore, if the Village has an interest in registering businesses for the purpose of tracking and monitoring all businesses on an ongoing basis, it should realize that municipalities can never accomplish this, with or without a registration program. Such a program would require the Village to significantly and continually increase its administrative and fire department personnel, at an increasing cost, while providing little, if any, benefit to Village operations. This seems impractical, especially given the current budgetary burdens of municipalities, including Oak Brook.

The proposal also implies that the Village should be concerned that some other municipalities have business registration programs, while Oak Brook does not. A municipality like Oak Brook, which has a longstanding history of working closely with its business community to grow its local economy, should not focus on doing what other less prosperous communities are doing. If the Village had not followed its own unique and innovative plan, which is based on a mutually beneficial economic relationship between businesses and residents, Oak Brook would not be the thriving community it is today. A business registration program had nothing to do with this success.

The communities that have business registration programs include home rule communities with heavy taxing authority that charge extremely high fees and taxes to businesses and residents. Some of these communities have tax rates three and four times higher than Oak Brook’s. They also have very different corporate community demographics and, therefore, large property tax burdens. In addition, superfluous fee programs like this proposed business registration program usually necessitate more and more fees and taxes for businesses and residents over time. This would eventually have an impact on the cost to do business here and the cost for Oak Brook’s residents to live here. This will chip away at Oak Brook’s current strong corporate cost advantage over surrounding communities.

Instead of instituting an onerous and nonessential business registration program, we hope the Village will stay focused on ensuring Oak Brook’s economic growth and long-term sustainability. We urge the Village to strengthen its efforts to solve Oak Brook’s emerging commercial development and infrastructure challenges and keep working to manage well the continually growing number of planning, zoning, and permitting requests from residents and businesses. We firmly believe that a business registration program will distract the Village from essential governmental responsibilities and will likely impair Oak Brook’s performance and success in these areas.

 

 

State Priorities

Illinois Chamber of Commerce 2017 Legislative Agenda

EDGE Credit Replacement
SB 1766 (Weaver) and HB 2744 (Zalewski) would replace the EDGE credit with a new Business and Employment Development Tax credit, effective for tax years beginning on and after January 1, 2018. This new credit legislation would be administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and would consist of credits against the Illinois Income Tax Act for investment and increasing employment in Illinois, with additional credits granted for creating jobs with wages in excess of 150% of the Illinois minimum wage, and for increasing employment in areas of high poverty.

EDGE Credit Extension
HB 2834 (McCombie) would extend the sunset date of the EDGE credit for an additional 5 years from December 31, 2016.

Automatic Penalty Abatement
SB 1249 (Althoff) and HB 3637 (Batinick) both amend the Uniform Penalty and Interest Act to automatically rescind underpayment penalties on taxpayers that are more than 95% compliant.

Expand the Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment Exemption
HB 3430 (K. Wheeler) would expand the Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment exemption to include “production-related tangible personal property formerly subject to the manufacturers’ purchase credit.

Expanded Temporary Storage Sunset Extension
SB 1803 (Brady) and HB 3245 (Winger) both reinstate and extend the sunset (expiration) date of the expanded temporary storage exemption from the sales and use taxes.

Graphic Arts Machinery and Equipment Exemption
SB 1327 (McCarter) and HB 2746 (Zalewski) would reinstate the graphic arts machinery and equipment exemption from Illinois sales and use taxes. Expand the statutory definitions of manufacturing machinery and equipment and graphic arts machinery and equipment to include production-related property as exempt from sales and use taxes.

Reinstatement and Enhancement of the Research and Development Credit
HB 3433 (K. Wheeler) would reinstate the Research and Development Illinois income tax credit and make the credit permanent. The Chamber’s proposal will also strengthen the research and development credit by extending the credit carryforward period from 5 years to 20 years and by modifying the base period calculation for purposes of calculating the required increase in qualifying expenditures.

Repeal of the “Throwback” Rule from the Income Tax Act
SB 859 (Nybo) would eliminate the “throwback” rule from the Illinois Income Tax Act (“IITA”) that taxes Illinois companies on sales made to other states.

Sales and Utility Tax Exemption for Data Centers
SB 1744 (Nybo) and HB 818 (Zalewski) both create a sales and use tax exemption for tangible personal property used in the construction or operation of a new or
existing data center.

Elimination of Social Security Numbers for Reporting Purposes
HB 2479 (Williams) would eliminate any Social Security number requirement for Illinois Department of Revenue (“IDOR”) registration by responsible officers of publicly-traded companies.

Expanded Jurisdiction of the Independent Tax Tribunal
HB 3263 (Zalewski) expands the jurisdiction of the Independent Tax Tribunal to all protests of assessments of all taxes administered by the Illinois Department of Revenue and property tax and sales tax exemption determinations of the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Creation of the Local Administrative Procedure Act
SB 1701 (McConnaughay) and HB 2779 (Werhli) establish rulemaking requirements for home rule counties and municipalities through establishment of a County and
Municipality administrative procedure act.

Correct Abuses to False Claims Act
SB 1250 (Althoff) and HB 1814 (K. Wheeler) amends the Illinois False Claims Act (the “IFCA”) to correct abuses allowed under current law.

Streamlining Employment Discrimination Investigations
SB 61 (Righter) streamlines employment discrimination investigations by requiring the Department of Human Rights (IDHR) to close its investigation if the charge filed with IDHR is based on a litigated discrimination violation that is identical to a charge filed with a local government unit or the federal EEOC and such protection also is provided by the other governmental body. Closing of duplicative complaints will increase efficiency at IDHR and allow the Agency to focus on charges that are not being litigated by another governmental entity. The
amendment is not intended to infringe or impair any agreement IDHR may have with a local government unit or EEOC to provide investigative services for the other entity.

Workers’ Compensation Appeals Process
SB 640 (Haine) addresses the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Process by clarifying and streamlining the process of the appeal of workers’ compensation and occupational diseases decisions to work efficiently and effectively for injured workers and employers. In addition, this bill also allows employers to use their insurance policy, self-insurance certificate or other means of guarantee in lieu of a bond upon appeal. Lastly, this allows a party to appeal an Appellate Court decision to the Supreme Court without certification by two members of the appellate court.

Employer Negligent Hiring Protections
HB 665 (Morrison) creates the Limitations of Actions for Negligent Hiring Act by providing that a cause of action may not be brought against a party solely for hiring an employee or independent contractor who has been convicted of a nonviolent, non- sexual offense.

Public Private Partnerships
SB 839 (Steans) will increase enhanced investment in Illinois’ infrastructure.