Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

Republicans oppose effort to decouple from federal tax code

Illinois Republicans and business groups continue to push back against a push to decouple the state’s tax code from the federal tax code when it comes to claiming pandemic losses in tax liabilities.

A measure Democrats failed to pass in the previous General Assembly could mean $500 million in more tax liability.

The measure is expected to come back up when lawmakers return on Feb. 2.

109,000 people in Illinois file for unemployment benefits

Illinois had another 109,000 initial unemployment claims filed last week, which is up nearly 14,000 from what filed the week before, the total number of insured unemployed dropped from 349,000 to 325,000.

There were 29,000 claims filed last week in Illinois for independent contractors, nearly double what was filed the week before for a total of 191,500.

One region of Illinois remains under strictest COVID-19 mitigations

Only one region of the state has the strictest mitigations in Phase 4 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan.

As of Friday morning, the metro east Region 4 was still in Phase 4 Tier 3 which limits gatherings and prohibits indoor bar and restaurant service.

Six of the state’s 11 regions are allowed some indoor service per the governor’s plan.

Boarded up windows at Illinois capitol coming down; cost taxpayers $30,000

The plywood on the windows of the Illinois State Capitol that was put up last week after the FBI warned of possible armed protests is coming down, and it cost taxpayers around $30,000.

The Office of the Architect of the Capitol said they started taking down the boards Thursday and hope to have removal completed by Monday.

There weren’t any armed protests, and the architect wasn’t aware of any reports of vandalism.

Illinois businesses seek COVID-19 liability protection

Nearly all Illinois businesses responding to a National Federation of Independent Business survey want COVID-19 liability protection.

The NFIB of Illinois said nearly 91 percent say Illinois tax policy should mirror the federal provision allowing pandemic losses.

Nearly 80 percent of surveyed businesses want the legislature to clarify the powers of the governor to declare emergencies. Lawmakers return Feb. 2.

Some municipalities look to reduce business fees

Municipal governments in Illinois are looking to give relief to bars and restaurants impacted by the government’s response to the pandemic by waiving some fees.

In Decatur, the city has shifted the video gambling fee from the establishment to the machine vendor.

In Springfield, city officials are waiving around $73,000 in video gambling establishment licenses and around $250,000 worth of liquor license fees for 2021.

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