March 2024

Prepared and Distributed by The Midwest Hardware Association, Inc.

Illinois Attempts to Reduce the Retail Discount

By Alec Laird, MHA Illinois Lobbyist and Vice President, Government Relations for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association

The Governor's budget includes a proposal to cap the retailers' partial reimbursement for collecting the sales tax on behalf of the state to a $1,000-per-month. The Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) testified in support of the proposal last week.


The reimbursement is the 1.75% of the sales tax retailers are allowed to retain as partial reimbursement for their costs of serving as the administrator of the sales tax code on behalf of the state and local governments. Assume someone buys goods for $100 at the average state and local government sales tax rate of 8.75%. That means they pay sales tax of $8.75 on their $100 purchase. The retailer is allowed to retain 1.75% of that $8.75 or $0.15


This is only a partial reimbursement for the retailer. In fact, retailers subsidize the cost of collection for state and local governments every time a consumer uses an electronic form of payment. Over 80% of transactions are electronic and that number is growing around 7% per year. Anyone processing an electronic payment (e.g. VISA, MasterCard, Amex, etc.) pays to the card companies an average processing fee of 2.5% plus $0.10 on every transaction. These fees are applied to the entire cost of the item including the sales tax. Using our $100 example transaction above, the following fees apply to just the tax portion:

Read the full article here.

Evers Signs New State Legislative Maps with Republican Support

By Misha Lee, MHA Wisconsin Lobbyist

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers secured a major political victory with his recent signing into law of new legislative district maps after the state Supreme Court ruled in December of last year that the Legislature’s current maps were unconstitutional. Republicans, who hold large majorities in both the Senate (22 GOP to 10 DEM) and Assembly (64 GOP to 35 DEM), reluctantly approved Governor Evers’ maps. No amendments or changes were made in order to avoid the risk of a liberal controlled 4-3 Supreme Court imposing much more unfavorable maps on Republicans. The Legislature had sent the Governor a version of his maps with some modifications, only to have him veto the plan because they weren’t identical to his original proposal.

Read the full article here.

Employer Reasonable Accommodation Fund (ERAF)

PCI DSS 4.0 Standard goes into Effect April 1

Provided by Elavon News

We previously shared that the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) released version 4.0 of the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS).

This update marks the first significant change to the standard in over a decade. It’s a response to the evolving threat landscape facing businesses today and places a greater emphasis on improving procedures to protect against potential risks. Here’s what you should be aware of now.

All PCI DSS compliance assessments started after March 31, 2024, must be based on the version 4.0 standard.

Read the full article here.

Corporate Transparency Act

Provided by MHA's Legal Counsel

The United States Congress enacted the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) in 2021, to enhance corporate transparency and combat financial crimes. Beginning in 2024, many small businesses are required to report information about their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to create a national database for use by national security and law enforcement agencies to prevent the use of shell companies for criminal activity.

Read the full article here.

Sales Trends November 2023

Here are the most recent Illinois, Minnesota-Dakotas, and Wisconsin hardware store sales trends, gathered from association members using the MHA's monthly accounting services. The figures derived for each region include sales data from the following number of stores:

Illinois - 16 stores

Minn.-Dakotas - 10 stores

Wisconsin - 41 stores

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