Simple formula for Springfield to help Illinois small business owners: lower fees, fair taxes, sensible regulation

November 14, 2014
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Lower fees, ending wasteful regulation would boost Illinois small business

The elections are over.  The negative messages that flooded the airwaves and inundated our in-boxes have disappeared.  Illinois has elected a new governor. Speaker Madigan maintained his super-majority in the Illinois House. In Springfield, the die has been cast for another two years and we now know the players who will help shape Illinois policy in 2015.

The small business community will have a strong voice in Springfield this coming year, working together to empower one another and improve the economic outlook for the state.  Policy makers should work expeditiously to move forward a common-sense, small-business-friendly agenda.  The state can immediately improve its perception among the small business community by making the following reforms:

Lowering LLC Fees 

The Illinois legislature has spent about two years talking about lowering LLC fees. While it is wonderful that legislators conceptually agree the fees are way too high, small business owners are still paying $250 to renew their LLC each year and $500 to form a new LLC. Lowering LLC fees to the rate corporations pay has been supported by Democrats, Republicans and more than 50 civil and business organizations. The General Assembly should pass HB 65 this fall.

Eliminating EDGE Tax Breaks 

Gov.-elect Rauner campaigned on a promise to take a hard look at corporate welfare and has recently indicated he will veto “special” EDGE tax credits that allow select businesses to retain the state income taxes of their employees. The small business community has grown weary of the state providing lavish tax breaks to large companies threatening to leave Illinois, especially when there is insufficient evidence they benefit the economy. By curtailing this practice, our Springfield leaders will allow every Illinois business to compete on a level playing field and eliminate the state’s practice of picking winners and losers. This will increase the credibility of politicians and state officials among the small business community. 

Eliminate Wasteful Regulations For Contractors 

Illinois contractors often work in several suburbs and despite being sufficiently bonded, are required to purchase additional bonds in each municipality. These bonds are duplicative and expensive for contractors. This is a prime example of wasteful regulations that negatively impact the economy. State legislators should enact legislation that establishes a statewide bonding program for contractors. 

Coming Together 

These initiatives are merely examples of things Illinois politicians can quickly do to signal that the state is committed to improving the environment for small businesses and provide every business in Illinois a level playing field. Our politicians, civic and business leaders must also come together and work to improve the state’s image and create a positive narrative about  Illinois.

Indiana has signs on our highways asking residents whether they are “Illinoyed.” Other governors have come here solely to trash the state and poach our businesses.  The time has come for Illinois policy-makers to pass small-business-friendly legislation and, afterwards, for all stakeholders in the Illinois economy to let everyone know.

NEXT ARTICLE: Crunching the numbers: See how much each vote cost in the Illinois governor’s race

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