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Biz groups: Worst. Session. Ever.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

The state’s premier business groups have labeled the spring legislative session as “one of the worst for employers” citing lawmakers’ apparent “race to the bottom” and litany of anti-employer, anti-job growth measures considered this year.

At a press conference on the final day of session, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Chamber of Commerce and NFIB joined together lamenting the continuous effort to tax, over-regulate, mandate and constrict employers at every turn by lawmakers in both chambers which has created one of the most crushing business climates in the nation. While this is not a new phenomenon in Springfield, the massive uptick in these anti-employer measures coupled with the accompanying rhetoric has exasperated an already hostile business climate.

Ironically, many of these measures – in theory – are aimed at increasing pay, hiring more employees or giving workers more certainty, yet they achieve quite the opposite. While the intention of our business community is to provide jobs with competitive pay and generate revenue to fix the state’s problems, the anti-employer narrative is having a chilling effect.

“My Democrat friends like to say we are in a race to the bottom. Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you we are winning but that means Illinois businesses and families are losing. The high cost of workers’ compensation is one of the biggest issues facing manufacturers but lawmakers fail to act because they continually side with wealthy trial lawyers. Their failure to act and create an attractive economic climate means that Illinois will continue to bleed jobs and remain a laughingstock of the nation,” said Greg Baise, president and CEO, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

“Every day seems to bring another report of another round of retail store closings. Instead of talking restraint and recovery for the retail community, the narrative out of Springfield, like the actual actions in Chicago and Cook County, is higher taxes, labor and regulatory burdens, and, in the case of Cook County, incentivizing theft. This ‘campaign against Main Street retailers’ will only hasten the continued job loss and store closings that have become all too familiar. Retailers have limited responses; reduce employee hours, lay people off, increase automation, or close. Passing legislation to mandate artificially higher wages when the jobs don’t exist doesn’t help anyone,” said Rob Karr, president and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

“The ping pong of anti-employer policies coming from both Chicago and Springfield is unsustainable. At every corner, Chicagoland businesses are being asked to pay higher property taxes, soda taxes, and sales taxes while also being forced to implement countless mandates that do not grow the economy. Chicago has so much to offer but this economic death by 1,000 paper cuts does not create the jobs, quality of life and revenue Springfield should be seeking,” said Michael Reever, vice president of government affairs, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

“Time and again lawmakers have suggested policies that shift greater financial burdens to employers statewide. Whether it is during the budget impasse or after it is resolved, standing up against job-crushing legislation is crucial for our economy. Increasing minimum wage, passing “fake” workers’ compensation reform and proposing a significant arbitrary tax increase is far from the progress Illinois deserves. We need pro-growth economic policies to prevent the steady decline of Illinois’ economic competitiveness. And we need them now, that is, if we want to continue to attract the best and the brightest individuals to Illinois,” said Todd Maisch, president and CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

“Our members aren’t surprised by the legislature’s anti-business antics this session, but they are disappointed and fed up. Illinois is broke and we haven’t had a budget in two years. We need leaders who are less focused on scoring easy political points and more on enacting good policies that benefit all Illinoisans. We need legislators who will act like adults, set aside their political differences, and make the difficult decisions that would make things better for working families and allow businesses to grow and create jobs,” said Mark Grant, Illinois State Director, NFIB.

Springfield’s Dirty Dozen

    SB 81: Legislation that raises the minimum wage to $15
    HB 2771: A costly government mandate forcing employers regardless of size to provide paid leave to every employee regardless of hours worked.
    HB 160: A $5,000 fee on every employer for the “privilege” of doing business in Illinois
    HB 156: Massive property tax shift onto commercial and industrial taxpayers
    SB 1502: Trial lawyer supported legislation that burdens every e-commerce business, and every company with a credit card, loyalty program app or website, without providing any consumer protections
    HB 3449: Trial lawyer supported legislation that unfairly targets companies that share or store location data and requires ecommerce businesses to ask for permission before collecting location data from your device
    HB 3538: Penalizes business that move even one job out of state while discouraging future investment
    HB 2802: Government mandate forcing businesses to pay the transportation costs of their workers
    HB 2525: This bill codifies “a cause” workers’ compensation standard that mandates insurance rate review without providing any meaningful reform
    HB 2622: Legislation that would disrupt the private workers’ compensation insurance market without having a strong reason to exist
    HB 3337: A bill that allows someone to steal $2,000 of merchandise from a retailer
    SB 9: Imposes $5.4 billion in new taxes on Illinois businesses and families - *revenue without


Ignored Reforms of the 2017 Legislative Session

    · Pension reform
    · Workers’ compensation reform
    · Tax reform
    · Restraint of local government
    · Property tax relief
    · Education and workforce development


  1. - Annonin' - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:06 pm:

    Surprised they did not have their CAT friends there…The 10K layoffs really help boost IL.

  2. - Winnin' - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:17 pm:

    They must not have very effective lobbyists.

  3. - Pawn - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:21 pm:

    Saying “my Democrat friends” proves you don’t have any.

  4. - Waffle Fries - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:24 pm:

    Someone wipe these crocodile tears off my face. My god the horror the CHamber, NFIP, and IMA must be dealing with. The good news is I’m sure, rather I hope, their staff can afford counseling, something many low income adults can’t access BECAUSE WE HAVE NO BUDGET.

    Slow clap on the tone deaf statement. You poor souls.

  5. - unspun - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:33 pm:

    If you have unified power concentrated within these business groups with a Republican Governor and you’re complaining of the worst session ever, it may be time to stand up to that Governor and stop enabling him to “hang in there”.

  6. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:34 pm:

    Wow thanks for the exercise, Rich. My eyes haven’t rolled that hard in quite a while

  7. - Honeybear - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:38 pm:

    Wait but how many of the dirty dozen became law?

    That’s laughable. So our duly elected legislature needs to run stuff past them before they propose.

    my God the unadulterated privilege of these folks.

    We’ve got people being ruined down here and they are whining rich folk.

    Just like Trump

  8. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:44 pm:

    Tax reform - So​ they’re upset they still have low rates and their corporate loopholes? Guess they want higher rates and no loopholes?

  9. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:48 pm:

    Education and workforce development … it sounds like they aren’t too happy with the Governor’s destruction of the colleges that are supposed to educate their workforce …

  10. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:54 pm:

    Workers’ compensation reform - they could have had a good bit of it but Rauner wasn’t happy with part of a loaf.

  11. - PJ - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:54 pm:

    Ah, pension reform. If only we could have done pension reform, mom & pop retailers would be springing up all over the state.

    What a bunch of ingrates.

    They must have forgotten “term limits” - I’ve heard job creators love those.

  12. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 6:55 pm:

    Restraint of local government - so they don’t want local control, until they need it for their deals?

  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 7:00 pm:

    That will be an editorial in The (Effingham) Daily News.

  14. - Sideline watcher - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 7:07 pm:

    Hb2771 is you get 1 hour of leave for every 40 hours worked. You have to earn it for goodness sakes.

  15. - City Zen - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 7:17 pm:

    ==My Democrat friends like to say we are in a race to the bottom==

    It feels more like a slow, deliberate march than a race.

  16. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 7:19 pm:

    What would in reality be good for Illinois businesses is to have a whole and balanced state budget to stabilize our finances. That would do our state more good than any of the so called Turnaround Agenda items. We don’t have a budget because of the self created Rauner crisis and that’s a fact. These fellows don’t like these anti employer bills. They’ve been silent though about Rauner’s anti worker agenda. You have to have a balance between employer and worker. These guys act like they want to return to the good old days when workers had no rights. Rauner could have had workers compensation reform that could have decreased costs for employers. It is his own fault that we don’t. As Dr. Kent Redfield said yesterday, Rauner will not accept any responsibility for the mess he had a major hand in creating, insisting that it’s all the Democrats fault. Now he has the business community fighting for him too. Big business has it good now with their low income tax rates and corporate loopholes but they have an insatiable appetite and want to put even more of a burden on the working man. It was obvious that the Senate Democrats wanted a deal as I’m surprised that they went as far to the right as they did on some items in their budget. Rauner called off the GOP votes and killed the bargain and now it’s a concerted effort by the GOP and their business allies to blame it all on the Democrats.
    Rauner will only accept a budget if it is on his terms. After two and a half years it’s evident that he is asking for more than the Democrats will accept.

  17. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 7:50 pm:

    Oh Todd, it ain’t over yet.
    Hold my beer.

  18. - Sue - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 7:50 pm:

    The comments here are reprehensible- Doesn’t anyone who frequents this blog which is becoming even more liberal and anti-business by the day understand that it is the business community which provides the jobs and taxes which allow Illinois to survive. What is wrong with you folks

  19. - Not It - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 7:56 pm:

    For crying out loud, none of this should be a surprise to them!!!! Now that we have a Republican Governor who will enjoy vetoing this stuff, the Democrats can play to their liberal base and pass all this stuff without having to worry about it ever actually becoming law.

  20. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 8:08 pm:

    ===it is the business community which provides the jobs and taxes which allow Illinois to survive.===

    It is customers that provide the sole purpose for which businesses exist Sue. If there are enough customers, businesses can hire more employees and pay more taxes.

  21. - Just Me - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 8:15 pm:

    47th Ward - so you’re answer to all of this is that we have too many businesses, huh?

  22. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 8:16 pm:

    Some good points. Some bad points.

  23. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 8:31 pm:

    Oh for crying out loud!
    You don’t want Democrats?
    You guys had three years to get your governor off his duff and show Illinoisans that he could govern, but you didn’t. You let Rauner lead you off a political cliff with his nutty Mad Hatter routine.

    You backed a guy with approval ratings lower than a communicable disease. You let him gut the government he was supposed to lead. You needed to tell Rauner that he would lose your endorsements if he kept running up our unpaid bills. Your guy would like to see our governments fail in bankruptsy and chaos. A majority of citizens think he’s batty.

    So instead of steering a governor towards success, you got a guy whose only hope is to destroy the election by carpetbombing his opponents down to his level. Everyone loses next year.

    You don’t want Democrats?
    We don’t have a choice. Rauner made duct tape broken government look good.

  24. - Wilson - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 8:33 pm:

    Yeh, these are the same groups that played a role in everyone’s utility taxes by helping pass the Exelon bailout. People in glass houses …

  25. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 9:36 pm:

    - so you’re answer to all of this is that we have too many businesses, huh?

    How many businesses in your market area sell the same exact stuff within blocks of each other?

  26. - northernwatersports - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 10:21 pm:

    “-Doesn’t anyone who frequents this blog which is becoming even more liberal and anti-business by the day understand that it is the business community which provides the jobs and taxes which allow Illinois to survive.”
    What’s wrong with us???? You must have gone to a different business school than me….my Illinois business doesn’t pay any corporate income taxes, or any other taxes. I hire people to produce goods for sale, and to provide services….and if I have to collect a sales tax, service tax, head tax, payroll tax, or any other type of tax or fee, on behalf of the State, or local government, I simply build that expense into the cost of my product or service.
    You my friend seem to think that all corporation or “business” or ‘job creator’ are going to willingly pay the ‘taxes’ out of their net profits? What a Joke!!! I think you better go back to the business school you attended and ask for a refund.

  27. - DuPage - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 10:24 pm:

    - City Zen - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 7:17 pm:

    ==My Democrat friends like to say we are in a race to the bottom==

    ==It feels more like a slow, deliberate march than a race.==

    The march of the Raunerites.

  28. - Lakeview Dude - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 11:03 pm:

    ==”…in the case of Cook County, incentivizing theft.”

    It’s a free for all everyone! There are no rules! I’m going to go shoplift because the threshold for what’s considered felony shoplifting is now a bit lower. Goofiness.

  29. - Just Me - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 11:44 pm:

    Chicago 20 - Are you serious?!?! You’re comparing the entire statewide business climate to a handful of retail shops who sell similar merchandise? There are so many faults with your reasoning I don’t even know where to begin. However, for starters I’ll just say that if you’re such a business genius you should start a consulting company to tell business owners how to instantly become rich by closing their businesses.

  30. - Spliff - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 8:41 am:

    So is it wrong to feel proud for having led the charge in passing one of the 12? I think not.

  31. - illinoised - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 8:51 am:

    The “state’s premier business groups” have enlightened me. I now know that state government’s primary concern–above the welfare of the people and all else–is to cater entirely to business groups’ concerns. Illinois indeed mirrors our present federal administration. Thank you for validating my soon-to-occur departure from Illinois. I will not look back as I exit.

  32. - Honeybear - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 9:11 am:

    –it is the business community which provides the jobs and taxes which allow Illinois to survive.–

    Sue, I’m going to give you push back. Corporations/Commerce and their lobbyists have far too much influence in politics. Government CANNOT

    The purpose of business is PROFIT
    The purpose of Government is the COMMON GOOD

    In many cases Mutually exclusive concepts.

    NOW, that being said MAINSTREET business needs to have A LOT more attention paid to it.

    I’m all about that. No taxes for small employers.

    Now what about unions. Okay you got me. In the past unions have had too much influence and power. I would argue not now.

    To get my argument you can look up
    David Korten- Agenda for a new Economy
    Eric Liu- Gardens of Democracy

    I believe it is a fallacy that the common good is derived from corporate deference.

  33. - Steve - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 9:12 am:

    For anyone who thinks raising costs doesn’t affect job creation . Think again. Illinois is now surrounded by right to work states (something no one could have predicted 5 years ago.) There’s always a race to the bottom, it’s a fact of life. Lower costs states have plenty advantages . Illinois isn’t the highest cost place but… raising costs doesn’t help. No one says this is easy but raising taxes isn’t going help much because spending has been increasing more than revenue. Is Illinois ready for the next recession????

  34. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 9:34 am:

    =Illinois is now surrounded by right to work states=

    FY 16 Q 4 GDP Growth by state-

    IL- 1.7%
    WI- 0.9%
    IN- 0.8%
    IA- 0.4%
    MO- 1.5%
    KY- 1.5%
    TN- 1.5%
    AR- 0.5%
    MN- 1.7%
    MI- 2.1%

    Taxation and RTW have no direct correlation with economic growth. Martire has been saying that for more than a decade.

    Probably safe to say (but not backed by research) that term limits have no link either. Same may be said for property taxes.

  35. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    –The comments here are reprehensible–

    Really? Which ones, specifically?

    Maybe before you crack that next Old Skullpopper cap this morning you could point them out.

    Any of these “business leaders” ever made a go of it in the private sector? As far as I can tell, they’re all clouted political hack/lobster types, going through the motions to please the boss.

    Perhaps they could explain their theory of capitalism that involves not paying your bills. Seems counter-intuitive.

  36. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 9:44 am:

    =Any of these “business leaders” ever made a go of it in the private sector? As far as I can tell, they’re all clouted political hack/lobster types, going through the motions to please the boss.

    Perhaps they could explain their theory of capitalism that involves not paying your bills. Seems counter-intuitive. =

    @Word drops mic…

  37. - DontConversateWithTheFakes - Thursday, Jun 1, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    I think it’s time we learn which companies Todd Maisch and Michael Reever actually represent. They can’t just say “Illinois businesses” anymore. Who?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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