February 22, 2011
Letter to the Editor
Recently, the Board of Directors for the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce — on behalf of the more 800 business members represented — voted to oppose two legislative bills in Springfield. In discussing the matter, the board felt the two initiatives would negatively impact the business community, particularly its members in the Aurora region.
First, HB 1301 amends the Fire Protection District Act with an antitrust exemption. It is not about public safety. This bill takes away small business jobs. Instead of 20 small businesses competing in a market, one company will be selected to do all service and installations while the government claims the monitoring revenue. As such, many businesses will close and private sector jobs will be lost.
This bill strips small businesses of revenue and value. The bill is costly and hurts every business owner. By eliminating competitors that apply market pressure to raise the standards of service while keeping prices in check, there is no incentive to strive for improvement to public safety.
Second, Illinois currently has the third highest minimum wage in the country at $8.25. SB 1565 would give Illinois the highest minimum wage in the country. Illinois employers cannot afford the additional increased costs.
SB 1565 would effectively add to the crippling of business which in turn will have a negative impact on our State’s unemployment. Illinois’ minimum wage has risen 60.2% in seven years — 8.6% annually, on average. If the minimum wage is increased, there will be even fewer job opportunities for young or less experienced workers than there are today.
Finally, Illinois has the second most expensive workers’ compensation system in the country and the third highest corporate income tax rate in the country. By increasing the minimum wage to the highest in the nation, SB 1565 will guarantee Illinois is a job-creation free zone.
While we all have been impacted by the recent economic uncertainty, a number of efforts in Springfield have made it even more difficult for Illinois businesses. The Chamber and its members are committed to job creation and workforce development to improve our community. We look forward to working with our elected officials and business leaders to find solutions to that end.
Joseph B. Henning, IOM, ACE
President & CEO