State’s budget stalemate is hurting small business, governor says

By Tim Landis, The State Journal-Register

The nearly year-old state budget deadlock loomed large at the annual Small Business Awards luncheon of The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

Gov. Bruce Rauner pointed out that small businesses create most new jobs, while at the same time acknowledging the July 1 approach of another fiscal year without a state budget hurts small companies.

“We have a lot of challenges in Illinois. We’re all aware of it,” Rauner told the crowd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “Those challenges can be overcome on a bipartisan basis. Illinois is such a great state.”

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The Republican governor has called for a series of pro-business reforms that opponents — including Democratic leadership in the General Assembly — contend would actually hurt workers and wages.

While he did not name specific legislators, Rauner said after the luncheon he believes there is sufficient Democratic support to pass many of his reforms.

“I apologize. This is not their fault,” Rauner told the audience, referring to the small-business owners. “All the people of Illinois deserve better than what they’ve been getting from their government this past year, plus for decades.

“If you’re a small-business owner, your suffering. Many of them are not getting paid by the state,” he said.

Chamber president and CEO Chris Hembrough said after the luncheon the uncertainty of no state budget is the biggest challenge for small-business owners who make up most of the chamber membership.

“I heard it from folks walking in the door today is kind of this cloud of uncertainty, just not knowing what to expect,” said Hembrough,”whether it be personal taxes, whether it be business regulations, whether it’s going to be cuts in services. Even business owners that don’t have a direct relationship or contract with the state are all saying, we’re starting to feel the pinch, to feel the squeeze. The showroom is quieter.”

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