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At Chamber Day, legislative leaders highlight issues that could affect Illinois businesses

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(The Center Square) – The Illinois Chamber of Commerce held their annual Chamber Day Wednesday in Springfield, giving lawmakers from both sides of the aisle the ability to discuss issues affecting Illinois businesses.

Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said it is important for the state to have a balanced budget.

“My personal priority for this session once again is a responsible, balanced budget,” said Harmon. “I know that Speaker [Emanual “Chris”] Welch and Gov. [J.B.] Pritzker share that goal. This shared commitment to stabilizing our state has provided a strong foundation for growth.”

Pritzker’s latest budget angered the business community with a proposal to extend a cap on the deduction corporations can take for net operating losses. He also is proposing changing a policy that lets retailers keep a portion of the sales tax they collect when shoppers buy items. It’s meant to serve as a reimbursement for retailers collecting the tax on the state’s behalf. Pritzker proposes limiting to $1,000 the amount of sales tax that retailers can keep.

Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said he is aware of the legislation coming out of the Democratic-controlled General Assembly that hampers businesses around the state.

“The constant stream of mandates are yet another challenge that you have to continue to overcome as you successfully operate here in the state of Illinois,” said Curran.

A study released earlier this year ranked Illinois as the worst state to start a new business. Simplify LLC scored Illinois low because of the state’s maximum corporate tax of 9.5% and the exodus of what the company called “educated adults” from the state in 2023.

Welch, D-Hillside, said it is his hope that legislation that comes out of the Illinois Statehouse will have a positive effect on Illinoisans.

“If we can make it better tomorrow than it is today, if we make it one percent better everyday, at the end of every year, we are 365% better than we were at the beginning of the year,” said Welch.

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, said it is essential that the Illinois Chamber of Commerce continue to oppose a bill that would end a tipped wage in Illinois.

“It is extremely important that this does not pass,” said McCombie. “It will be the end of a lot of small businesses in communities around the state.”

McCombie added that the elimination of tipped wages is not working in California or in Washington D.C. and if implemented in Illinois, a lot of jobs will be lost.