An Illinois small business advocate said reforms that businesses have been seeking to help their industries fell by the wayside in the legislative session that ended last week.
When Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the budget into law, he and other lawmakers touted reforms, better funding for education and other benefits of the bipartisan legislation.
Missing from the conversation was any of the reforms Rauner campaigned on that he said would make the state’s business environment more competitive.
Mark Grant, director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Illinois, said the group and other representatives of the business community were on the outside looking in on budget negotiations.
“We were not involved in any of the negotiation or any of the pieces that went into the budget negotiations,” he said. “I think they believe it may have derailed their negotiations.”
Grant said the small business owners that he talks with have become cynical about state government and any promise of improving the state’s relationship with job creators.
“They think that state government in general in Illinois really doesn't include them,” he said.
Rauner had campaigned on a “turnaround agenda” that included dozens of pro-business reforms. At the budget bill signing he said that he would have liked to have seen some of his reform items in the budget, but they didn’t make it into the negotiated 1,200 page bill.
"Unfortunately, a lot of businesses feel like we were left out but, quite frankly, we've been left out the last three years," said Zach Mottl, Chairman of the Technology Manufacturers Association of Illinois. "We are pleased that they have a budget, but that's just the first step."
The budget for the new fiscal year, which begins in July, spends more than $38 billion. That’s more than Illinois has ever spent in a budget year.