Tax hikes, wage cost increases, and endless deficit spending are increasing at rates unseen by Illinois business owners in more than a generation.
The additional regulatory costs imposed on businesses has forced business owners to take a hard look at all operating costs to find a way to maintain profitability and growth.
Improving the bottom line by reducing operating costs and tightening budgets is a must. At the top of your list of expense to review should be your property and casualty insurance program. At a minimum, shop your coverages and have your policies independently reviewed. Review your loss runs for injury and accident trends and research the root cause(s) of the claims then take remedial action to reduce and/or eliminate the identified hazard(s). Reviewing your insurance policies and looking for sound and reasonable ways to reduce cost is the first step in cost containment battle.
With Illinois, which on Saturday morning entered its third fiscal year without a budget, facing a catastrophic downgrade, late on Sunday evening the Illinois House approved the most controversial element of a budget package, a tax hike which will increase the income tax rate by 32% from 3.75% to 4.95%, and the corporate income tax rate from 5.25% to 7%, to try and end a historic budget impasse. The bill passed 72-45. The House also approved a $36 billion spending plan minutes later on an 81-34 vote. According to the Sun Times, it cleared an initial hurdle on Friday with 23 Republicans voting “yes.”
“While no one could say this was an easy decision, it was the right decision,” House Speaker Mike Madigan said after the spending bill vote. “There is more work to be done.” Dems said they would work with Republicans on other resolution of other issues on the table.
The proposed tax increase will now head back to the Illinois Senate, which approved a revenue bill on May 23 with all Democratic votes as part of its “grand bargain” package. But Governor Bruce Rauner has said he’ll only support an income tax hike if it’s limited to four years and paired with a four-year property tax freeze. He’s also still seeking changes in workers’ compensation and pensions.
Todd Maisch, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said raising the minimum wage to $15 would be a devastating blow to job creators throughout Illinois.
“If anyone wonders why jobs, economic opportunity, and population keep leaving Illinois for other states, look no further than those state lawmakers who are legislating Illinois into a second-tier state for competitiveness,” Maisch said in a written statement. “The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has faith in Illinois’ economic outlook, but state policies cannot continue to make the climate ever tougher on our job creators.”
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