Gov. Bruce Rauner says his Turnaround Agenda is focused on helping small businesses in Illinois thrive.

Rauner held a news conference at Springfield’s Obed and Isaac’s Microbrewery & Eatery to proclaim this week National Small Business Week in Illinois. Rauner said two major issues he hears about from the business community are the high cost of workers’ compensation and high property taxes.

The governor said small-business owners tell him that workers’ compensation costs in Illinois don’t allow small businesses to be competitive. “It causes them not to expand and hire as many people. In many cases they move out of the state to go to a lower-cost location nearby.”

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Obed and Isaac’s owner Karen Conn spoke about high property taxes.

“I’ve received all my property-tax bills at the multiple properties that I own, I about had heart failure,” Conn said.

Rauner is advocating a two-year freeze on property taxes coupled with the ability for local governments to control bargaining and bidding costs. He’s also pushing for workers’ compensation standards to be raised so only injuries that are truly work-related are covered.

Meanwhile Conn said they were rehabbing a historic building and found some of the property had state easements.

“And it was just one stalled delay after another, after another, and it was a lot of red tape. It was bureaucracy,” Conn said. “It was a lot of finger-pointing.” She said they were able to work through the issues, but it was frustrating.

Conn said good businesses persevere. “There’s expectation of there’s going to be challenges. And if you give up that easily, no matter what state you’re in, you’re going to give up, period.”

Conn said Illinois small businesses are overregulated and overtaxed.


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