|Thursday, June 15, 2017
From the President’s Desk: A Call to Action
The State of Illinois has gone nearly two-years without a budget. Our spending is on auto-pilot. Our debt and deficit have badly worsened. The backlog of bills has grown to over $14 billion, which hurts businesses and our state’s most vulnerable populations, among many others. This money is already spent, and must be paid regardless of how large it grows. And on it goes; we continue to spend billions more than we take in.
The State and our other government entities are being downgraded by credit agencies. Our great colleges are unfunded and underfunded. Our K-12 schools may not open this fall due to lack of funding.
The Chicago region’s business community has been patient, constructive, and willing to compromise to get a budget that provides certainty and stimulates economic growth. Businesses need a climate of stability. What we’ve gotten is slow-burning chaos.
We very much welcomed Mayor Emanuel’s call to action, last week, at our Annual Meeting. “I challenge all of you,” he said, “to speak up this month. Illinois needs a budget. Period.” The mayor stated the biggest drain on business and economic growth, and job creation in our state, is the uncertainty created and being perpetuated by the State of Illinois.
We need a full budget with reasonable economic reforms. Businesses cannot grow on shifty foundations. Workers are not trained at unfunded universities. What happens in Springfield today will affect the state for decades. We’ve been saying this all, very politely, for far too long.
No more coaxing the policymakers of Springfield. We accept the call to action, and can now execute it with a few simple clicks. I ask that you please leverage that power right now by going to this link to directly reach your state legislators and the governor. Once you’re there, click “Take Action” on the top section, titled End the State Budget Impasse Now! The form is easy and quick to fill out.
It’s time for the business community of the Chicagoland Chamber, and the entire region, to raise its collective voice.
Theresa E. Mintle
President & CEO
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce