A lively mix of educators, city executives and business persons made up the audience at the Evanston Chamber of Commerce annual Legislative Breakfast held on Friday, May 2nd. The event, sponsored by AT&T, featured County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, State Senators Daniel Biss and Heather Steans, and State Representatives Robyn Gabel and Laura Fine.
Prior to the event, Chamber members had been asked to formulate questions that they felt would impact business. Each of the legislators indicated that contrary to popular belief, Illinois is not out of line with neighboring states in terms of taxation. Various other taxes are levied in other states that do not impact business in Illinois. It was pointed out that Illinois property taxes are higher than any other state in the nation, except New Jersey. Despite fiscal difficulties, Illinois has the 5th highest economy in the nation.
It was also noted that according to a recent poll, people are leaving Illinois, because the job market in the state has not recovered and citizens are primarily looking elsewhere for employment. The legislators felt that progress had been made in Springfield in several economic areas but that much more needs to be done.