To get more residents back to work, lawmakers in Springfield must remove the barriers that contribute to Illinois ranking near the bottom nationwide in job creation, according to Republican candidates hoping to represent the redrawn 24th Senate District.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and his GOP primary opponent, state Rep. Chris Nybo of Elmhurst, both list job growth in Illinois as the top campaign issue in their race to decide the party's nominee for the 24th Senate District, which includes portions of Elmhurst, Oak Brook, Lombard and Glen Ellyn. The winner will face Democrat A. Ghani of Oak Brook during the November general election.
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Nybo blames the state's General Assembly for creating "an environment hostile to business," adding that Illinois has "exorbitant taxes and fees, unstable and unpredictable state finances, too many rules and regulations for businesses to navigate, and crumbling infrastructure and transit systems."
The 34-year-old employment attorney represents large and small businesses across the state. He says some companies have told him they simply can't maintain operations in Illinois. They end up moving out of state or overseas.
"I know how difficult it is to do business here in Illinois," Nybo said. "I am trying to change that."
Dillard said his goal is to encourage job growth in Illinois by developing an efficient, transparent and ethical state government with less regulation and lower taxes.
"You've got to make this a place where job creators want to expand," said Dillard, a 56-year-old attorney. "And you've got to give them the tools to be able to make this state work again and not rank 48th in job creation."
Dillard said state lawmakers should start by rolling back the 67 percent income tax increase and doing a comprehensive review and overhaul of Illinois' business tax policies.
"We shouldn't have to give Sears or Navistar special breaks," he said. "We should have a tax policy in this state that makes this state employer friendly."
Smaller companies would benefit from reducing tax rates and improving the regulatory system, Dillard added.
Nybo said it's a proven fact that most job growth comes from small -- not large -- companies. He sponsored a law that lets the Illinois State Treasurer invest some of its investment portfolio into private capital funds to attract up-and-coming technology companies.
"I will continue to support any measure that I believe in my heart will help us create jobs in this state," Nybo said.
In addition to lowering taxes and creating incentives, Dillard said Illinois needs to get its financial house in order and reform its pension system. "Because if I were a CEO of a company, I don't think I would be expanding my business here knowing that we have a pension time bomb."