SPRINGFIELD | Corporate tax cuts, workers' compensation reform and eased regulations are needed to grow jobs in Illinois, Republican House and business leaders said Monday.
House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, state Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, and other Republicans and business leaders at a Capitol press conference unveiled proposals they said would encourage companies to grow and bring jobs to Illinois.
The Republicans said they have a package of about 30 bills to address five major goals. They include:
-- Amending Illinois' workers' compensation law to allow workers to receive benefits only for injuries caused primarily by the job.
-- Cutting the corporate income tax, which currently is 7 percent and is scheduled to decline to 5.25 percent in tax year 2015. Republicans would decrease the tax to 6 percent for tax years beginning Jan. 1, 2013 and to 4.8 percent on or after 2014.
-- Making permanent a tax credit companies now get for their research and development expenses and adding biodiesel and ethanol research as activities that qualify for the credit.
-- Cutting fees for businesses and speeding up licensing and by creating an Illinois Enterprise Commission to rewrite or abolish unnecessary regulations.
-- Reducing the cost of setting up a "limited liability corporation" from its current $750 to $100, to more closely match adjacent states.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, which is the General Assembly's fiscal forecasting agency, estimates the costs of these proposals to be $486 million for fiscal year 2014.
That price tag could be a roadblock during tight budget times.
"But we are going to get that money back through additional revenue if we get people back to work," Kay said. "We need 650,000 jobs."
State Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, said one high business expense can create a chain of lost income. For example, high trucking fees mean transportation companies plan routes to avoid Illinois, so trucks don't stop here for fuel and don't spend money at truck stops.
Bost also gave the example of workers' compensation fees paid by construction companies in Illinois, which are three to five times higher than in Misssouri and Indiana.
"Wouldn't it be a lot nicer if those costs were reduced, so the wages might go up, or more people could be hired?" Bost asked. "If you really want to increase revenue to the state, employ more people."
Republicans admitted they will need help from Democrats to pass these measures.
Steve Brown, spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago, said he was just now hearing about the proposals and that "we'll have to figure out how to pay" for them.
The workers' compensation reform proposal is House Bill 107. The proposal to roll back the corporate income tax rate is House Bill 2890.