document as a .PDF)
Statement of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce
55 South Main Street, Suite 351
Naperville, IL 60540-5381
p: (630) 355-4141 f: (630) 355-8335
To: DuPage County Board
Regarding: Final FY 2012 Budget Approval
By: John Schmitt
President & CEO
Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce
Delivered: Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 10:00 a.m.
Through the commitment and engagement of our Members, the Naperville Area
of Commerce provides leadership for the benefit of the business community by
economic growth, advocating the interests of business, providing service and
Members and community, and meeting Members’ needs.
The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce is the second largest Chamber of
Commerce in Illinois and has received
the prestigious designation of 5-Star Accreditation from the United States
Chamber of Commerce. An honor bestowed
on only 75 Chambers in the nation, out of the nearly 7,000, for their Member’s
involvement and engagement in promoting free enterprise and strengthening their
regional business community.
Statement of John Schmitt
President & CEO
Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce
November 22, 2011
Chairman Cronin and members of the County Board, my
name is John Schmitt and I am the president & CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber
of Commerce—the largest chamber of commerce in DuPage County. Our membership is
comprised of 1,500 businesses of every size and sector, and we are DuPage
County’s only 5-Star Accredited chamber of commerce.
On behalf of the Chamber, thank you for the
opportunity to address you this morning, and thank you to Chairman Cronin for
delivering a State of the County address to our membership earlier this year. We
thank all members of the County Board for your participation in the budget
process, including the several hearings you held throughout the county—making
the draft budget accessible to the county’s residents.
The Chamber is here today to offer our strong
endorsement of the budget as proposed and finalized over the past several weeks.
This budget represents the new way of thinking that we urgently need at the
federal, state and local levels. The county is successfully implementing new
ways of doing business while continuing to deliver needed services at reduced
It is fitting that the members of the DuPage County
Board are poised to approve a budget that reduces spending for the third
consecutive year, less than 24 hours after our top congressional leaders
admitted defeat and that they couldn’t compromise on the “supercommittee.”
Our national debt crisis reminds us that we have a
scarcity of resources and no shortage of citizens, businesses and organizations
that could use a helping hand. This is true during the good times and the
However, we are now in a period of austerity, and,
at all levels of government the business community urges our officials to weigh
the greatest good that can be achieved with these finite resources.
We urge you to continue to take steps to find
efficiencies and deliver services with better outcomes at reducing costs. We
applaud your efforts to ask, Why are we doing it this way? And can it be done
differently? That’s exactly what we need right now.
Your budget reflects this thinking. The Chamber
applauds your diligent work to get spiraling employee benefit costs under
control and your decision to implement commonsense modernization efforts to
bring the county’s employment practices in line with the hundreds of thousands
of workers in the private sector in DuPage County.
Your budget continues to make whole on the promise
of the capital improvement plan. This capital improvement program recognized the
vital importance of investing in critical public infrastructure and was made
possible by reducing ongoing payroll costs.
Your budget contains several other major changes to
the way that government operates—and not all of these decisions are popular or
the easy thing to do. But you must ask, Are they the right thing to do for our
county as a whole?
When budgets are made we—the citizens are reminded
that elective office is public service. It is during the budget cycle that you
have to make the tough decisions—to tell people no, or that they have to do
things differently. That is never easy and it is certainly not enjoyable.
However, the public has entrusted you to look out for them, to ask the
questions, and to find better ways of operating the county.
I know that the budget proposal before you does
exactly that. I would even venture to say that it is a down payment for future
reforms that will be championed by this board. Our Chamber hopes you continue
your efforts to reform, resize and challenge the old ways of operating.
Our fellow citizens are growing skeptical of
government—and, with all due respect to our officials at the state and national
level, it is getting easier to understand. Leadership isn’t about pointing
fingers, it’s about making a decision, accepting responsibility and being
Through efforts like your proposed budget, which
recognizes the difficult economic condition we are in and is responsive to
changing market forces, you are taking the needed steps to continue to earn the
trust of the citizens and taxpayers of DuPage County.
Thank you for your continued service to our county’s
citizens, residents, businesses and employees during this difficult economic
time. And thank you for the opportunity to address you this morning.
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