One of the highlights of my month was attending the NACC’s Small Business Owners Roundtable – Small Business Listening Tour workshop and policy discussion on July 27th with Elliot Richardson, President and Co-Founder of the Small Business Advocacy Council of Illinois (SBACIL). The SBACIL advocates for the interest of small businesses in Springfield. Elliot had requested a meeting with our small businesses as part of his ”listening tour” to identify the policy issues most impacting small businesses in our area. The data gleaned from this event will provide him with the feedback needed to introduce legislation in Springfield on the behalf of small businesses.
Elliot also discussed some policies on his radar. A few of the policy issues he discussed are:
Incentivizing Small Businesses to Hire & Train Returning Citizens
A bill in play in Springfield will provide wage subsidies and grants to small businesses that hire formerly incarcerated citizens, so they have resources to provide on-the-job training to returning citizens. This bill is designed to support small businesses, supplement our workforce, reduce the costs of incarceration, improve public safety, and foster economic growth in disadvantaged communities.
Occupational Licensing Reform
Overly restrictive and burdensome licensing requirements can impact the ability of small businesses to hire employees and create needless barriers for entrepreneurs. The SBACIL supported the Regulatory Sunset Act to provide crucial information which can help policymakers evaluate occupational licenses and eliminate or modify them when appropriate. The next step is to pass legislation that permits some entrepreneurs and potential employees licensed in other states to perform certain services in Illinois.
Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding
Encouraging local investment in neighborhood business districts can help support and revitalize communities. Intrastate equity crowdfunding can foster local investment in commercial corridors and support entrepreneurs who need capital to scale their businesses. The SBACIL led the charge to allow intrastate equity crowdfunding in Illinois. They are now advocating for an allocation of funding to build a crowdfunding website to make intrastate equity crowdfunding a viable option in Illinois.
Some of the concerns brought forward from our small businesses during that discussion were:
Barriers for Small Businesses Getting Government Contracts
Adjustments are needed in the bid bonds and performance bonds requirements requested by many government entities which are cost prohibited for some small businesses in bidding on government contracts. One policy under discussion is moving from the lowest bidder matrix for government contracts awards to a matrix that would give weight to working with small businesses, businesses that operate in the municipality in which they are submitting the bid, etc. Opposing bid restrictions requiring bidders and their subcontractors to have U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeships; basically requiring them to be a member of a union was another issue discussed.
Tax Credit or Incentives for Working with Small Business
Many of our small businesses offer consulting services such as marketing, for example. The creation of a tax credit for companies who contract with small businesses for their needed services would further incentivize larger companies to do business with smaller companies.
These are just a few of the policies that were discussed at the NACC Small Business Owners Roundtable Listening Tour. I will keep you abreast of the status of these and other policies at the local, state, and federal levels. Please reach out to me if you have issues on your radar.
If you are interested in getting involved in the monthly Small Business Owners Roundtable workshops, please contact Linda Oglessbee – or – just show up! They are FREE for our small business Members to attend.
Director of Government Affairs
(630)544-3387 or firstname.lastname@example.org