The state of Illinois, reputed to being more of a taker than a giver, delivered a gift to small business owners and prospective owners just before Christmas.
On Dec. 20, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation that reduces startup, annual filing and other fees for limited liability companies (LLCs), a common organizational structure among many of Illinois' 1.2 million small businesses.
The purpose of the new law is to encourage more businesses to form in Illinois rather than go to other states to escape high fees. The law, which went into effect immediately, reduces the filing fee for new LLCs to $150 from $500 and annual report fees to $75 from $250.
Previously, Illinois charged fees that were among the highest in the nation.
"This is a step in the right direction for our small businesses," Rauner said. "The new rates are more competitive with other states. By easing the fee burden for LLCs here, we are sending a message to entrepreneurs and small business owners in Illinois: Start here and stay here."
State legislators also hailed the action.
"As a small business owner myself, I know the challenges small businesses face to compete and grow," said Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, House sponsor of the bill. "Organizing and paying filing and renewal fees shouldn't be so costly here, and now they won't be."
Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, was the Senate sponsor of the legislation.
"This new law displays our state's commitment to stimulating and revitalizing Illinois' economy," he said. "Cutting startup fees will help new businesses get off the ground and set up roots here in Illinois. Encouraging economic development in our state will help create new jobs, increase the tax base and grow our economy."
"It's about time," cheered Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, a chief co-sponsor in the House. "This should be just the first step of many to make Illinois a more business-friendly place."