Announcement of New Small Business Advocate Raises Suspicions

 Illinois small business advocateDuring Governor Pat Quinn’s January State of the State address, he announced that he would be appointing a new state small business advocate. In Quinn’s own words, the purpose of this state advocate is to provide “a voice for small businesses’ interests across state government.”

This announcement is believed to be in response to the Illinois Democrats’ call for the creation of a body to advocate solely on behalf of Illinois small business owners. However, many of these same advocates are hesitant to believe that a governor-appointed small business advocate will be successful in providing the representation at a state level that small businesses so badly desire.

The Current Small Business Climate

 The current small business community has had mixed reactions to Governor Pat Quinn. While he uses rhetoric in his speeches that is intended to garner the support of small business owners, he also advocates for moves that some see as being anti-small business.

This includes Quinn’s huge public push for hiking up the Illinois state minimum wage, which many small business owners oppose.

Similarly, Quinn has not sided with small business when it comes to such issues as lowering income taxes and workers’ compensation costs that are levied against small business owners.

Apprehension Over the New Small Business Advocate

Gov. Quinn has not yet named the person who will hold the official small business advocate post. However, some might remember the failure of Gov. George Ryan’s 2001 small business appointed advocate. The post ended up being a position with little to no real power or authority, due to a lack of budget and no staff specifically devoted to small business issues. Some worry that  Gov. Quinn’s resurrection of this post is simply a means to silence complaints, as opposed to bringing about actual empowerment for Illinois’ small business community.

The Role of the Small Business Advocate

The small business advocate would have the extremely lofty and ambitious task to “promote innovation, expansion, modernization and job creation in the small-business sector,” and to “work with all agencies to reduce red tape and streamline regulations impacting small businesses.” This grand mission must be conducted without any statutory authority or powers, no officially designated staff, and no specifically allocated budget. Many wonder how such grand ambitions could be undertaken without the tools typically required for conducting successful advocacy.

The potential effectiveness of a governor-appointed small business advocate to exact change remains to be seen. Gov. Quinn will play a big role in determining the actual influence that such an advocate would potentially have over small business related issues in Illinois.

However, it is obvious that the right person for the job needs the ability, means, and drive to champion on behalf of Illinois’ small business owners, even in the face of opposition. Contact the small business attorneys here at The Gierach Law Firm in Naperville, Illinois for all of your small business law questions or issues.