Lots of articles recently on the new law lowering the punitive fees Illinois charged for starting a new business by forming a limited liability company. The legislation lowers LLC startup fees from $500 to $150 and reduces LLC annual renewal costs from $250 to $75.
That’s good news, but it’s another illustration how Democratic leadership in the General Assembly works and how much of the press lets them get away with it.
The business community and plenty of lawmakers have been screaming for this change for years, only to be ignored by Democratic leadership in the General Assembly. Anybody familiar with the old fees knows they were idiotic — far out of line with other states and a significant impediment to new business formation.
It goes back to at least 2013 when House Bill 65 had bipartisan sponsorship to fix the problem. Speaker Michael Madigan let the bill die, never calling it for a vote.
But an election is coming and Madigan knows what he’s doing: Let a new bill go through, which he did this past November, with Democrats taking credit, and much of the press will fall for it.
A few examples: Democratic Senator Heather Steans brags on her site that she “secured Senate passage of the bill.” The Chicago Tribune’s headline was “Tom Cullerton cuts excessive fees for small businesses.” (He’s a Democratic senator from Villa Park.) A guest piece in Crain’s yesterday says the bill was sponsored by Cullerton and Carol Sente, a Democratic state rep.
No, the bill had 66 sponsors from both parties and it passed both houses unanimously.
Aside from lowering the fees, the other good news from this affair is that maybe, just maybe, Madigan decided he better at least make some of his fellow Democrats look like they’re concerned about Illinois’ economy.
I’m guessing a few bones will be tossed with huge fanfare, but nothing close to the radical reforms Illinois needs across the board. If this is as far as Democrats have moved, with all the evidence we have that a catastrophe is at hand, there’s little reason to become hopeful.
-Mark Glennon is founder and Executive Editor of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.