As the heads of 13 chambers of commerce and businesses across the State of Illinois, our mission to grow and sustain our regional economies. We know the health of our communities depends greatly on supporting businesses both small and large and by providing a welcoming and stable environment for workers.
Unfortunately, that mission is at risk due to our elected officials’ inability to pass a state budget. For an entire year, our nonprofit members in our communities have suffered through inconceivable and unnecessary hardships directly caused by the impasse – laying off staff, eliminating or greatly reducing benefits to their employees, closing programs, cutting clients or closing their doors altogether.
It is no surprise that over the last year we have seen the drastic effects of the state’s budget impasse in our own backyards. A rise in unemployment, more crime and violence in communities, and the inability of many nonprofit partners to continue their innovative work. We are actively destroying the stable communities we worked so hard to build.
Our nonprofits are not simply charities who operate out of the goodness of their hearts. They are employers, many with hundreds to thousands of employees in a given community. They provide services that save our taxpayers millions of dollars in the long run. Programs like job training and youth guidance lead to additional economic growth and increase public safety in their areas. The total of our nonprofit members’ work keeps our communities afloat.
We understand there are political differences that may not be resolved in the near future. But we implore our elected officials – in both branches of government, on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers – to give our nonprofits the adequate resources they need to continue to pay their employees and keep their doors open. Honor their contracts and ensure we do not waste the hard work we have accomplished together to build these communities in Illinois.
Joseph Henning, IOM, CAE, Aurora Regional Chamber
Charlie Moore, IOM, CCE, McLean County Chamber
David Hinderliter, IOM, Chicago Southland Chamber
Desiree Bennyhoff, IOM, Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber
Norma Lansing, IOM, Effingham County Chamber
Chris Hembrough, Greater Springfield Chamber
Lisa Musch, Jacksonville Area Chamber
Les O’Dell, Carbondale Chamber
John Quigley, Elmhurst Chamber
Laurrie Minor, Sullivan Chamber
Mindi Terrell, Pontica Chamber
Mary Jaworski, IOM, Joliet Region Chamber
Suzanne Corr, Barrington Area Chamber
Cindy White, Charleston Area Chamber
Laura Crawford, Chamber630