As the holiday season winds down, Illinois residents aren’t the only ones shifting back to a budget-conscious mindset.
Several laws that focus on improving Illinois’ economic climate—from consolidation to consumer protections—will go into effect at the start of the New Year.
Reducing Government Waste
With Illinois having the highest number of local units of government in the nation, Senate Bill 3 will help reduce the high tax costs and inefficiencies caused by duplicative or unnecessary units of local government.
Taking effect on Jan. 1, the new law will help every county in Illinois save tax dollars by reducing and/or eliminating inefficiencies through government consolidation. The new provisions allow: consolidation for multiple townships, the merger of a single township with two others, and the discontinuance of a township within a coterminous township.
Boosting Commerce and Economic Development
Another law taking effect Jan. 1 will work to help stimulate economic development and job creation by extending the state’s Angel Investment Credit to make Illinois more attractive to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
The new law revives and extends the credit for five years and caps the program at $10 million annually. For the first time, the law sets aside $500,000 for investment specifically in businesses in rural Illinois counties and another $500,000 for businesses owned by women, minorities and people with disabilities. Advocates of Senate Bill 2012 say this tool will help spur innovation in Illinois and create much-needed jobs in rural counties and throughout the state. The previous tax credit expired Dec. 31, 2016.
Another law (HB 736) taking effect Jan. 1 creates a small-business grant program for public aid recipients interested in developing a start-up business. The program will be administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and can be coupled with the Department's other business-related resources, making it a one-stop-shop for low-income residents to get a business off the ground in Illinois.
New laws promoting a healthy economic climate in Illinois seek to protect consumers.
Senate Bill 1898 protects consumers from unknowingly giving up their freedom to speak freely about their online retail experiences, and prevents them from being intimidated or penalized for doing so. This means that contracts in Illinois can no longer include provisions that waive consumers’ rights to make a statement regarding the seller or lessor if they’re unhappy with the product or service they’ve received, which often happens to consumers unknowingly.
A full listing of all the new laws taking effect on Jan. 1, 2018 can be found here.