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Illinois announces $350 million for small business support, but some worry policy costs will offset assistance | Illinois


(The Center Square) – Illinois is set to receive $354.6 million in federal funding for four state programs to help small businesses, the U.S. Treasury announced. 

The money will help Illinois small businesses attract more capital investment and expand or launch business operations, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration said in a statement.

Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, welcomes the funding but has reservations about the Pritzker administration’s overall commitment to small business. 

“If the governor renews his effort to bring back the graduated income tax or steps up the timetable for increasing the minimum wage, he will completely erase $350 million and probably increase costs to small businesses by at least a billion dollars,” Maisch told The Center Square.

One of the state programs that will receive the funding that originated in the American Rescue Plan Act is the State Small Business Credit Initiative. Sylvia Garcia, the director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said the money will help hundreds of Illinois businesses across the state by giving them access to funding and capital.      

Access to capital is a hurdle for a lot of small businesses, Maisch acknowledged. He fears, however, that the governor will distribute the federal dollars and then offset the resulting benefits by increasing the minimum wage. 

“$350 million evaporates very quickly if the administration makes bad policy decisions in the wake of handing out this money,” Maisch said.  

One of four state programs that will benefit from the federal dollars is the Advantage Illinois program, which uses a loan participation model to give businesses favorable funding terms. A new Advantage Illinois loan guarantee model will help businesses that have had difficulty receiving loans in the past.  

A venture capital direct equity program will support emerging technologies and industries. Another program is the Climate Bank Finance program, which will issue loans to small businesses in the clean energy space.

For updates on the programs, visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website and fill out this form

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