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Rep. Lou Lang Wins National Small Business Award

State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Chicago)

(Skokie) – A national economic development group recently honored State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) during a national conference in Chicago with a coveted small business award.

The National Coalition for Capital, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group for small business development, bestowed its “Champion of Small Business” award on Lang during the group’s annual award ceremony in Chicago on August 8th.

“This award recognizes Representative Lang’s important work to preserve and create jobs through access to capital policy that helps Illinois small businesses grow and develop,” said Michael Votta, President of the National Coalition for Capital.

“Representative Lang has demonstrated he is a champion of small business, and his efforts will have an enduring positive impact on Illinois.”

Champions of Small Business Awards recognize individuals for demonstrating leadership in supporting policies and initiatives designed to promote access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs, especially those in economically distressed communities.

Lang, who was first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1988, convened in January 2010 the House of Representatives Bipartisan Jobs Creation Task Force that generated a raft of legislation to bolster Illinois job creation.

The veteran lawmakers has also remained a resilient advocate of access to capital for small business growth and the New Market Tax Credit program.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that elected officials do their part to advance innovative access to capital policies that allow small businesses to grow and prosper,” said Lang. “I am pleased to be among those honored for supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs as they strive to preserve and grow jobs in their communities.”

The National Coalition for Capital hosts an annual awards ceremony during the week of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit to recognize individuals for taking a leading role in fostering access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs.


Lang’s Jobs Task Force Wants to Kill Truck Fee; Redo EPA E-Waste Rules that Trip Up Motorola; Boost Business Micro-loans

Illinois truck regisrations have dropped since 2003.

(Chicago, IL) – July 13, 2010. Illinois truck registration fees are currently $1,400 more than the average of states surrounding Illinois, in part, because of a special $400 fee imposed by the state legislature in 2003, and a new legislative panel report now recommends abolishing the fee.

“Truck registration fees are driving down truck registrations compared to the increases seen in the states that surround Illinois and, ultimately, driving business away from Illinois,” said Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), Chairman of the House Bipartisan Jobs Creation Task Force.

Lang estimates that if Illinois kept up with the national average, it would have 35,653 more trucks than today’s current count of 163,453.

Using the 163,453 trucks that were registered in Illinois in 2008 versus 175,064 in 2003, a repeal of the Commercial Distribution Fee would cost the state approximately $65,381,200, Lang says.

“If Illinois sees a growth of approximately only 23,426 trucks, the elimination will be revenue neutral, but will create a substantial number of new Illinois jobs,” said Lang. “The task force proposes to eliminate the Commercial Distribution Fee on intra-state operators which is approximately $400 a truck.”

In contrast, Indiana had 94,068 truck registrations in 2003 and 201,848 in 2008.

In addition to truck fees, Lang’s task force, which included 54 House lawmakers and held public hearings Chicago, Decatur, Rockford, Naperville, Palatine, and Springfield during the spring, lays out multiple job creation and business boosting initiatives, including reigning in environmental regulations that are undermining its own objectives.

Lang cited the case of Motorola. At a hearing, Motorola pointed to the recent Illinois E-Waste law in which Motorola was initially provided with a recycling letter of exemption, but was hit with demands from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency which undermined its e-waste recycling.  Although Motorola had been recycling these materials well before the passage of the Illinois law, the administrative and auditing requirements made the program cost-prohibitive.

“The unintended consequences of the law stifled the very practice the law was designed to encourage and represents an area in which the implementation has been inconsistent,” said Lang.

“The task force proposes to make the new e-waste regulations pertaining to the management of the proper disposal and recycling of materials used in technology products, such as cell phones.”

Lang also noted that the financial crises has stifled community bank and credit union lending to startup entrepreneurs and small businesses, but a new program, proposed by State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, whereby the state would act as the guarantor for qualified small business loans issued by community banks and credit unions could boost business.

“The program would provide a 10%-20% state guarantee for loans to small businesses that could not otherwise be secured through traditional financing,” said Lang. “This 2-year pilot loan program is designed to bridge the gap between loans from family and friends and traditional SBA loans.”

Lang assured that to minimize the state’s financial exposure, both interest and fees would be charged and set aside as an insurance fund.

“Illinois needs to be creative to help businesses get the credit they need to create jobs,” said Lang.

The full report can be found at: http://www.housedem.state.il.us/index2.htm

Rep. Lou Lang Brings Illinois Jobs Task Force to Decatur for Hearing

(Decatur, IL) — April 2, 2010. House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) and chair of the House Jobs Task Force brought the panel to Decatur on Wednesday for a public hearing to generate local job creation and retention ideas.

Decatur Herald & Review reporter Chris Luvardi wrote:

Small-business owner Otto Klemm would like to see smaller government, less regulation and a tax cut.

Klemm is the owner of C&K Custom Signs, which he said is a three-person business dependent on the general economy in the Decatur market. During a state jobs task force meeting Wednesday, Klemm took issue with some of the things small businesses are forced to do by the government.

“We have to pay the unemployment tax,” Klemm said. “How am I going to lay myself off and still have a business? We should be exempt.”

Klemm was one of those whom state Reps. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, and Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, heard from during the meeting in the Decatur City Council chambers. Flider and Mitchell were joined by colleagues Lou Lang, D-Skokie, and Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana.

Lang, chairman of the bipartisan task force set up by House Speaker Michael Madigan, told those sharing their ideas to be specific. The task force was created because jobs are a major issue in the state, with the Decatur area January unemployment figure hitting 14.4 percent.

For the rest of Luvardi’s report, read it here …

Based on the Decatur hearing and others across the state, Lang expects to introduce a jobs package of legislation to the Illinois General Assembly this year.

Aurora Alderman Stephanie Kifowit Invites Illinois House Jobs Task Force Chair Lou Lang to Aurora Jobs Creation Luncheon

Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang

(Aurora, IL) — February 18, 2010. The Illinois legislature is turning it attention to job creation in Aurora.

“A delay in a project can cost a company millions of dollars and results in jobs being lost or not created”, states Aurora Alderman Stephanie Kifowit, co-host of the Aurora Job Creation Luncheon on February 26.

“This lunch is a frank discussion regarding jobs, and instances where procedures or outdated processes have stymied job creation in the State of Illinois.”

Deputy Majority Leader Representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie), Chairman of the House Task Force on Job Creation, is coming to Aurora to hear the ideas of Aurora businessmen and citizens at Kifowit’s invitation, according to the Aurora Beacon-News.

“My goal as Chairman of the Illinois House Bipartisan Job Creation Committee is to hear from the community what the State can do better,” said Lang. “If it is construction, environmental permit and processing, funding restrictions, or just improving communication, I want to know about it—because I want to fix it.”

Lang and the other 40 lawmakers on the bi-partisan commission are holding hearings throughout the state.

“The business community can tell me best where the problem issues lie,” said Lang.

“Job creation is the number one concern for the residents of Aurora,” said Kifowit. “That is why this luncheon is supported by all three Chambers represented in Aurora; the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce.”

The lunch is being held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at newly opened Basil’s Restaurant, 4000 Fox Valley Center, Aurora, IL.

Tickets are $30 for the meal, and interested parties can call the Alderman’s office at (630) 844-3619 for more information and to RSVP.  Seating is limited.

House Speaker Michael Madigan Creates Jobs Task Force, Appoints Lou Lang Chair

House Speaker Michael Madigan

(Chicago, IL) – Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan last week created a new, bi-partisan jobs task force to tackle Illinois bulging, 10.9% unemployment rate.

Madigan empanelled the Bipartisan Jobs Creation Task Force and appointed Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) as chair.

Lang said the task force will focus on targeted legislative job creation initiatives that can be approved by the Illinois General Assembly during its spring 2010 term.

“This task force will act swiftly to identify legislative fixes that will help and encourage Illinois employers to hire new Illinois employees,” said Lang. “There will be no time wasted on unread reports or undoable grand schemes.”

For example, Lang cited state permit regulations that can delay new building and factory openings by several months as a potential target for reform.

“Without compromising employee safety, the task force will aim at obstacles that shackle an employer’s ability to get new employees working quickly,” said Lang.

Since the memo was issued, 30 lawmakers have signed up for the panel.

According to Madigan’s memo issued to lawmakers, “Task Force members will travel to key labor markets in various parts of the State to hold several hearings on potential legislative job initiatives.”

The task force will begin its work early January 2010.

“We have no time to waste,” said Lang.

Listen here to an interview with Lang at WJBC Radio …