Five years after taking office Governor Pat Quinn delivered his 2014 State of the State Address, outlining a five-year blueprint for Illinois.
The blueprint focuses on creating more jobs, better early childhood education, and a more fair economy.
“We inherited a perfect storm and repairing the damage that had been done over decades would not happen overnight.” Governor Quinn said in the address. “Over the past five years, we have rebuilt one hard step at a time and our economic recovery is strengthening every day. We’ve been getting the job done and Illinois is making a comeback.”
Even though Illinois’ unemployment rate is at its lowest point in almost five years, Governor Quinn outlined steps to help create even more jobs.
Governor Quinn hopes to help encourage entrepreneurs to start businesses by lowering the fee for opening a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
“In Illinois, new businesses have long paid a $500 LLC fee when they open up shop.” Governor Quinn said. “Let’s reduce this fee to $39, the lowest in the nation, and provide a boost to our innovators. This small but important step will encourage entrepreneurs to start their business and put more people to work.”
In addition to lowering the fee for an LLC Governor Quinn issued an Executive Order to establish a Small Business Advocate, who will examine policies and proposals to see how they will impact small businesses in Illinois.
“Let’s make life easier for our small businesses and make sure small business always means big business in Illinois.” Governor Quinn said.
Governor Quinn also called for more investment in BioHub, a biotech center for start-ups, and a doubling of investment in the Clean Water Initiative, a loan program that helps municipalities upgrade water and sewer systems.
When speaking on education, Governor Quinn laid out a “Birth to Five Initiative” that focuses on three keys to a healthy child in early childhood.
“Through our Birth to Five Initiative, over the next five years, we will work with our community partners; schools, hospitals, and faith-based organizations to identify expectant mothers and connect them to prenatal services.” Governor Quinn said. “We can ensure more children are born into the opportunities they deserve and we can save taxpayer money.”
The initiative focuses on connecting expecting mothers with prenatal care, providing access to quality early learning opportunities, and ensuring parents have strong support.
“Once our Birth to Five Initiative is fully implemented, mothers will be connected with prenatal care to ensure the healthy birth and development of their children.” Governor Quinn said. “Children in Illinois will have access to quality early learning, starting at birth. And parents will have the tools to lead their children toward success in school, college, career and beyond.”
One of the key components of Governor Quinn’s five-year blue print is to create a larger middle class, and to strengthen the economy so all Illinois residents have the opportunity to reach their potential.
One way Governor Quinn hopes to do this is by raising the minimum wage to at least $10 per hour.
“Raising wages for workers who are doing some of the hardest jobs in our society is not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for our economy.” Governor Quinn said. “According to the Federal Reserve, for every dollar increase in the minimum wage, workers spend an additional $2,800 in their local communities. Minimum-wage workers do not admire money in a bank vault. They spend it quickly and locally, a shot in the arm to our Main Street businesses.”
In addition to raising the minimum wage, Governor Quinn hopes to increase tax relief for working class families by once again doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was already doubled once in the last five years.
Governor Quinn’s final component to the blue print was to provide every worker in Illinois with at least two earned sick days.
“43 percent of all workers in Illinois, more than 2.5 million people, have no right to a single earned sick day.” Governor Quinn said. “Among our low-wage workers the problem is even worse, 80 percent of low-wage workers don’t receive any earned sick days. We need to do something about this. We should provide at least two earned sick days for every worker in Illinois.”
Governor Quinn ended his speech by outlining all the progress that has been made since taking office, while also looking towards the future.
“Together, we’ve weathered the worst man-made storm in our state’s history.” Governor Quinn said. “We’ve led Illinois’ comeback one hard step at a time. We’ve worked to repair decades of damage, and we’re getting the job done. Let’s keep our shoulder to the wheel and finish the job. Let’s make the will of the people the law of the land.”