Gov. Bruce Rauner starts initiative to cut bureaucratic ‘red tape’


Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at an event. Rauner introduced Monday a new commission that will work to cut red tape in the state government.

Nora Shelly, City Editor

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order Monday creating a commission to overhaul Illinois’ regulatory standards.

The newly-created Illinois Competitiveness Council is charged with reviewing the state’s regulations and ensuring they are up to date, easy to understand and not unnecessarily burdensome for potential business owners.

The state’s current regulations may be partially to blame for Illinois’s slow economic growth in recent years, Rauner said at a press conference on Monday.

“Since the recession ended, Indiana has added 84,000 more manufacturing jobs … and how many has Illinois added? Zero,” he said.

Rauner cited the state’s location in the center of the country and its transportation infrastructure as reasons Illinois’ economy could be stronger. Rauner said the initiative could help small businesses in particular.

“We have every reason to thrive,” Rauner said. “Our regulations are impacting our economy everywhere … If you’re a small business owner … you’re not going to have the ability to get through this red tape and figure out the myriad of rules and regulations and restrictions.”

The council will be headed by U-Jung Choe, executive director of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, and will also include a representative of each of the state’s regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Public Health and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Choe said in a news release she is hoping the commission will “cultivate an atmosphere that makes it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and flourish.”

“Illinois is currently a patchwork of duplicative, contradictory and outdated regulations,” she said. “The Illinois Competitiveness Council will take an all-encompassing look at the state’s policies, rules and regulations.”

According to the executive order, agencies, boards and authorities under the executive branch of Illinois will be required to review their administrative rules and policies as part of the initiative.

The rules or policies would have to meet various criteria in order to remain unchanged, according to the order. The criteria includes that the rule or regulation is necessary and consistent with rules in other agencies and does not create an “undue” administrative delay or backlog.

The agencies are required to have their reviews completed by May 2017.

Some of the state’s regulations, Rauner said, had good intentions when first implemented, but have had unintended consequences. Others, he said, seem to have been designed to protect a certain market or business from competition.

Rauner said a tough regulatory environment may be hurting the state’s minority communities.

“We need to have open competition,” he said. “Especially to give minority entrepreneurs a chance to compete … where they aren’t able to compete because they have disadvantages.”

Clearing up state regulations would be essential for the entire state, Rauner said.

“If we don’t have businesses, we don’t have jobs,” he said. “If we don’t have businesses, we don’t have a tax base.”

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