Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) on the House floor | repugaste.com
Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) did not need a new survey to tell him the heavily regulated state needs to loosen up a bit if it wants to attract new businesses and hang on to the ones that remain.
“We don’t have to be the most favorable state in terms of regulations, but we have to allow ourselves to be able to compete,” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter. “We can’t try to dictate everything to the point we stifle our own growth. We have to let business people do what they do best in running their businesses and allowing more people to prosper.”
Ugaste's position is supported by a new George Mason University survey that ranks Illinois as the third most regulated state in the U.S. with 259,832 state restrictions, including more than 22,000 in the chemical manufacturing sector alone. State lawmakers have sought to impose standards on everything from frozen pizza businesses to fireworks and youth football.
“I saw a report not long ago that talked about how Illinois only produced 1,300 jobs over the last year for the slowest growth we’ve had in years,” Ugaste said. “It's things like this that leads to that. My hope is that when more lawmakers see more of the loss of businesses, loss in population and loss in tax revenue, maybe they’ll change their minds about the way we’re doing things.”
A separate 2018 study gave Illinois a failing grade for its policies on taxes, labor and licensure, ultimately naming it the least business-friendly state in the U.S. because of the excessive taxes and fees imposed on business owners.
Ugaste, meanwhile, is encouraging voters to become even more vigilant if they have any hope of inspiring change.
“What voters need to do is find people who are interested in protecting the people of the state while at the same time letting them do what they do best in running their business and prospering for themselves.”