NFIB Joins Coalition of Business Groups Opposing Energy Bill

Date: June 16, 2021

NFIB, the state’s leading small business advocacy organization, has joined 19 other business groups in urging Gov. J.B. Pritzker to back off proposed legislation that would lead to “the largest rate hike on consumers and businesses in history.”

The letter criticizes the administration for working on the proposed legislation behind closed doors rather than seeking input from consumers.

“Since 1997, there has never been energy legislation subject to less transparency or accountability. Given the lack of transparency under which it has been developed, rate payers and policy makers deserve the benefit of full disclosure and independent verification of the cost impacts.

“On behalf of the people most impacted by this legislation, we urge you to delay this legislation and meaningfully engage the consumers, business owners, organizations, and municipalities that will be saddled with the costs.”

Here is the letter:

In 1997, Illinois deregulated the energy market resulting in billions of dollars in savings for homeowners and businesses. Our low-cost energy prices and reliable grid have been cited by governors time and again as reasons why businesses should stay in or relocate to Illinois.

Twenty-four years later, instead of building on this strength, the proposed energy legislation being circulated will be the largest rate hike on consumers and businesses in history. At least as it has been described to us by several of those who have been fortunate enough to be included in the discussions.

This legislation not only includes a rate hike for low-income families in every part of this state, but also on every business and organization large and small. Lobbyists for the environmental community and many others appear to have had unfettered access in writing a bill that imposes massive costs on others. On several occasions we have requested economic, reliability, and rate impact studies and the raw data inputs that undergird them. Those requests have been ignored. These are landmark energy changes will upend Illinois’ competitive energy marketplace. Ironically, as the state and Chicago proudly announced the Phase 5 reopening many of those same businesses and organizations are going to be saddled with significantly higher electricity costs, as reflected by those industries that have signed this letter.

At a minimum, we project the first installment of the cost increase on businesses and municipalities to be $700 million annually; including an additional $215 million to pay for new programs paid for by ratepayers without their input. Due to the lack of transparency and accountability in this process – meaning there is no data provided to outline the costs of every fee, mandate, and regulation in this bill – we are calling this legislation an installment because this legislation will only keep sending higher bills every step of the way. In a nutshell, this legislation will be a credit card that keeps spending money without any accountability. Period.

Since 1997, there has never been energy legislation subject to less transparency or accountability. Given the lack of transparency under which it has been developed, rate payers and policy makers deserve the benefit of full disclosure and independent verification of the cost impacts.

On behalf of the people most impacted by this legislation, we urge you to delay this legislation and meaningfully engage the consumers, business owners, organizations and municipalities that will be saddled with the costs.

The letter is signed by NFIB, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, BOMA, the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, the Hospitality Business Association of Chicago, API-Illinois Petroleum Council, Illinois Industrial Energy Consumers, The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Illinois Municipal League, the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, the Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Associated Builders & Contractors IL Chapter, the Midwest Hardware Association, and Valley Industrial Association.

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