CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that over 63,000 individuals have visited and used the Illinois Business Portal since it was launched last February. The Web site – located at www.business.illinois.gov - offers a one-stop shop for any business to interact with state government, containing all the critical information, forms, and resources to make it easier to operate in Illinois. Starting today, the portal launched a new homepage that asks visitors to send feedback on Gov. Blagojevich’s key business initiatives, including reducing small business health insurance costs, reforming workers’ compensation, and cutting red tape to help businesses run more efficiently.
“Through our Web site, thousands of business owners are finding the information that they need to start up and stay in Illinois, which will help them create jobs and contribute to our state’s economic growth. We have negotiated investment deals with over 230 companies in the past two years to create and retain thousands of jobs in Illinois, but in order for the state to remain competitive, we want to attract more businesses, and one of the best ways to do this is to make it as easy as possible to operate in Illinois. We’re going to continue to work with business owners to cut red tape, reduce health insurance costs, and reforms workers’ compensation. With the new surveys on the Web site, we’re looking for the business community to become more involved in these initiatives,” said the Governor.
The current content on the Web site represents the collaborative effort of more than 10 executive agencies – including the Departments of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Revenue, Employment Security, Financial and Professional Regulation, and the Environmental Protection Agency – as well as contributions from four of Illinois’ five other constitutionally elected offices.
“Instead of spending hours running around government offices, trying to get forms, permits and other information they need to operate, in just three months over 63,000 business owners have obtained the same information in a few, simple clicks. But this is a two-way street: business owners can find the information they need, but they can also provide us with critical feedback that will help us create a healthier business environment. The feedback feature will be a very important part in our effort to make it easier to run a business in Illinois,” said Nicole Hanrahan, Executive Director of the Governor’s Initiative on Regulatory Reform.
Important topics covered on the Web site include:
- An easy-to-use feedback feature that allows users to provide input on how to improve workers’ compensation, and how to further eliminate red tape. The feature also asks users to fill out a survey on the small business health insurance plan also announced by Governor Blagojevich during his State of the State speech. The plan is being developed in partnership with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce.
- Descriptions of various state grant, loan, and incentive programs with instructions on how to apply for them
- Online services for critical tasks such as registering to pay taxes, renewing a professional license, or finding a parcel of land or building in which to start or expand a business
- Access to hundreds of useful forms from a variety of different state agencies
- Resources for hiring and training employees
- Step-by-step guides for starting a business in Illinois
“The Business Portal is a convenient and effective tool for businesses in Illinois. It serves as a one-stop resource and helps increase efficiency. I applaud Governor Blagojevich’s vision and leadership in helping make our state increasingly business friendly,” said Juan Ochoa, president of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Research conducted in 2004 by the Pew Institute showed 72 % of Internet users contact government Web sites to obtain information and conduct business. Additional 2004 research by federal agencies and the Ohio state government projected that online services can reduce compliance costs for businesses, which in turn can provide impetus for economic development and job creation.