BudgetQuote Murphy2021 1

SPRINGFIELD – Following the governor’s annual budget address Wednesday, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) issued the following statement:

“The past year posed unprecedented challenges to families and businesses in Illinois and across the nation. To bring our state and local economies back on track, it’s critical that we move forward with a concrete financial recovery plan, and that starts with a balanced budget.

“I’m relieved to hear the state budget will make our full required pension payment without overtaxing the working-class families still struggling to make ends meet as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“But, the governor’s proposal isn’t perfect. On top of pandemic-related hardships, Illinois households are still facing longstanding issues, like hefty property tax burdens and skyrocketing tuition costs. I plan to continue negotiations with my colleagues in the General Assembly to get our state through the current crisis and find long-term solutions to the problems we’ve been facing for decades.”

01122021CM0313SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) and other members of the Senate Commerce Committee questioned representatives from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and communicated concerns from their local business owners at Thursday’s subject matter hearing regarding the Business Interruption Grant program.

“Today’s hearing shed some light on the processes the department used to evaluate applications and distribute BIG funds, but our small businesses deserve complete transparency,” Murphy said. “We need access to all available information to properly evaluate how small business owners could be better served in the future.”

Murphy and the committee were joined by Cara Bader, chief of staff at DCEO, and other department staff to discuss how the agency reviewed applications, communicated with awardees and unsuccessful applicants, and distributed BIG funds in both rounds of the program.

Legislators used the hearing as an opportunity to offer feedback to the department on behalf of their respective small business communities. Elliot Richardson, president of the Small Business Advocacy Council, also joined the meeting to give the Illinois small business community at large a seat at the table on future recovery efforts.

During the hearing, Murphy raised questions about how the department communicated eligibility criteria to applicants and how they are currently engaging stakeholders to improve future programming.

“The vaccine rollout is underway and many businesses have reopened, but our main streets are still struggling,” Murphy said. “We must consider the needs of our small business owners at every stage of our state’s recovery.”

The BIG program was developed last spring to provide $580 million in economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. Grantees could use funding to help with working capital expenses, including payroll, rent, utilities and other operational costs.

Committee schedules, virtual proceedings, witness slips and more are available at www.ilga.gov.

01092021CM0247SPRINGFIELD – With businesses still recovering from closures and mitigations imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) has called a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee to investigate the distribution of funding through the Business Interruption Grant program.

“The BIG program was created to support the businesses in our communities that have suffered losses as a result of the pandemic, but many business owners were denied funding without explanation,” Murphy said. “It is essential that the legislative branch has the chance to ask questions and evaluate the program to ensure these funds were distributed fairly and efficiently.”

Murphy and the committee will be joined by representatives from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to discuss how the department reviewed applications, communicated with awardees and unsuccessful applicants, and distributed BIG funds in both rounds of the program.

The BIG program was developed last spring to provide $580 million in economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. Grantees could use funding to help with working capital expenses, including payroll, rent, utilities and other operational costs.

The hearing will take place Thursday, Feb. 11 at 9:30 a.m. Additional witnesses can submit written testimony online at www.ilga.gov.

To watch virtual committee proceedings, visit https://ilga.gov/senateaudvid.asp and click “Watch Live Virtual Committee Video.” The link will be available when the committee is called to order.

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Springfield Office:
108E Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3875

District Office:
880 Lee St. Suite 100
Des Plaines, IL 60016

 (847) 718-1110