At a meeting today of Chicago area business owners and leaders, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said the country needs to "restart the growth engine" with capital and other financial products and services that businesses and consumers need.
He said that all businesses - "from the Fortune 500 to Main Street shops to nimble startups" - have to have access to short and long term capital, liquidity and risk management tools.
"Most can’t survive, let alone grow, without it," he was quoted in a press release. "And our economy can’t grow without them.
“Some of the loudest voices in the debate over our financial system have forgotten, ignored, or obscured the fact that capital markets are ultimately about growth—that they are the lifeblood of our economy.”
To strenghthen the financial sector, Donohue called on lawmakers to restructure the country's financial regulatory system, reform regulatory processes of the Federal Reserve and pursue regulatory fixes that would restore lending to businesses.
The Cook County Record is owned by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.
Donohue was joined by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who's currently locked in a long-standing battle with a Democratic legislature over his own pro-growth "Turnaround" agenda.
Components of Rauner's agenda which have been resisted by the legislature include workers' compensation reform, term limits, collective bargaining, property tax freeze, tort reform and other items.
For most of Rauner's term, the state has operated without an approved budget. A Senate vote on an omnibus budget package had been set for Thursday, but was put off until members reconvene on Feb. 7.
Rauner said the state needs to grow the economy so that Illinois "regains its place as the economic engine of the Midwest.”
“As I told lawmakers in the State of the State Address this week, we are encouraged by the bipartisan discussions in the senate and urge them to keep working aggressively to reach a compromise in order for Illinois to thrive,” he stated.
Donohue also called the Illinois Chamber of Commerce a "powerful champion" for the state’s business community. He indicated that state and local chambers will play an important role in facilitating a nationwide conversation on fostering economic growth.
“As surrounding states aggressively adopt pro-growth policies, it is essential for Illinois to keep pace,” said Illinois Chamber President Todd Maisch.
“The Illinois Chamber is working for progress, especially for modern policies and regulatory structures, that will improve Illinois’ climate for investment and access to capital. We want an Illinois that can be recognized as a great place to do business and create jobs.”