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Illinois gives small businesses a boost

New law allows more small businesses to compete for state contracts

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[JULY 23, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Building on his pledge to expand business opportunities for small-business owners across the state, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed House Bill 4947 on Tuesday. The bill allows the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to set aside more contracts and allow more small business companies to participate in the Small Business Set-Aside Program. Currently, about 3,000 businesses participate in this program, which gives a preference to small businesses competing for state contracts. With this new law, an additional 3,300 may be eligible to participate in the program.

In order to participate in the Small Business Set-Aside Program, Illinois businesses must meet certain criteria. To qualify as a small business, the amount of annual sales is considered. The cap on annual sales was previously set at $1.5 million for retail businesses and $7.5 million for wholesale businesses. The newly signed bill increases the caps so that more companies can be considered small businesses when competing for state contracts. Retail businesses with annual sales of up to $6 million and wholesale businesses with annual sales up to $10 million will now be able to participate. As a result, more Illinois small businesses will be able to contract with the state, which will in turn help those businesses increase their annual sales.

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. David Miller, D- Dolton, and Sen. James DeLeo, D-Chicago.

"This law will allow more small Illinois businesses to compete in the bidding process for state contracts and help them take the first steps toward success," said Gov. Blagojevich. "I commend Rep. Miller and Sen. DeLeo for their hard work on behalf of small-business owners throughout the state."

"I realize the need for small businesses across the state to gain access to opportunities that are available. This legislation helps ensure that small businesses remain competitive," said Rep. Miller.


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The Small Business Set-Aside Program allows for the chief procurement officer of the state of Illinois to allocate a fair portion of construction, supply and service contracts for award to small businesses in Illinois. In fiscal 2003, the program awarded $5,914,888 in contracts for services such as heating repair, carpentry, painting, window washing, mail services, word processing and landscaping.

"The caps in the existing program were outdated and did not allow for growth," said Michael Rumman, CMS director and chief procurement officer. "Ironically, smaller businesses that participated in this program in the past and which were successful could, while still relatively small, grow too large to continue in the program. HB 4947 will expand small-business opportunities and growth. More contracts will be set aside and additional small businesses will be able to participate."

House Bill 4947 takes effect Jan. 1, 2005.

[News release from the governor's office]

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