Merchants association President Karr says omnibus energy bill is a ‘painful prospect for retailers’

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Merchants association President Karr says omnibus energy bill is a ‘painful prospect for retailers’ (Chicago, IL) – Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, echoed the concerns of the manufacturing industry that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Consumers and Climate First Act would be costly for businesses and consumers.

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“The speakers who came before me in this coalition, together, here this morning, did a great job of explaining the various concerns with the legislation which centers around transparency and accountability or the lack thereof,” Karr said.

He expressed his concerns about how the proposed bill will come at the price of sacrificing economic gains of industries relying on coal- and natural gas-fueled power plants.

“When Illinois deregulated its markets in 1997 that resulted in billions of dollars of savings to consumers of all kinds,” Karr pointed out. “It created a huge competitive advantage for Illinois which we retain to this day and made us a leader. From what we’ve been able to learn from this proposal under consideration it would undo that progress, putting in place the largest rate hike in history for businesses and consumers.”

The coalition said that discussions should have been brought to the table, business leaders’ opinions and facts should have been considered, and that the bill should have not been crafted behind closed doors.

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“This is a particularly painful prospect for retailers, many of whom were forced to limit or close their operations during the pandemic and others who experienced shutdowns, particularly in the city of Chicago, but also in other areas of the state due to civil unrest,” Karr said. “Transparency and accountability are what’s missing here.”

Pritzker’s omnibus package aims to eliminate coal usage by 2030 and natural gas by 2045.

According to the administration’s summary of the energy legislation, “Governor Pritzker believes it is past time to combat climate change by holding utility companies accountable to the ratepayers they serve, and rapidly transition to renewable energy.”

Merchants and manufacturers think it’s a massive added cost.

Merchants association President Karr says omnibus energy bill is a ‘painful prospect for retailers’

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