Municipal officials would not be able to block large retailers from locating in their communities if those businesses meet currently established construction and zoning guidelines, under legislation I am sponsoring.

Municipal leaders who are trying to keep businesses from locating within their corporate boundaries – for whatever reasons – are denying their citizens jobs during a time of high unemployment, limiting much-needed city and state tax revenues, and ignoring quality-of-life concerns in neighborhoods where residents do not have easy access to full-service stores that offer affordable food and household goods.

My legislation, which will be added to Senate Bill 2186, will bar a municipality from enacting ordinances or zoning decisions to prohibit or restrict a retailer from locating within the municipality if the retailer otherwise meets all necessary requirements for construction and development.

This bill addresses situations such as the attempt in 2006 by the Chicago City Council to enact a “big box store” ordinance that would set wage and benefit standards for large retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Target. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley vetoed that ordinance, but the threat of another effort to pass a “big box store” ordinance has squelched economic development opportunities by mega-retailers within the city’s corporate boundaries.

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