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Kane County business leaders worry about tax cuts expiring

AURORA – As the vice president of Alarm Detection Systems in Aurora, Ed Bonifas is concerned about what would happen to his business if the tax cuts implemented during George W. Bush’s administration are allowed to expire at the end of the year.

“We run a small family business here,” Bonifas said during a roundtable discussion Friday held at his company. “The government sector needs to take the same kind of hits the private sector has.”

U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale, joined the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce and local business leaders for a roundtable discussion on the effect of automatic tax hikes on jobs and growth in suburban Chicago.

The U.S. Senate this week voted 51-48 to extend Bush-era tax cuts for family income up to $250,000 a year. Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House plan to vote next week to extend the tax cuts for 2013 for taxpayers at all income levels.

Kenneth Knight, general manager of Caterpillar’s Aurora plant, said it’s difficult for businesses to make decisions because of the uncertainty of the tax code.

“It’s hard to put together business plans with that uncertainty,” Knight said.

Doug Whitley, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and a Batavia resident, said he believes the U.S. Congress and U.S. government have been a barrier to economic development.

“We need a tax code that gives a lot of playing field with the rest of the world,” Whitley said.

Biggert said raising taxes would be the worst thing to do for the still fragile recovery. She cited an independent study that showed the administration’s small business tax hike would cost the economy more than 700,000 jobs.

“It’s not the government that can create jobs; it’s you all,” Biggert said to the business leaders. “And we have put up so many barriers.”

Democrat Bill Foster, Biggert’s opponent in the Nov. 6 general election, said he was in favor of extending tax cuts for the middle class. He was not part of the roundtable discussion.

“Experience shows that economic growth is always highest when the middle class prospers,” Foster said in a statement. “My opponent is holding middle class tax cuts hostage to guarantee benefits for the wealthiest and for the corporations that fund her campaigns. I believe in supporting middle class families first, and believe that’s the best way to get our economy back on track.”

From 2008 to 2011, Foster represented Illinois’s 14th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Foster was defeated in November 2010 by then-State Sen. Randy Hultgren, a Republican, of Winfield.

The newly drawn 11th District includes North Aurora, Aurora, Naperville, Lisle and Joliet.

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