The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce (OBCC) and Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership (EDP) strongly oppose a business registration program in Oak Brook, for the following reasons:
Voices in support of business registration argue that the fire department needs more information in order to conduct inspections. However, we are not aware of a compelling reason to ramp up fire inspections in Oak Brook, nor do we believe that a business registration program in Oak Brook would add anything to Oak Brook‘s current ability to conduct inspections or improve its inspection efficiency. In fact, a business in one nearby community recently lodged complaints against its municipality for using its business registration process to disrupt their business operations with intrusive and arbitrary inspections.
Furthermore, if the Village has an interest in registering businesses for the purpose of tracking and monitoring all businesses on an ongoing basis, it should realize that municipalities can never accomplish this, with or without a registration program. Such a program would require the Village to significantly and continually increase its administrative and fire department personnel, at an increasing cost, while providing little, if any, benefit to Village operations. This seems impractical, especially given the current budgetary burdens of municipalities, including Oak Brook.
The proposal also implies that the Village should be concerned that some other municipalities have business registration programs, while Oak Brook does not. A municipality like Oak Brook, which has a longstanding history of working closely with its business community to grow its local economy, should not focus on doing what other less prosperous communities are doing. If the Village had not followed its own unique and innovative plan, which is based on a mutually beneficial economic relationship between businesses and residents, Oak Brook would not be the thriving community it is today. A business registration program had nothing to do with this success.
The communities that have business registration programs include home rule communities with heavy taxing authority that charge extremely high fees and taxes to businesses and residents. Some of these communities have tax rates three and four times higher than Oak Brook’s. They also have very different corporate community demographics and, therefore, large property tax burdens. In addition, superfluous fee programs like this proposed business registration program usually necessitate more and more fees and taxes for businesses and residents over time. This would eventually have an impact on the cost to do business here and the cost for Oak Brook’s residents to live here. This will chip away at Oak Brook’s current strong corporate cost advantage over surrounding communities.
Instead of instituting an onerous and nonessential business registration program, we hope the Village will stay focused on ensuring Oak Brook’s economic growth and long-term sustainability. We urge the Village to strengthen its efforts to solve Oak Brook’s emerging commercial development and infrastructure challenges and keep working to manage well the continually growing number of planning, zoning, and permitting requests from residents and businesses. We firmly believe that a business registration program will distract the Village from essential governmental responsibilities and will likely impair Oak Brook’s performance and success in these areas.