CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Governor Bruce Rauner has proclaimed this ‘Small Business Week’ in Illinois. But the owner of a south suburban company says the governor's words don't match the state's actions.
As FOX 32’s Dane Placko reports, he and others are furious about a plan they believe could shutter hundreds of mom and pop businesses.
Mars Medical Equipment and supplies is the very definition of a mom and pop business. The company employs six people in south suburban New Lenox and provides incontinence supplies to about 400 Illinois Medicaid recipients in the area.
But perhaps not much longer.
"I'm looking at my end and looking at where my future goes from here,” said company owner Paul Marolda.
Marolda says he may be forced to close because of a proposed change by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Earlier this year, the agency put out a bid request for a $50-million contract that would use one large company to provide all the incontinence supplies statewide rather than the 400 regional suppliers.
Marolda says his frustration only grew when he heard Governor Rauner proclaim this ‘Small Business Week’ in the state of Illinois.
"We're here to celebrate small business. Small business is the key to prosperity in the State of Illinois and throughout the United States of America,” Rauner said.
"I do believe the statements are hypocritical based on... you can't promote small business and then pick large businesses to win large contracts,” Marolda added.
In a statement, a spokesman for Healthcare and Family Services says: "The department initiated this process to achieve cost savings and better quality control…and HFS continues to pursue all available options to find the best way to achieve these goals."
The trade association that represents the small providers says they've offered to cut their rates to match the savings of a single provider.
Marolda says he voted for Rauner in order to improve the state's business climate.
"And now I just wonder where his heart really lies in all of this. I've reached out and never really received any response,” Marolda said.
A spokesperson for the governor says the bigger picture beyond one single contract is the governor continues to push to make Illinois’ small business climate more friendly by lowering taxes and cutting red tape.