The Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University plans to close March 31 as a direct result of the long-running state budget impasse.
The center is funded by state grants, which are caught up in the budget battle, now in its eight month. On average, 600 local businesses get assistance through the center annually.
Former Democratic Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who is seeking the Illinois Senate seat in the 58th District, is speaking out against the budget impasse and its impact on SIU's Small Business Development Center
"Small businesses are the engine of Southern Illinois' economy. The closure of the Small Business Development Center is a critical, and entirely preventable, loss." Simon said in a statement. "We're losing jobs in Southern Illinois because of inaction in Springfield."
Simon called on Gov. Bruce Rauner "to stop placing his political plans before Illinois families and jobs."
"The governor and legislative leaders need to know that the lack of a budget is causing a crisis. We are suffering losses in human services, in public jobs, and now we will be losing a link to the free market system that is the foundation of a strong local economy," she said. "I'm ready to step up and be a voice for Southern Illinoisans in Springfield, so our state can get to back work."