Willis Backed Bill to Eliminate Advertising Fee on Businesses Signed into Law

NORTHLAKE, Ill. – A new law backed by state Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) removes a burdensome and unnecessary billboard fee that businesses have been required to pay and the state government has been required to collect, despite costing more to administer the program than the revenue collected.

"This common-sense legislation eliminates a requirement on businesses that serves no purpose and costs employers and taxpayers money for very little in return," Willis said.

Illinois previously entered into an agreement with the federal government to assume responsibility for regulating the placement of billboard advertising along the interstate highway system, in exchange for federal funding. The state no longer receives federal funding, but the program is still in place, requiring Illinois businesses to pay a fee between $20 and $300 to display a sign along the interstate.

The measure, now Public Act 98-0056, eliminates the costly and inefficient billboard registration system, which has cost taxpayers over $1 million to enforce since Fiscal Year 2011. The Illinois Department of Transportation estimates it would cost over $16.4 million to continue enforcing the program for the next 20 years.

"Our work does not end here," Willis said. "As a first year legislator, I believe we must scrutinize the use of tax dollars on every state-administered program. We must continue to pay down our backlog of bills and craft a state budget that lives within our means. I remain committed to creating a more fiscally responsible government and supporting our local businesses."