Introduced on Feb. 14, Senate Bill 3313, which would make gas-powered leaf blowers illegal in Illinois, has some small business owners fearful for their future.
If the bill becomes law, failure to comply will result in a fine of $500. More importantly, for many landscaping businesses, it could be their death knell.
The proposed bill is the result of increased concern about fuel emissions into the air and its effect on people’s quality of life as a result. However, critics say the bill does not take into account the effect that it could have on small business owners who currently rely on gas-powered tools to perform their jobs. This bill could seriously damage their businesses if not effectively end them, according to the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI).
One such individual concerned about the bill is Kevin Kittoe of Oswego, Illinois. Kittoe is the new owner of a lawn care business and the proposed ban on gas-powered lawn care tools could cost him his business.
“This is how (people) pay their bills and feed their families,” Kittoe said. “This is it. This is all they have."
Kittoe provides services to about 20 clients in the city, consisting primarily of middle-class residential homes and other small businesses.
In the business of lawn care and landscaping, gas-powered leaf blowers and other lawn care tools are essential, the Illinois Policy Institute points out. Gas-powered leaf blowers are especially needed as they save the landscaper time with raking and cleaning. Banning gas-powered leaf blowers would create unneeded financial hardships for both lawn care businesses and their clients, the IBI said.
For example, the batteries of a cordless electric leaf blower would run for $150-$200 apiece, while needing to be recharged or replaced every 30 minutes. This would lead to an increase in labor cost for the clients being served.