CHICAGO (CBS) — Business groups complained to Illinois lawmakers Tuesday about taxes, in the first of four hearings to examine the state’s tax structure after personal and corporate income taxes were raised earlier this year.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports, State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), called for the hearings.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports

The move came after threats to leave the state over the tax hike from several major companies, including Peoria-based heavy equipment Caterpillar, Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade, and retail giant Sears.

“Certainly the recent tax increase eliminated what we would view as a competitive advantage Illinois enjoyed,” said Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer for the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, during testimony at the four-hour hearing.

The corporate rate went up from 4.8 to 7 percent earlier this year.

At the hearing Tuesday, state Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) argued against the panel becoming a political show. He said there must be a reduction in taxpayer liability for businesses and individuals.

“There is a palpable fear and growing anger about the jobs situation in this state and nationally,” Murphy said. “And I would caution to the extent that this is some sort of an exercise politically to put a check in a box next to tax reform. And we’re going to kind of nibble at the margins and just say, `Hey, we did tax reform’ and go run on that next November.

“I would caution … to tread lightly because people are in no mood at this point and time for gimmicks,” he said.

The hearing Tuesday was held in Chicago, and lasted four hours. Other hearings are planned for Rockford, Springfield and Marion.