Our lawmakers have demonstrated short-sighted behavior that will prove detrimental to the Illinois business community. Until they start thinking about the long-term, big picture consequences of their decisions, all Illinoisans will suffer more than they already have.
Take for example Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision to raise the Illinois minimum wage each year until it reaches $15 in 2025. Last year, business owners faced two of these increases, followed by a third one in January 2021. While some will benefit from these increases in wages, many others will lose their jobs because of them. Many small businesses will be forced to cut jobs in light of the pay increases. For some, this added cost could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and they’ll be forced to shut down permanently.
There’s also SB 72, a bill that would significantly increase litigation costs for small businesses and incentivize trial attorneys to bring frivolous personal injury lawsuits against businesses. Illinois has strong and costly worker protections, but this proposal is just another incentive for Illinois small businesses to cut back, shut down or leave this already difficult state.
In addition to the wage increases and SB 72, there are other, more blatantly anti-business initiatives that are currently in the works, starting with Gov. Pritzker’s ongoing push to close $932 million in “corporate tax loopholes.”
One of these so-called “loopholes” that Pritzker wishes to eliminate is a provision in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that is intended to help struggling businesses recover what the pandemic stole from them. In January, the governor proposed to eliminate this provision so that rather than receiving up to $1 billion in state tax relief, Illinois small business owners would instead face a $1 billion tax hike. Luckily, his first attempts to cancel this tax relief failed during the closing days of the General Assembly’s lame-duck session. However, in recent weeks, news broke that Pritzker is once again trying to push through this anti-business legislation.
It’s truly unbelievable to watch the leaders of Illinois, in particular the governor, advocate so tirelessly against small businesses. These small business owners have had to contend with the loss of revenue, employees, income, and have become targets for COVID-related litigation claims.
The billion-dollar tax relief currently in place will do wonders to help these at-risk businesses. To take it away would be a travesty. Business owners would lose the relief and support they clearly need. Pritzker’s labeling the tax hikes as closing “corporate loopholes” is intentionally misleading. They are tax incentives that keep businesses competitive and help businesses survive. As the rest of the nation is committed to creating more jobs and strengthening the economy, Illinois needs to do the same or continue to fall further behind our neighboring states.
As we try our best to rebuild the economy, we must realize that small businesses are the key to succeeding. They provide the jobs we need to employ our people, the money our economy needs to recover, and the services that define our communities. I urge Illinois lawmakers to recognize this value and promote policies that encourage its growth, not its destruction.
This article was originally posted on Illinois’ economic recovery hindered by lawmakers’ anti-business decisions