Illinois slices into family deli’s bottom line

Illinois slices into family deli’s bottom line

Gov. J.B. Pritzker added $650 million in taxes and fee hikes for small businesses in his last budget. Voters will decide Nov. 8 if Illinois’ business climate will get tougher, yet, through Amendment 1.

When Mario Conforti joined his family’s delicatessen full-time in 2020, he quickly realized how costly running a business in Illinois could be. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s $650 million in tax hikes aimed at small businesses aren’t helping.

“Tax and fee hikes are really tough for small businesses like us. Our margins are pretty tight, so tax hikes hit us the hardest. Our sales have gone up a lot but our monthly tax payments are huge, too, which is eye-opening,” Conforti said.

In 2019, Pritzker’s budget added 24 new taxes and fees, including $650 million in tax hikes targeting small businesses. About 70% of the state’s job creation comes from small businesses.

Illinois’ record of taxes and fees has caused the state to become one of the worst places to do business in the Midwest. Among Illinois and its neighbors, only Illinois dropped in the Tax Foundation’s Business Tax Climate rankings since 2018. Illinois’ business climate dropped seven places, to 36th from 29th in four years.

A worsening business climate and rising taxes leave business owners such as Conforti more susceptible during economic downturns.

“Inflation has definitely been our biggest challenge for the last 18 months or so. Prices have been going up on everything. People are including gas surcharges on almost everything, which is frustrating,” Conforti said. “It’s just an additional flat cost. It started with COVID, and now with gas prices, even shipping costs have skyrocketed.”

Having a competitive tax system is important and Illinois is in danger of completely falling out of the race if voters approve Amendment 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Under Amendment 1, businesses will be at risk for significant tax increases as Illinois would become the only state to decree public union powers as nearly untouchable, putting the weight of the Illinois Constitution behind union bosses’ abilities to strike over a virtually limitless list of demands and the ability to override state law through their contracts. Greater public union demands mean greater demands for taxpayers to fund those demands.

Additionally, the unconstitutional conflict Amendment 1 creates between federal and state law would generate legal questions that must be decided by the courts. Private-sector employers could face unfair labor practice claims by failing to comply with Amendment 1. The increased costs of public union bosses’ demands and labor lawsuits would fall on small business owners. It would also saddle the average family with a $2,100 property tax increase.

Amendment 1 includes a guarantee that, if passed, taxpayers and lawmakers would have an extremely difficult time stopping continued tax and fee increases and the exodus of jobs and families from the state.

On Nov. 8, voters will decide whether continued tax hikes should fall on small businesses and working families or whether they are no longer limitless ATMs for politicians wooing union bosses.

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