Oak Lawn renews business license amnesty

Oak Lawn renews business license amnesty

Illinois Policy Institute research inspired Oak Lawn to waive licensing fees for hundreds of businesses in the village. The village board unanimously voted to extend the amnesty.

The Oak Lawn Village Board unanimously approved waiving business licensing fees for the second year in a row.

The amnesty was inspired by Illinois Policy Institute research showing Gov. J.B. Pritzker had handed businesses $650 million in tax and fee hikes since taking office.

The amnesty is specifically for business, liquor, tobacco, gaming and video gaming license fees for fiscal year 2023 for any business with operations in Oak Lawn. The measure passed Oct. 24.

The median commercial property tax bill in Oak Lawn went up 3.84% to $12,036, according to the Cook County Treasurer. But some Oak Lawn businesses saw much higher hikes to their tax bills.

“The recent Cook County triennial property tax assessment hit many of our commercial property owners very hard, with some seeing 30-40% increases,” said Jamie Pembroke, 4th District trustee.

Trustee Ralph Soch, 6th District, said the original reasons for the amnesty are still plaguing businesses.

“Our business community is still struggling with inflation, labor shortages, and other economic challenges, and we need to do everything we can to help them be successful,” said Soch.

Since 2022 the village has seen 125 new businesses open, thanks in part to the village improving its business climate.

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