Small Business Saturday: Shoppers encouraged to support local businesses

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61% of Illinois’ retail store owners have closed up shop

Information provided by the Illinois Policy Institute

CHICAGO, Ill. (November. 25, 2020) – As Illinoisans shop local on Small Business Saturday this year (November 28), new analysis shows there are fewer of them than there were last year.

The Illinois Policy Institute found Illinois has 11,200 fewer retail business owners as compared to last year, a drop of 61%. Bar and restaurant ownership took an even harder hit, with nearly 17,600, or 71%, of Illinois’ bars and restaurants closed compared to 2019.

While it is still too early to tell how many of these closures will be permanent, the reinstatement of Tier 3 mitigation protocols Nov. 20 that limit economic activity without substantial government relief of any form make permanent business closures more likely.

In Illinois, Small Business Saturday comes as Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is pursuing new tax hikes, such as raising the state income tax.

Small Business Saturday important for local businesses

Increasing taxes and more restrictive COVID mitigations mean that small businesses need help more than ever before. Shoppers should consider shopping local this holiday season to help support floundering businesses.

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The original small business analysis found:
  • While some business owners have likely found other work, overall, Illinois has 10,200 fewer people who are self-employed compared to last year.
  • It isn’t just business owners who are hurting. Illinois is down more than 415,000 jobs compared to before the pandemic. In the food industry, there are 108,600 fewer jobs, compared to February. In the retail industry, there are 13,900 fewer jobs.
  • Many Illinois small businesses have been forced to close entirely because of COVID-19 and state-mandated lockdowns. New Tier 3 mitigation measures will likely result in further job losses and business closures.
  • The state’s high tax environment has created one of the least friendly business tax climates when compared to neighboring states, primarily driven by high property taxes, unemployment insurance and corporate taxes.
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“Small Business Saturday offers a moment to focus on the value these businesses bring to the economy,” said Bryce Hill, senior research analyst at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute. “Raising taxes during a recession is the wrong thing to do for small businesses across the state, especially because many of them are struggling to keep the doors open. With so many local businesses and workers damaged by the COVID-19 downturn, it is imperative that lawmakers commit to avoiding the future harm tax hikes will do to businesses and jobs.”

To read the full analysis, visit: illin.is/small-biz.