Pritzker's Victory Spells Trouble for Illinois Small Businesses

Date: December 23, 2018

Related Content: News State Illinois Labor Taxes

J.B. Pritzker, who beat Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Nov. 6 election, won’t be sworn in until January, but based on his campaign promises, Illinois’ small businesses already are bracing for a “progressive wave” of legislation including higher taxes and legislation that would help organized labor at employers’ expense.

Pritzker has recently backed off on his call for changing Illinois’s flat income tax rate to a progressive tax, which is a tax that imposes a higher tax rate on people with higher incomes. House Speaker Mike Madigan has endorsed the idea, but changing Illinois’s tax structure would require a state constitutional amendment, and that would take a couple of years to pass, assuming it passes at all.

Another likely source of new revenue is a tax on labor and services. This has been on NFIB’s radar the last few legislative sessions, and we think it may return as early as 2019.

Pritzker also is likely to come out with a capital projects bill which will require lots of new revenue. So where to get the money? The likely source is a hike to the motor fuel tax. Given current fuel prices and what will likely be bipartisan support for infrastructure projects, this will likely be an easier lift for a new administration. However, NFIB asked about this in our 2018 member ballot, and 78 percent of members who responded were against an increase in the motor fuel tax.

The governor-elect also has worked closely with organized labor on his legislative agenda. He supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage, predictive scheduling, mandated paid sick leave for all workers, and other propositions that would make it even harder for small businesses to operate in Illinois.

Now more than ever, it is critical that we have a strong voice for small business. We need members that will contact their elected officials and speak to the media about how these proposals will affect you.

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