(The Center Square) – Illinois has lost more than a third of its small businesses since the beginning of the year, according to TrackTheRecovery.org.
A small business association said it is heartbreaking.
The data compiled by Harvard and Brown universities and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows as of Nov. 16, 2020, the number of small businesses open decreased by 35.4 percent compared to January of this year.
The national average businesses not open compared to January is 28.9 percent fewer. Washington D.C. had the worst loss at 47.1 percent fewer small businesses. Nebraska and North Carolina had the best showing at 20.5 percent fewer.
Small business revenues have also taken a hit nationwide. The national average is a decrease of 32.1 percent in small business revenue since January. Washington D.C. had the worst loss in the nation at 61.6 percent. Oregon small businesses lost 16.3 percent. Illinois small businesses saw 39.2 percent decline in revenue since January.
National Federation of Independent Business Illinois State Director Mark Grant said Illinois isn’t the worst in the nation.
“But that’s no consolation for somebody who has had to close their business and it’s really, really difficult to see this,” Grant said.
He said Illinois was a tough place to run a business before the pandemic with higher costs like property taxes and workers’ comp, among other policies.
“Just make it tougher for the business owner and the pandemic and of course all the closures, the reduced hours, and reduced amount of traffic, have just exacerbated that tremendously,” Grant said.
While many businesses have thrown in the towel or decided to retire early, he sees many young entrepreneurs determined to keep going as a hopeful sign.
“It’s really heartening to see that generation, some of our younger folks, who are just really working hard to get through this, because there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Grant said.
But part of the challenge is the uncertainty of the governor’s executive orders, which have changed month-to-month and seem open-ended pending a vaccine. He also worried about where the state could look to make up lost tax revenue.
“It will probably be targeted towards the business community and so there are concerns about that,” Grant said. “I know there have always been concerns about taxes on services.”
Besides the flat income tax, Illinois also taxes goods, but does not tax services.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he will focus on cuts before tax increases to balance the budget, but last week he announced $2 billion of additional borrowing from the federal government to cover short term spending.