FILE - Illinois State Capitol

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

As a serial entrepreneur on the south side of Chicago, I am very familiar with the constant challenges that face small business owners in our state. It’s hard to start your own business, but too often, I have witnessed politicians in our state turn their backs on our small business community when we needed their help the most.

Inflation is higher than it’s been in decades, businesses can’t fill open jobs, many COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, and the supply chain bottleneck is leaving working families and businesses high and dry.

MoniQue Hoffman

MoniQue Hoffman

But instead of working to find practical solutions that help alleviate these hurdles for local business owners, Illinois lawmakers in Springfield have plowed ahead with a new climate change tax that will spike energy prices across the state and shutter struggling businesses.

Additionally, state leaders refuse to restore mediated arbitration, allowing trial attorneys to leverage massive settlements against vulnerable small businesses that are forced to lay off workers or shut down entirely. On top of that, Chicago property taxes are on track to become the most expensive in the country.

The national economic downturn has already negatively impacted minority communities and small businesses worse than anyone else. And now, Illinois’ legal loopholes combined with tax hikes on job creators will only lead to a smaller workforce, businesses shutting down, and families struggling to get by without the goods and services they need.

The call to action is simple. When lawmakers return to Springfield in January, they need to start listening to small business owners. They need to invite us to their negotiating tables and let us participate in discussions when legislation impacts us.

It’s getting much more difficult to sustain continued cost increases while trying to keep workers employed and serving our local communities.

MoniQue Hoffman is a small business owner in Chicago