It's no secret that small businesses unite the community. The SBAC’s non-partisan advocacy work has demonstrated the ability to shape local, state and federal legislation for small businesses. We are proud to highlight a few of our successful advocacy efforts and our proven track record of providing non-partisan solutions to help the small business community.
To read more about our current initiatives and how you can join us, click here.
CITY COUNCIL EXPANDS OUTDOOR DINING IN CHICAGO
Chicago’s City Council just passed an ordinance that reinstates policies that expand outdoor dining in Chicago. This ordinance will permit restaurants and taverns to serve customers near the curb, on the sidewalks of adjacent buildings, and in parking areas in proper situations. The ordinance also permits street closures to support local restaurants and taverns should various conditions be satisfied.
LEGISLATION FOCUSED ON REDUCING HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS OF SMALL BUSINESSES
Hear SBAC President Elliot Richardson’s comments about the legislation below or learn more about the bill here. Small businesses have been crushed by the escalating costs of health insurance. The SBAC championed legislation focused on reducing premiums for small businesses and increasing transparency so policymakers and the public can better understand what drives the costs of health insurance. This legislation will apply to health insurance plans in 2026, providing ample time to implement the process for prior approval. This is a big win for small businesses that want to provide affordable, quality health insurance to employees!
TRANSPARENCY BILL FOR GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
Each year Illinois awards government contracts to businesses. These contracts cover everything from construction projects to professional services. Small businesses that drive our economy often have difficulty competing for these government contracts. The same is true for minority and women-owned businesses. Recognizing the important role that small, minority, and women-owned businesses play in the economy, the Illinois legislature has set goals for state agencies. This legislation will require each state agency to provide important information about how much money they spent on government contracts and the amounts awarded to small, minority, and women-owned businesses. As well as require this information be made public so that Illinoisans can see how their tax dollars are being spent. A state contact can help a small, minority, and women-owned business grow and flourish. This bill will provide transparency and that will ensure eligible and qualified small, minority, and women-owned businesses receive government contracts. The Transparency Bill for Government Contracts has passed both the Illinois House and Senate, it will now head to Governor Pritzker to be signed.
INCREASING ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR SMALL, MINORITY, AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES
View the press release on SB 2192 here.
Small businesses play a critical role in Illinois’ economy. Helping small businesses receive their fair share of state procurement contracts is important for job creation and the success of the state’s small businesses. The Procurement Bidding Reform legislation that will increase access to government contracts for small, minority, and women-owned businesses has passed both the Illinois House and Senate! Senate Bill 2192 provides that a bidder who has failed to be awarded a contract by the Department of Innovation and Technology, the Department of Transportation, the Capital Development Board, or the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority after four consecutive bids for the same services, will receive an explanation as to the reason for the rejections. This information is crucial for small, minority, and women-owned businesses struggling to obtain government contracts.
RELIEF FOR LOCAL CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
Many chambers of commerce were devastated by the pandemic. However, this did not stop them from providing crucial support to local businesses. The SBAC is thrilled to report that Illinois politicians have provided 5 million dollars to support the recovery of chambers of commerce in Illinois. The SBAC has been working to procure this funding for the past year to foster the recovery of chambers. The distribution of these funds will be awarded via a grant through a program established by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Chambers can receive up to one-sixth of the annual revenue lost between 2019 and 2020. In the event additional funds remain after eligible chambers receive grants, additional grants can be made to chambers. This bill will apply to chambers with an annual revenue of up to one million dollars. Thank you to the chambers of commerce that worked with their legislators on this initiative. Thank you to the legislators that championed this legislation! This is a very big deal for the small business community
LLC FEE REDUCTION
The SBAC championed legislation in 2017 reducing the fees for forming an LLC (limited liability corporations) from $500 to $150, the annual renewal fee from $250.00 to $75.00 and other LLC fees, which were among the highest in the nation. Prior to the passing of the bill, SB 867, small business owners, who make up 98% of all businesses in the state of Illinois, were being disincentivized from forming LLCs due to the excessive cost to form as a corporation or filing in other states. By lowering LLC filing fees for forming from $500 to $150 and annual report fees to $75 from $250, small entrepreneurs are more likely to launch new businesses, creating new growth opportunities for the state. SB 867 was supported by legislators on both sides of the aisle as well as over 50 trade and business organizations.
"A-FRAME" OR SIDEWALK SIGNS
The SBAC has fought arduously for the legalization of sandwich signs (sometimes referred to as "A-frame signs"). After 7 years, the SBAC's tenacity paid off with a BIG win for the small business community. In June 2021, Aldermen voted to adopt a new policy on sandwich signs - effective March 2022 Chicago businesses can use sandwich signs to drive foot traffic into their stores!
Occupational licenses can create unnecessary barriers for Illinois residents looking to start new jobs. Occupational licenses can also create roadblocks for entrepreneurs that would like to start new businesses. House Bill 5576 unanimously passed the Senate and will go to the Governor! This legislation builds on the current licensing review process by collecting important information about the requirements associated with obtaining a license, so they can be more comprehensively reviewed by the General Assembly. This legislation will provide crucial information which can help legislators evaluate occupational licenses and eliminate or modify them when appropriate. Modifying or eliminating overly burdensome or restrictive occupational licenses can support small businesses struggling to hire employees, remove unnecessary or outdated barriers for entrepreneurs, and foster the growth of our economy. We are thankful to our partners at the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship for their collaboration. We are grateful to Representative Ammons and Senator Koehler for their leadership in moving this legislation forward.
The Small Business Advocacy Council and various city chambers supported ordinance 02018-7001. The ordinance made conforming changes to the previously enacted state legislation, SB2436, which grants localities the authority to issue exemptions to the 1934 Illinois Liquor Control Law prohibiting restaurants located within a 100 feet of a church, school, hospital and certain other building from serving alcohol to their guests. The ordinance grants authority and sets forth a process for the Local Liquor Control Commissioner to issue a liquor license to the applicant restaurant. While also leaving an outlet for aldermanic objections. The adoption of the ordinance has made it easier for restaurants and bars to make a profit in areas previously prohibited from serving alcohol.
Restrictions, Permits, Fees, ETC.
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Join The SBAC Today
Joining the SBAC will give you the opportunity to immediately get engaged in our organization through the following offerings:
- Advocacy efforts
- Policy committees and subcommittees
- Informational webinars and town halls
- Networking events
- And many more!
Do not miss out on your opportunity to work towards improving the small business environment in your community! We look forward to working with you!
Illinois Launches Back to Business (B2B) NewBiz Program The application window for the B2B NewBiz program opens on November 30, 2023, and will remain open until January 11, 2024. The Small Business Advocacy Council has advocated for a program that provides grant funding to businesses that launched in 2020 (prior to the pandemic) and in…
As we move into 2024, we would be honored to have you engaged with EMPOWER as one of our supporters. Thank you again for your unwavering support; we look forward to staying connected in the future!
It’s tough to run a small business. We know that funding is always top of mind at all times. In an effort to keep our small business owners informed of possible grants as they become available, we will list some as they become available and the criteria for applying. We encourage you to take advantage…
To Members of the Chicago City Council: Chicago small businesses have faced many challenges over the past several years and encountered numerous obstacles while attempting to recover from the devastating pandemic. Disinvested communities continue struggling to fill vacant storefronts, attract businesses, and foster economic development. We ask that you refrain from passing the Chicago Paid…
The Small Business Advocacy Council invites you to celebrate the holidays at the George Street Pub on December 14th. Join us for this wonderful opportunity to connect with small business owners, professionals, small business advocates and our SBAC Board of Advisors. Registration is free for SBAC Business Supporters or $10pp for guests. Event includes light appetizers and…