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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.

2021

PUBLIC WAY USE PERMITS

At the start of Summer 2021, Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced a package of ordinances into Chicago City Council known as the Chi Biz Strong recovery package. The package contained small business centered policies among which were reforms the SBAC had long been fighting for: the legalization of sandwich signs (sometimes referred to as "A-frame signs") and the elimination of full city council approval for public way use permits. In the June City council meeting, 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. However in the same meeting, Chicago Alderman narrowly voted to remove the other public way use permit reform contained in the Chi Biz Strong package and put it up for a separate vote in the July City Council meeting. The SBAC spent the weeks ahead of the July meeting rallying Chicago business organizations behind the cause to eliminate full city council approval for public way use permits. The primary justification for our efforts was that the process as it stood could take up to 5 months to get these small businesses' permits approved. This was enough to motivate 36 business organizations and chambers of commerce to formally endorse our letter to Chicago Alderman in which we asked them to support our efforts to reduce this red tape. On July 21st, Chicago City Council stood with small businesses by eliminating full city council approval for the public way use permits.

HOME BASED BUSINESSES

Ordinance SO2021-332 expands the limit on home based business operational space to 300 square feet or to 25 percent of the total floor area in any single-family residence, and more than 15 percent of the floor area of a unit in a building containing multiple dwellings. This allows business owners to unleash their productivity and work from home during the pandemic. The ordinance represents a successful collaboration of partnerships between Elliot Richardson, Co-Founder and President of the Small Business Advocacy CouncilBeth Kregor, the Director of the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School; and the Departments of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, Buildings, and Planning and Development.

TAX DEDUCTIBILITY OF PPP LOANS

When the CARES Act was originally passed in March of 2020, Congress intended to make PPP loans deductible. However, in April, the IRS published Notice 2020-32 saying that under section 265 of the Internal Revenue Code business expenses paid for from a class of tax-exempt income – a forgiven PPP loan – are taxable. This would have been absolutely devastating for small businesses that were already struggling to stay afloat. Urgently, with the aid of our members and Chamber partners, we used our voice in the nationwide effort demanding a legislative solution. That solution was reached with Section 276 of The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021. This amended the original CARES Act to clarify that PPP loans are in fact tax-deductible – a major victory for the grassroots effort to save small businesses.

2020

CHAMBER ADVOCACY

While the complex situation on the tax deductibility of PPP loans is where most small business owners focused their legislative concerns, we understood the unique role 501(c)6 organizations - local Chambers of Commerce - play in the advancement of small business oriented interests. Chambers are often the first stop business owners and entrepreneurs make when looking for help. When the pandemic hit and 501(c)6 organizations were excluded from all legislative relief efforts, we immediately galvanized support. In our letter to the IL congressional delegation, we assembled 58 chambers of commerce, from all across the state, behind one unified message. This is a true testament in our ability to tailor advocacy initiatives in the most non-partisan and effective manner.

2018

LIQUOR LICENSING

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.

2017

LLC FEE REDUCTION

The SBAC fought vehemently to pass legislation in 2017 that reduced LLC (limited liability corporations) fees in Illinois, 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 to file in other states. By lowering LLC fees from $500 to $150, 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.

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The SBAC is Fighting to Help the Small Business Community Recover from the Pandemic and Thrive

By mrevis@sbacil.org | April 22, 2021

ADVOCACY The SBAC is fighting to help the small business community recover from the pandemic and thrive.  Learn about our legislative agenda here:   Please translate this page to the language of your choice. Supporters Fifth Third Bank Saul Ewing Arnstein Lehr Inland Bank Ntiva Daily Herald Tandem HR Interprenet Signature Bank Lexitas Empower Korey…

ACTION CALL: Big Legislation for Small Businesses

By mrevis@sbacil.org | April 5, 2021

Big Legislation for Small Businesses President Biden has signed The American Rescue Plan Act (H.R. 1319) into law.  Accordingly, the State of Illinois is expected to receive over 7.5 billion in funds to foster recovery from the pandemic. A robust coalition of small business advocates are urging lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 1982, which will…

The SBAC Supports Relief For Chicago Small Businesses Through Reimbursement of Liquor License Fees

By patti@sbacil.org | April 5, 2021

The SBAC supports a proposed Chicago ordinance which will reimburse small businesses a portion of the liquor license fees they paid because they could not use their license during pandemic related shutdowns.  This ordinance will help many local businesses recover from the pandemic. Please translate this page to the language of your choice. Supporters Fifth…

PRESS RELEASE: BIG Legislation for Small Businesses

By mrevis@sbacil.org | March 25, 2021

Illinois Small Business Advocates Call For Funding and an Improved Business Interruption Grant Program Illinois small businesses are fighting to recover from the pandemic.  However, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity reports that out of the 40,000 businesses that applied for a Business Interruption Grant, only about 9,000 received funding.  Business owners hanging on…

Black And African American Owned Businesses Should Receive Their Fair Share Of State Contracts 

By mrevis@sbacil.org | March 17, 2021

Black And African American Owned Businesses Should Receive Their Fair Share Of State Contracts Illinois has failed many Black and African American owned small businesses because they have been unable to procure their fair share of state contracts or receive a fair share of the revenue associated with state contracts. Indeed, the failure of Black…

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