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.
INCREASING ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR SMALL, MINORITY, AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES
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! This legislation will now head to Governor Pritzker to be signed. 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
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.
"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!
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 including the elimination of full city council approval for public way use permits. 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. With 36 business organizations and chambers of commerce formally endorsing our letter to Chicago Alderman - 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 Council; Beth 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.
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.
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.
LLC FEE REDUCTION
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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!
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