small business

Chicago’s Property Tax Hike To Hammer Small Business, Renters?

Looks like my girlfriend and I may have dodged yet another bullet moving out of our Chicago rental when we did (no pun intended). Hal Dardick and Bob Secter reported on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday morning:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has framed his record $588 million property tax hike plan around the notion that it will include breaks for those of modest means, but hundreds of thousands of renters who fit that description are still likely to pay more because they can’t benefit from the mayor’s safeguards.

The mayor has vowed to make sure “that the burden is borne by those who can best afford it,” evoking images of thriving downtown businesses and fancy high-rise condominiums. But also in the crosshairs of the tax hike would be mom-and-pop businesses and a large number of apartment dwellers whose landlords typically build property tax expense into the rent

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m not going to steal Dardick’s and Secter’s thunder, so head on over to the Tribune website here to read the entire article (registration required).

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, October 8th, 2015 Business, Debt Crisis, Government, Housing, Taxes No Comments

Survey: Illinois Runner-Up State For ‘Worst Climates For Small Business’

Continuing Tuesday’s discussion about Illinois not being business friendly, I spotted a piece last night on the MarketWatch website entitled, “The best state and city for small business are…” Caitlin Huston reported yesterday afternoon:

The best state for small business owners is Texas and the worst is Rhode Island, according to an annual survey revealed Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by technology marketplace Thumbtack, contends that the friendliest states and towns for small businesses offer easier or non-existent licensing requirements. On a city basis, the report called Manchester, N.H., the best and Hartford, Conn., the worst for small-business climate…

Huston noted that survey responses came from 17,633 small businesses, with most having 5 or fewer employees.

As for Illinois? It’s the state runner-up under the “Worst Climates for Small Business” category, losing out to Rhode Island but ahead of Connecticut, California, and New York, in that order.

From the Thumbtack.com survey web page:

Small business owners gave California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island an “F,” while Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York earned a “D” grade…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Digging deeper into the Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey, the “Land of Lincoln” received an “F” for “ease of starting a business” and “overall friendliness.”

Nice. Real nice. Congratulations Illinois policymakers (not Rauner’s fault)- local and at the state level- on a “job” well done.

Then again, what would one expect from folks (not all of them, to be fair) who have never started/run a business in their lives?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Huston, Caitlin. “The best state and city for small business are…” MarketWatch. 18 Aug. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-best-state-and-city-for-small-business-are-2015-08-18). 19 Aug. 2015.

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Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 Business, Government, Main Street No Comments

Survey Emphasizes Illinois ‘One Of The Least Friendly States In The Nation Towards Small Business’

Here’s something else I came across during my recent break. Not sure if the local mass/alternative media really picked up on this at all. But even if they did, I think it’s worth mentioning again to highlight the state’s ongoing reputation for being business-unfriendly.

Posted on the website of Internet marketplace Thumbtack recently:

Thumbtack, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released Illinois’s results from the third annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey. The study, drawing upon data from over 12,000 small business owners, provides new insights into state and local business environments across the nation.

“After a two-month survey of thousands of small business owners nationwide, Illinois’s small businesses have rated it near the bottom as one of the least friendly states in the nation towards small business,” says Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack. “Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and Illinois could be doing a lot better in creating this environment.”

Some of the key findings for Illinois include:

Illinois received a grade of F for its friendliness towards small business, one of the worst grades in the country.
• Illinois earned four grades of F across eleven rated categories, and received no grade higher than a C from its small businesses.
• Illinois small businesses were the most pessimistic in the nation about the prospects for the state economy…
• The top rated states overall were Utah, Idaho, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana. The lowest rated were Rhode Island, Illinois, California, Connecticut and New Jersey…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Pathetic.

Makes me want to explore starting up my future business in Wisconsin (only “C-”, but still better than “F”) by my family’s place rather than here in the Chicago suburbs.

You can view the entire Small Business Friendliness Survey on Thumbtack.com here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 Business, Government No Comments

Survey: Illinois Ranked 5th Least Friendly State For Small Business

According to the second annual Small Business Friendliness Survey by Thumbtack and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Illinois was ranked the fifth least friendly state for small business.

Why am I not surprised to hear that?

From the 2013 Thumbtack.com Small Business Survey, which drew upon data from over 7,000 small business owners:

Illinois slipped slightly, dropping from a ‘D+’ overall grade in 2012 to a ‘D’ this year.

Some of the key findings for Illinois include:

• Small businesses gave Illinois a ‘C’ for its regulatory systems and a ‘C-’ for its small business training and networking programs.
• Among major cities nationwide, Chicago improved its overall performance from 2012, rising to a ‘C-’ from a ‘D’. Additionally, the city’s regulatory systems rose from a ‘D+’ to a ‘B-’ this year.

Good job Chicago. Never let it be said I didn’t give credit where credit was due.

According to the survey, the “Top 5” least friendly states for small businesses were:

5. Illinois
4. California
3. Hawaii
2. Maine
1. Rhode Island

And the “Top 5” friendliest states were:

5. Texas
4. Idaho
3. New Hampshire
2. Alabama
1. Utah

As for Wisconsin, where I spend a good deal of my time, the state improved from a ‘C+’ overall grade in last year’s ranking to a ‘B’ in 2013. Also, it’s ranked among the 10 easiest states for establishing a new business.

Sounds like they’re headed in the right direction as it concerns small business.

Wish I could say the same thing about the “Land of Lincoln.” I really do.

You can access the survey on Thumbtack.com here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 Business No Comments

Senate Democrats Push Bill Freezing Student Loan Interest Rates, Risk Alienating Small Business

Student loans. Sure- they suck. I had them. I wouldn’t have been able to attend college and graduate school without them (Dad: “You’re on your own once you graduate high school.”). And I finally got done paying them off recently.

These days, student loan debt is getting a lot of media exposure. Even CNBC talked about the problem this morning. Kelly Evans wrote on the CNBC website:

Here’s what we do know about student loan debt: it’s roughly $1 trillion in size, greater than either auto or credit-card debt and second only to mortgage debt in the U.S.

Borrowers in their 30s today owe $28,500, on average. The debt burden has soared just as — and partly because — the recession hit, so younger graduates carrying the highest balances are hit with the double whammy of a weak job market (that still isn’t showing any sign of rapid improvement).

And this all comes as globalization and technological change have upended once-reliable career paths, wiped out many mid-level professional jobs and leave low-paying fields in health, food and beverage services, and retail as among the fastest growing job markets over the next decade.

Oh, and consider that student loan debt remains one of the most difficult types to forgive or discharge in bankruptcy, in part because the federal government (i.e. taxpayers) made or guaranteed 80 percent of all outstanding student loan debt as of last year. And finally, that once loans in deferral or forbearance are excluded, the delinquency rate on student loan debt was an estimated 27 percent as of the third quarter of 2011, according to a study by the New York Fed.

Worried? Americans should be.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

In an economy that’s powered by consumer spending, too much student loan debt cripples consumption by these younger Americans.

And now, for one or reason or another, the calls are growing for a student loan bailout or some kind of relief. And Democrats in the U.S. Senate are responding. Alan Fram of the Associated Press wrote this morning:

Senate Democrats are ready with an election-year bill preventing interest rates from rising for millions of college students with federal loans. Republicans are already balking at the way Democrats would cover its $5.9 billion price tag: boosting payroll taxes on the owners of some privately held firms.

Democrats unveiled their bill late Tuesday, a measure that would prevent today’s 3.4 percent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for low- and middle-income students from doubling automatically on July 1. The interest rate freeze, which would help 7.4 million people, would last for a year…

Republicans trained their fire on Democrats’ plan to finance the bill by making it harder for owners of smaller, privately owned companies called S corporations to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on some of their income.

The proposal would apply to such companies with incomes exceeding $250,000 and whose revenues come mostly from the work of three or fewer owners. The higher payroll taxes would also be required for some law firms, doctors’ practices and other professional services partnerships.

(Editor’s notes: Italics added for emphasis)

According to Fram, Senate Democratic aides said the legislation would pay for itself with around $6 billion in extra Medicare taxes collected from these private companies over the next decade.

I think I understand what the Democrats are trying to accomplish here:

• Continue their election year political strategy of populism
• Re-energize young Americans to support Barack Obama’s re-election bid in November
• Tap into some much-needed funds for Social Security and Medicare
• Actually help these indebted former students

On the flip-side, I anticipate the legislation might not only alienate even more small business owners from the Obama administration and Democratic Party, but- if signed into law- could make them reconsider hiring additional personnel down the road due to these new payroll taxes. With Tax Doomsday already fast-approaching, such a tax hit is bound to fuel even more uncertainty among small business owners going forward.

As small businesses have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years, young Americans might have to get used to those “low-paying fields in health, food and beverage services, and retail” for some time longer.

Sources:

Evans, Kelly. “Student Loans: The Next Bailout?” CNBC. 25 Apr. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/47171658). 25 Apr. 2012.

Fram, Alan. “Senate Dems ready bill freezing student loan costs.” Associated Press. 25 Apr. 2012. (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i9q8K9wbLi6abkUrpA3py8xODJ2A?docId=91f7fd59392946d8b7206a044381f4c3). 25 Apr. 2012.

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Follow-Up On The Perfect Business

This past weekend I got the chance to catch up on a few podcasts I listen to on a regular basis, including modern survivalist Jack Spirko’s The Survival Podcast. You may recall that last Wednesday I talked about Richard Russell of Dow Theory Letters-fame and an article he originally wrote in the early seventies that’s still popular today- “The Perfect Business.” Well, back on September 14 Spirko did an episode about micro businesses (1-2 person operations) and their importance to economic freedom. He remarked:

In our community many people want more freedom, perhaps a little homestead and most of all the ability to focus on what really matters, their families and communities. This is also the real world though and we have to “keep a roof over head and food on the table”. Join me today as I discuss how building a business can create the freedom to really live the way you choose and above all grant you geographic freedom.

It’s a great episode full of useful information for the aspiring small business owner- and a perfect complement to that Russell piece.

Episode 744 of The Survival Podcast, “Building a Business to Create Economic Freedom,” can be accessed here.

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Monday, September 26th, 2011 Freedom, How To No Comments

Don’t Expect Small Business To Ride To The Economy’s Rescue

I find it amazing that when the economy is dependent as much as it is on consumer spending, decision-makers in Washington would dare alienate small businesses in the United States like they’ve managed to do. According to the Small Business Administration, these firms pay 44 percent of the total U.S. private payroll annually, in addition to having created 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years. Oh well, that’s what happens when business and economic know-how is a scarce commodity at the top.

The latest U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Small Business Outlook Survey” is out, and the findings are worrisome to say the least. Anyone banking on these small firms to ride to the economy’s rescue anytime soon may want to reconsider that belief. A total of 1,409 small business owners and executives around the country were polled from June 27 to June 30, and the results showed:

• A vast majority (84%) of small business owners said the U.S. economy is on the wrong track
• Only 20% believe that the country’s best days are ahead
• When thinking about what small businesses across America need most right now, vast majority of respondents say Washington should “get out of the way” (79%)
• Over the next year, 64% will keep the same number of employees
• 19% will add new employees (almost the same as last year’s 18%)
• Only 12% say they will lose employees over the next year- significantly fewer than the 29% who said they lost employees over the last year
• 79% say taxation, regulation and legislation make it harder for their business to hire more employees
• 75% say the healthcare law makes it harder to hire more employees

You can read the entire report on the Chamber website here (.pdf file)

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Thursday, July 14th, 2011 Employment, Government No Comments
Survival And Prosperity
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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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