Small Businesses and a Tribute to Law Enforcement

***Guest Column***

Happy Small Business Week! Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week which recognizes the ambition and contribution of America’s small business owners. According to a survey of 500 small business owners, 63% think that the country is going in the wrong direction. I have a pretty good idea why.

This week in the Illinois General Assembly, we struck down another proposed Constitutional Amendment to levy an 11.25% tax on small businesses and farmers. After the State took in an extra $34 billion from the temporary tax hike and made no effort to reform Illinois’ finances, the other side of the aisle tried to pass another massive tax hike. The same party responsible for years of overspending, over taxing and a mountain of debt wants to move to a graduated tax for one reason and one reason only – to raise taxes and spend more money. Even though the proposal was not called for a vote, it still looms as a distraction to our employers in Illinois. The last Census data showed there are nearly 250,000 small businesses in this state and they employ 2.5 million Illinoisans. A tax on them is a tax on almost everyone.

The other side of the aisle argues that only the wealthy are impacted by a progressive income tax. In reality, 70% of small businesses pay taxes at the individual, not the corporate tax rate. With these threats from lawmakers, it’s clear why Illinois lags behind the national average in job creation. The uncertainty of managing a small business is amplified when lawmakers threaten to take away 11.25% of its earnings. How can these entrepreneurs plan for next year when they have no idea what to expect? They can’t, which stifles growth and drags down our state’s economy.

Thursday was Illinois History Day. This year's Governor's Award went to a group of students from River Ridge High School who uncovered the unfortunate death of an Illinois hero, Jo Daviess County Sheriff John Bardell. Unfortunately his sacrifice was lost in history until the research by the students and history teacher Mike Dittmar revealed Sheriff Bardell’s story. Because of these students, Sheriff Bardell now has his rightful place in Illinois’ Police Memorial.

Our police officers rarely get the recognition that they deserve. They risk their lives every day to protect and serve their communities. This week, we honored the fallen Illinois officers at the Illinois State Capitol. Here is the prayer from The Illinois Police Officers Memorial Committee.

“Almighty God, Father of all Mercies, we ask Thy Blessing and guidance upon all Law Enforcement Officers engaged in the protection of our citizens. Be with them in their lonely tours of duty while patrolling the busy streets of our cities and the remote area of the country. Give them the Blessings of Your Wisdom, to know and do what is right. Temper their actions with mercy and justice. When their tours are completed and the day is over, guide them safely home to their loved ones.

We also ask Thy Blessing and eternal rest to all our Brothers and Sisters who have sacrificed their very lives in the performance of their duties. Give to their loved ones the peace and strength to bear the anguish of their loss. Remove all resentment from their hearts, knowing that eternal peace and rest will abide over their departed loved one forever. This we beg in Thy name forever and ever. Amen”

We have sixteen more days left of session. There are two separate groups trying to negotiate a budget right now. I really hope that they can reach an agreement this month. The state needs a balanced budget and time is running out. We need to get down to business and hammer out an agreement already. Our side of the aisle has been standing with our arms outstretched, willing to compromise for months. We can fix the problems of Illinois, but only if we have a dialogue. This deadlock has to give way soon. The People of Illinois are counting on us.

As we move forward towards the end of session this month I am reminded of a quote by Daniel Hannan who stated, “You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt.”
As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at repstewart@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com or on Facebook.