No matter how you look at it, 35 percent is a huge number of small businesses that have either temporarily or permanently closed their doors because of COVID-19.

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised. After all, aren't lockdowns and business closings something that we've seen in far too much abundance over the last year? I just finished reading a piece in Fortune that pointed out that more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments in the United States closed for business (temporarily or permanently) last year, with nearly 2.5 million jobs being wiped out from pre-pandemic levels. And that's only last year. 2021's numbers should be equally or more frightening.

A recent poll of small business owners taken by the U.S. Census' Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS) says that about 53% of small business owners don’t expect to return to pre-Covid operations for at least the next six months...assuming they do at all.

On average across the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, only 26% of small businesses have at least three months of cash readily available, which is the minimum amount generally recommended as a safety net.

Let's shift our focus back to Illinois and that 35 percent of closed small businesses. Illinois Policy Institute has a piece up at their website that breaks down some of the numbers from Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker that shows the 35 percent of closed businesses in Illinois is more than any other Midwestern state except Michigan (38.2%). Illinois’ massive decline in the number of small businesses is eighth worst in the nation.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that help is on the way for Illinois businesses, as Governor Pritzker is continuing to pursue new taxes totaling up to nearly a billion dollars on small businesses.

The move was decried by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Republicans because Pritzker is not closing unfair “loopholes” as he claimed, but rather trying to take back a deal he made early in his term for key tax incentives and deductions intended to create jobs. Pritzker is also rumored to be pursuing the cancellation a pandemic recovery tax credit for small businesses that would have taken from $500 million to $1 billion more from them as they struggle to recover.


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