My turn

Tax situation in Illinois hurting local economy

2013-10-03T00:00:00Z Tax situation in Illinois hurting local economyGeorge Grencik Times Columnist
October 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I see that the Dari-Ville in Lansing is closed. I never went to that establishment, but I have driven by on many occasions. I notice it because there was so often a large number of people waiting to be served. Seems like they did good business.

This seems to be the case with other businesses in the area and certainly in my hometown of Calumet City. Pepino’s, Del Santo’s, Big Daddy’s Patio, to name a few.

I’m sure there are many factors in these and other closings or re-locations that I don’t know about, but the one thing I do know from personal experience as an untrained observational economist, is that these places were doing decent business. The same, it seems to me, is true about bigger retailers like Sears and Carson’s.

I know a few present and former business owners in town and I have talked with them in general about business. One thing I always hear and almost always hear first, is one word — taxes (and that is sometimes accompanied with a few unprintable words).

Some of the figures I have heard have been astounding. The amount of business folks have to do before they can break even is pretty staggering. Then there is competition, too. And competition from across county and state lines has certain tax edges that Illinois businesses in Cook (or as I heard it called: “Crook” County) don’t have. Makes it hard for businesses in our area.

What to do?

This may be a simplistic idea, but couldn’t the various taxing bodies that take a chunk of a business’s income devise a plan whereby there would be a descending tax rate for businesses who establish themselves within a certain proximity of a state and/or county that has a lower tax rates? Might this not encourage businesspeople to take a chance on opening or keeping a business in town and in state? Isn’t reduced tax income better than no tax income?

I don’t know. I do know that Calumet City works hard to attract and keep businesses in town, but as far as I know, it’s taxes and the disparity between Indiana and Illinois and between Cook County and Lake County, Ind., that makes this task difficult.

Calumet City is going to hire someone to work solely on economic development. (But I have a hard time understanding why we are hiring someone to help us hire someone for that position.)

South Suburban Action Conference

I attended the 27th annual banquet of the South Suburban Action Conference at St. Michael’s Hall in Lansing as the guest of Ignacio (Nacho) Carrillo, longtime SSAC member and presently the head of Hispanic outreach for U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill.

SSAC was founded in 1986 as a church-based grassroots citizens organization advocating for the people of the south suburban area. Former St. Victor pastor and friend of mine, the Rev. Len Dubi, is one of the founding pastors. Mike Kruglik, an early trainer of Barack Obama as a community organizer, was there, too.

Some people feel that churches and political action don’t belong together. But it seems to me that the founder of Christianity dealt with the existing political establishment as the realities of the time dictated.

Congratulations to SSAC.

Calumet City Lions

The Calumet City Lions pancake breakfast was a success. Lots of Cal City folks past and present, lots of good food and fellowship, and, hopefully, a few dollars raised for the good work of the Lions. Congratulations and thanks.

Thanks for reading.

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