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Thursday Letters: Taxes and rules force Chicago business to close

Higher taxes, including those imposed by the Cook County Boad, seen here, are to blame for businesses failing in Chicago, says a letter to the Sun-Times. | Saiyna Bashir/Sun-Times

This past weekend, Andersonville’s Cantina 1910 abruptly closed its doors, citing “the rapidly changing labor market for the hospitality industry.” As the owners note, the culprit is an array of increased labor mandates ranging from last year’s 27-percent hike in the minimum wage to increased Chicago and Cook County taxes and fees that disproportionately impact businesses. With more mandates on the way and annual wage hikes set by law, more businesses will be forced to consider whether they can keep their doors open and continue to hire employees throughout Chicago and its neighborhoods.

The restaurant community in Chicago, much like the retail community, faces a regulatory environment where many state and local elected officials talk about helping small businesses and yet continue to pile on more costs and restrictions. Additional hardships include federal labor mandates that will nearly double salaries for managers, and leave many neighborhood restaurants and grocery stores businesses with not nearly enough to remain sustainable without having to sacrifice labor or move more employees to part-time status.

Our local retailers and restaurants play an extremely important role in fueling our economy by generating tax revenues local government needs to provide countless services, ranging from employment opportunities to supporting efforts for neighborhood events, sports teams and non-profits. It’s time government officials start listening to what these employers need to be successful. But first let’s start with doing no more harm.

Rob Karr, president & CEO

Illinois Retail Merchants Association

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Poor education at the heart of urban violence

Good column on Tuesday by Mary Mitchell. The solution to the gun problem is, however, buried under so many layers of other problems that simply declaring war on guns would be no more effective than the war on drugs has been. It’s a Catch 22. The lack of a good education begets a lack opportunity, begets a lack of confidence, begets a lack of hope, begets drug and alcohol abuse, begets the destruction of family and community, leaving a vacuum that too often is filled by gangs who supply the drugs that perpetuate the lack of hope. Gun violence is a by-product.

The solution is to be found in the base of the crumbling pyramid. Demand equality in school funding. Shore up the foundation. Give the children something to stand on. They weren’t born monsters.

Tony Galati, Lemont

Olympics medals v. Clinton morals

U.S. Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte is losing ad sponsors for lying about being mugged in Rio, but Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has been lying about her emails and donations, is being rewarded by an increase in her polling numbers. Double standard? Or are U.S. morals becoming passé?

Mary Cvack, Palos Park