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Graduated income tax for Illinois threatens small business owners like me

I will be paying more for the products I need for my plumbing company. I don’t want to be forced to make up the difference by cutting wages or even jobs.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pushing a proposed constitutional amendement on the Nov. 3 that would allow a graduated income tax, rather than a flat tax, in Illinois.
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Small businesses are the heart of our neighborhoods.

Jobs that are created by small businesses are what keep our communities thriving.

My name is Chris Plywacz and I am the proud owner of Reeg Plumbing, a small business in the western suburbs.

I’m not a millionaire, nor am I a billionaire. Far from it.

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I started my career right after high school, entering the trades. I eventually was able to purchase the company I worked for with the help of the Obama Administration’s Small Business Administration loan program.

I am very proud that I have grown this company and now help provide jobs for other people just like me. My employees work hard. They know they have good-paying jobs, and they provide safety and security for their families.

I am very concerned about the graduated income tax amendment on the ballot on Nov. 3 and the potential negative effect on my business and employees. I am a Democrat, and I know the amendment is being pushed by our governor; but increasing taxes and the high cost of living in Illinois doesn’t have a political party.

So, I did some research.

First of all, Illinois already has some of the highest taxes in the country — and we rank second highest for property taxes. Our state already is losing people and businesses because of our high tax burden. If this constitutional amendment passes, even more people, businesses and jobs will leave our state. It’s important to note that Illinois has seen six straight years of population decline. That directly affects blue collar jobs like mine and the ones I provide.

Now, what really gets me is that this initial tax hike immediately will affect more than 100,000 small business owners, but it increases the tax rate on large corporations by just 10 %. And there really is no real tax relief for working poor and middle-class families. In fact, it is less than $3 per month for someone making $25,000 a year.

This amendment will give a big foot to Springfield politicians to step on small businesses like mine and diminish opportunities for us to create jobs or even expand our businesses. Larger employers that provide goods and services will be hit with even higher taxes; the products they produce will go up in cost. I will be paying more for the products I need for my plumbing company and will have to make up the difference in potentially cutting wages or even jobs — something I do not want to do.

Many of my customers have left this state because of our taxes. And our future is not guaranteed, either. Taxes could go even higher, and taxing retirement income becomes a greater possibility. That is not what hard working men and women in this state want to hear.

I was fortunate enough to be able to buy my business. If anyone, right now, is looking at starting a new small business in this state, and this graduated income tax amendment is looming, they are going to think twice. And, they may even go to another state.

If we don’t stop this amendment, the future for small businesses like mine, is bleak.

After years of tax hikes, people fleeing the state and trying to weather a pandemic, Illinois is on the brink of collapse. I can’t think of a worse time to raise taxes.

Chris Plywacz, Reeg Plumbing