Congress, stop putting barriers in the way of Chicago’s tech biz ecosystem

There’s been a boom in our tech ecosystem, which employs over 100,000 workers. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would impose sweeping regulatory burdens and upend this growing industry.

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A Metra suburban commuter train moves along elevated tracks in Chicago March 2021.

A Metra suburban commuter train moves along elevated tracks in Chicago March 2021.

AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

Almost two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago families and businesses continue to struggle. From record-high inflation to workforce shortages, supply-chain disruptions and shipping delays, our government leaders need to pay more attention and assist our small businesses.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we should be doing everything we can to support them. This is especially true for those that are part of growing industries like tech, which contributed over $540 million in state income and sales taxes alone, with startups attracting more people to come live and work in Chicago.

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However, instead of focusing on these issues, Congress has decided to consider legislation like the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which seeks to enact sweeping regulatory burdens and upend this growing industry, all to the detriment of small businesses here in Chicago. This is due to the proposal imposing unreasonable barriers on companies that support the low-cost innovative technologies, goods and services that are essential to our local and national economy. In targeting a handful of American companies while doing nothing to regulate foreign tech competitors, the AICOA risks pressuring small businesses to rely on foreign digital platforms — hurting not only our economy but national security as well.

With far-reaching implications, this proposal risks inhibiting consumers from having the opportunity to obtain everyday goods and services and limiting small business’ ability to reach a larger customer base in a low-cost, efficient manner. In practice, this could lead to Chicagoans not being able to obtain daily staples while putting more strain on businesses and consumers that are already contending with supply chain disruptions. Further, this legislation could threaten low-cost services often offered on digital marketplaces that families and businesses rely on daily.

Advances in technology and growth in the digital economy have led to an incredible boom in Chicagoland’s tech ecosystem, which employs over 100,000 workers. It is important for lawmakers to support this growing space and help employers large and small recover, not create needless regulations that will stifle growth and negatively impact job creation.

Jack Lavin, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Just pay the gas tax

In no way, shape or form should Illinois suspend the gas tax.

You bought that huge car or even worse, that luxury truck. You bought that house where you have to drive to everything. You never could be bothered to car pool or take public transport or group your trips. You can’t even be bothered to drive closer to the speed limit or keep your tires properly inflated. 

You never made any effort to lower your consumption of gas when it was cheap, so it is time to eat the meal you cooked.

Don Anderson, Oak Park

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