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Public Security a Prime Challenge for Chicago Business enterprise Leaders in Mayor’s Race | Chicago News


Mar 30, 2023

Public security fears and issues more than increasing taxes leading the agenda for small business leaders across the city from downtown to the neighborhoods.

Jack Lavin, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed Paul Vallas for mayor, stated that public security is the No. 1 concern of the small business owners he talks to, followed by “skyrocketing home taxes, financial improvement and jobs.”

“We require to address the public security problems, and we require to hold the line on taxes,” stated Lavin, who expressed issues more than Brandon Johnson’s proposals to raise taxes to spend for social applications and his views on police reform.

“The bottom line is if you defund the police and you raise pretty much a billion dollars in taxes, that is not great for jobs and households,” stated Lavin. “Especially coming out of historic inflation, provide-chain shortages, talent shortages and the lingering effect of the pandemic.”

Lavin stated that just before the subsequent mayor appears to raise taxes, he should really appear at the city’s $28 billion spending budget and “reprioritize” to address some of the problems. Lavin believes the city should really and could fund a “robust youth and summer time jobs system,” which would support address youth crime and security problems with out raising taxes.

“We require to address security on the CTA and get individuals back to the workplace,” stated Lavin. “We require to do neighborhood policing. These are issues that we require to do proper away. I do not feel it needs new taxes. We’ve had skyrocketing home taxes. It has impacted compact corporations, and it has impacted middle-class households.”

One particular problem that small business leaders across the city would seem to agree on is a want to see much less red tape at City Hall.

Elliot Richardson, president of the Small Business enterprise Advocacy Council (SBAC), stated that is a significant problem for the entrepreneurs that his organization functions with.

“Right now, we’re operating to tackle an array of red tape problems in the city — zoning and issues of that nature — to attempt to revitalize neighborhood small business districts and support compact corporations.”

SBAC is also pushing for compact corporations and neighborhood chambers of commerce to have a seat at the table when new policies and ordinances are getting created in order to “reduce red tape and unleash entrepreneurs all through the city and in disinvested communities,” stated Richardson.

The organization is also attempting to tackle the problem of vacant industrial properties that can develop into a blight on communities and discourage new investment.

“There’s a lot of areas all through the city, regardless of the neighborhood that are truly getting hampered by industrial vacancies,” stated Richardson.

He stated that what he repeatedly hears from compact small business owners is that “doing small business in the city of Chicago demands to be affordable” and that city sources require to be allocated equitably.

“A lot of income goes to really significant projects,” stated Richardson. “What income is also going into the revitalization of neighborhood small business districts?”

Felicia Slaton-Young, executive director of the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce, also areas public security at the leading of her issues. But she also desires to see the subsequent mayor prioritize the issues of compact small business owners in historically marginalized communities that have been starved of investment.

“Small and medium-sized corporations are nonetheless attempting to figure out how, how to do small business in this post-COVID economy, such as how they engage and retain workers,” stated Slaton-Young. “That’s an problem no matter what the small business is and no matter what the sector is.”

Red tape and bureaucracy are also a concern.

“There’s a lot of policies at the city level that tends to make carrying out small business in Chicago really prohibitive,” stated Slaton-Young.

For instance, Slaton-Young stated that small business owners attempting to get a reduction on a city charge or permit are essential to employ legal representation and can’t be present at hearings.

“Many compact small business owners do not have legal representation and the price to do so is really prohibitive, particularly in this post-COVID economy,” stated Slaton-Young.

Aside from getting concerned about vacant properties that blight the neighborhood, Slaton-Young stated that beginning new corporations in Englewood can be difficult since of a lack of industrial properties.

“Access to move-in prepared industrial space is pretty much non-existent right here,” stated Slaton-Young. “Business owners have to appear for space in other communities. And so that is income, chance, jobs that leave this neighborhood and go someplace else like South Shore or Beverly or any of these areas in amongst.”

The possibility of tax hikes if Johnson prevails on Tuesday is a be concerned for all small business owners, but for Slaton-Young eventually it comes down to how these tax dollars are collected and spent.

“I feel we’re all a small hesitant when any person is speaking about raising taxes,” stated Slaton-Young. “We know the way tax policy has been executed has not usually been equitable. If compact small business owners in Englewood are paying extra into the tax rolls, as nicely as neighborhood members are paying extra in the tax rolls than these in the Loop, then there’s a difficulty.”

Nilda Esparza, executive director of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, also raised the problem of security as a concern for small business owners in her neighborhood.

“We want corridors exactly where individuals really feel protected coming to shop,” stated Esparza.

But she’s not convinced by Vallas’ plans to place extra police officers on the beat by hiring back retired cops and is hunting for a mayor that will “concentrate on the genuine root of the difficulty.”

“When you say you are going to place extra officers on the street, what is recruitment hunting like?” asked Esparza. “Are individuals applying for these jobs? Is it realistic that you can bring individuals out of retirement and back into the force when issues are so delicate proper now? I do not know how realistic that is.”

Esparza stated she is concerned by Johnson’s proposals to raise taxes, but also desires to see bigger corporations spend the taxes they owe.

“Raising taxes rings alarm for lots of various levels,” stated Esparza. “But significant entities have to have a commitment to neighborhood, and they should really be paying their fair share. … “When you see the disinvestment and we know that the social solutions are not getting funded, you have to appear at somebody like Brandon (Johnson) and say he’s essentially going to appear to tackle the difficulty.”

The bottom line for Lavin is that the subsequent mayor demands to foster an atmosphere in which corporations across the city can thrive.

“It will be a close race,” stated Lavin. “Whoever wins, they require to perform with the small business neighborhood since the bottom line is corporations develop jobs. And if there are not jobs, you cannot address households owning residences, educating our youngsters and public solutions. If you do not have jobs, you cannot do all that.”

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