SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) released the following statement regarding Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal:
“Retailers have served a vital role throughout the pandemic, ensuring safe and reliable access to food and supplies to now helping vaccinate the state and nation. Despite immense challenges, including government closures, capacity restrictions, denial of access to PPE, and civil unrest that forced some businesses to rebuild not once but twice, retailers were repeatedly called upon to lead the way. This includes establishing health and safety protocols the government soon followed.
"While the governor claims he is focused on rebuilding the state’s economy, it is counterintuitive that his first step is to raise costs on businesses by eliminating the retail discount, which only partially reimburses store owners for administering and collecting sales tax on behalf of the state,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
“Claiming this change would only impact ‘big’ retailers ignores the fact that it is a partial reimbursement for costs incurred on behalf of the state and attempts to deceive smaller retailers into believing they won’t be touched. Action in other states proves the government will continue to redefine ‘big.'
"Shifting more of the cost of administration and collection onto retailers does nothing to support struggling businesses and indicates the governor fails to fully appreciate all that retail contributes to our state, which prior to the pandemic employed one-fifth of all workers in Illinois and served as the second largest revenue generator for state government and the largest revenue generator for local governments. As I’ve long said, as goes retail, so goes Illinois.”