New business taxes added by the Pritzker administration plus Illinois’ high property taxes are making it hard for a Chicago-area bar owner to stay in business. Now a government union push for more property taxes is creating a new threat.
Darla Pitts purchased the Irish Rebel bar in Oak Lawn, Illinois, less than a year before the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost two years later, Illinois’ tax and business climate is what plagues her business.
“Our biggest challenge is the profit margin isn’t what it used to be. If it wasn’t for video gambling, we would just be breaking even because of inflation,” Pitts said. “You just can’t raise prices, either, then customers are super upset and talk about going somewhere else. It’s like you’re between a rock and a hard place. We haven’t raised our prices whatsoever for the past two years.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has added $650 million in tax and fee hikes to businesses since taking office. Illinois was the only Midwest state to drop in the Tax Foundation’s Business Tax Climate rankings in the past five years.
Illinois’ tough tax climate plus inflation means the Irish Rebel has had to delay expanding.