Demonstrating once again why the State of Illinois ranks among the most unfriendly of places to do business, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly are considering/backing a trio of proposals that will further burden the business community.
In his belated Annual Budget Address last week, Gov. Quinn supported an extension of the “temporary” income tax hikes that are set to expire in January of 2015. Enacted in January of 2011, income tax rates jumped from 7.3% (4.8% plus 2.5% property replacement tax) to 9% for corporations and from 3% to 5% for individuals, including “pass-through entities” such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability corporations (LLCs) and S corporations taxed as partnerships.
The General Assembly is debating a Gov. Quinn-backed proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage by 21% to $10.65 from $8.25—which is the highest in the Midwest and $1 more than the federal minimum wage. If adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the 1936-enacted federal minimum wage of 25 cents equals $4.22 in 2014 dollars.
The General Assembly also is considering a proposal to cap/reduce/eliminate the sales tax vendor collection allowance on 1.75%—which allows a business to keep $1,750 of every $100K collected to cover expenses related to record keeping, reporting and filing.
Video Gaming Terminals
A number of Chamber member bars, restaurants and clubs in Elmhurst are reporting declining food and beverage sales—and a corresponding drop in home rule sales tax—now that the City is an island in the middle of an ocean of pro-video gaming communities generating thousands of dollars each month from their terminal-patronizing customers.
Every community surrounding Elmhurst but Oak Brook is participating in the State of Illinois’ Video Gaming Act, which produced $2.5 billion in wagers statewide and $205 million in new revenue in its inaugural year ending in August of 2013.
Video gaming across Illinois is currently netting $30 million per month—making those terminals more profitable than nine of the state’s 10 riverboat casino. There is a 30% tax on the Net Terminal Income (Funds In minus Funds Out), with 25% going directly to the state’s General Fund and 5% given to a municipality. The video gaming house and their state-licensed vendor each get 35% of the NTI.
According to online reports from the Illinois Video Game Board, the Village of Villa Park netted $8.6K from its 12 licensed houses in February alone and the Village of Addison earned $5.3K from seven locations with terminals. The Village of Oakbrook Terrace got $1.9K from six locations and the Village of Bensenville got $1.1K from two locations. With only one location each, the City of Northlake ($2.6K) and the villages of Hillside ($920) and Berkeley ($290) made money. Just outside the Elmhurst circle, Wood Dale got $7.5K from nine locations and Westmont got $3.7K from six locations.
Fitz’s Irish Bulldog in Villa Park, owned and operated by the same family that runs Fitz’s Pub and Fitz’s Spare Keys in downtown Elmhurst, not only made 35% of its February NTI of $19K, but also reports an increase of 20% to 25% in food and beverage sales as a terminal licensee after the Village’s Board of Trustees reversed its video gaming ban.
Explore Elmhurst 2014
Explore Elmhurst 2014, the Chamber’s biennial publication featuring maps of the City of Elmhurst and its business districts, has been rebranded in 2014 to better meet the needs of consumers and to increase the ROI (return on investment) for our display advertisers.
More than 19,100 copies will be direct mailed to every residential, businesses and post office box address in Elmhurst in late May, while some 2,900 copies will be distributed via the Chamber’s New Resident Greeter Box program (600 per year) and by advertisers, as well as municipal bodies such as the City of Elmhurst, Elmhurst Public Library and Elmhurst Park District.
The cost per exposure starts at only 2.7 cents for a quarter-panel ad ($600), 4.1 cents for a half-panel ad ($900) and 5.5 cents for a full panel ad ($1,200)—a savings of 10% to 20% off our 2012 pricing. Specialty panels range in price from $1,410 to $3,250.
Seven members are celebrating Chamber anniversaries in April, as follows: 20 years—Jim Dahmer Plumbing & Sewer; 10 years—Edible Arrangements and Sushi Nest; and 5 years—Center for Contextual Change, Interior Expertise, Tom’s Photo Repair and Wisdom Eldercare.
The Chamber welcomed nine new members in March as follows (in alphabetical order): AgilOne, Allegra’s Progressive Energy Group, Bartlett Tree Experts, Entourage Mobile Entertainment, Lawn Doctor of Elmhurst-Villa Park, North Star Lighting, Star Bright Credit and Debit Counseling, Sweet P. Doll Studio and Wilson Montessori Academy.
Elmhurst Post Office and TANNINS reactivated as Chamber members in March.
No Longer Members
The Chamber said goodbye to the following seven members in March: ADT Security Services, Edward Jones Investments (Jeff McGinnis), Pappa John’s Pizza, Splatter’s Create and Party, Sweeter Taste of Life Coffee and Weiss Insurance Agency.
To Wing-Hamlin Co., on the passing of President Wallace E. “Terry” Wing, III, at 60.