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Budget Plan May Have Some Paying Thousands For Owning A Business

New legislation may make it more difficult for business owners in the state.

Local businesses may soon have to start paying a fee for simply owning a shop.

It's called the "Opportunity Tax Act" and it's now a part of the proposal to get a budget passed in Illinois.

It was brought up in the Illinois General Assembly Tuesday.

But local business owners aren't too supportive of the idea of paying hundreds, up to thousands of dollars, to simply sustain a business.

"Over two years now without a real budget,” Garret Hill, policy director at the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, said.

He said the new tax would affect any Illinoisan on a payroll -- no matter how small or how big the business.

"How employers will cover the cost for the smaller ones, it could be just a small price increase,” he said. “For the larger ones it could be for anything from reduction in pay roll all the way to relocating."

Depending on the payroll amount, business owners could pay anywhere from $225 to $15,000 for what the legislation calls the "privilege of doing business in the state."

One Champaign business owner said making ends meet is already difficult enough.

"I've seen businesses move out of Illinois and I think this is just another reason to doing business in another state,” Tom Dillavou, owner of the Fagen Scooters, said. “It's definitely not going to encourage people from coming here, that's for sure."

Dillavou said the state needs another option.

"Illinois should be doing things; promote businesses in Illinois not discouraging businesses," he said.

Already, comments on social media show the overall dissatisfaction of the new proposal with messages like, "wow" and “This when so many Illinoisans are leaving…”

The Chamber of Commerce has not formed an official opinion, but says taxes generated with this act will go toward Illinois’ general fund.

"There is no way to ignore that the state of Illinois needs a budget,” Hill said. “It will probably look like something not everyone is happy with, but the state of Illinois needs a budget."

Other local businesses say the state should cut expenses rather than raise taxes.

Others were unsure saying the state really needs a budget.

Two weeks from now is the earliest this 'Opportunity Tax' will be discussed again, and/or voted on by the Senate.

See the full Act and how you may be affected here.

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