Smaller Than Small

Getting Down to Business with the OPRF Chamber

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

After reading about small business tax law changes this weekend, I have an even deeper respect for tax accountants than I had before. 

The complicated provisions of Section 199A of the new tax law are purported to be highly advantageous to small business.  Odd, as I have heard not one local business owner reference this forthcoming "windfall."

Step back a minute.  Who spends a beautiful summer weekend reading tax law and why??

I harbor a growing concern that progressive communities like ours increasingly label "business" as the bad guy.  Social media especially is replete with references to people and policies that must be bad for residents if they are good for business.  This simplistic trope pits humanity against business, in a Dickensian battle of good versus evil.

The narrative gains steam when policies and programs, especially on the national level but locally as well, are advertised as good for small business.  Politicians like to cite "Main Street USA" and "mom-and-pop shops" in their sound bites.  In reality, their definition of "small" is much larger than what we think of when we reference "small" in our community.  We are smaller than small. 

Our community boasts micro independent solo-preneurships, usually built around an owner's dream and need to make a living.  There is little scale and less profit.  In contrast, the federal government defines "small business" as any company with up to $7 million in revenue and 500 employees.  That's not us.

So I cringe with every headline that boasts another boon for "small" business.  Each one is more fodder for the anti-business sentiment that our local businesses don't deserve.  Following this week's announcements regarding the new so-called pro-small business tax law, I decided to learn more.

Not surprisingly, the new tax law won't meaningfully benefit most micro-small businesses here.  It might help manufacturers or makers, which are rare here, but it is unlikely to impact service industry businesses.  And of course, tax breaks only help if you have substantial profit - something also quite rare here.

Independent local "small" business is hard.  Success depends more on our relentless support than policies coming out of government.

Email: Twitter: @OPRFChamber

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad