With Illinois’ economy in an absolute tailspin due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Representative Tony McCombie (71st- Savanna) announced on Tuesday she will be cosponsoring legislation being drafted by State Representatives Mark Batinick (97th-Plainfield) and Ryan Spain (73rd-Peoria) to help level the playing field between big box retailers and small businesses.
The legislation, called the Fair Business Treatment Act, proposes small businesses be given the same opportunities that larger, big box stores currently have. The Illinois House Republican legislators have been strong advocates for small businesses in their communities and believe there is a huge disparity in allowing large retail stores to sell items available at local small businesses—but preventing small businesses from opening. Rep. McCombie e-mailed the Governor’s office her concerns on this last week, but they have announced no changes nor consideration of changes to-date to address the big box inequity.
“Too many of our small businesses have been pushed to the brink by the governor’s ill-conceived executive order forcing them to close their doors. The governor has allowed thousands of businesses to remain open and operate safely but pushed others into bankruptcy. With 1 million Illinoisans out of work, he must realize that all employees are essential,” said Rep. McCombie.
Rep. Batinick, who has been vocal since the start of this pandemic in preventing big box stores from monopolizing sales at the expense of small shops on Main Street, believes small businesses offer an even safer environment for consumers. “It’s simply not fair,” said Batinick. “If a product is going to be allowed to be sold in a community, why would you want everyone in the community going to the same crowded building? If people are going to buy those products, it is better to spread them out.”
Representative McCombie strongly agreed with that sentiment. “Most people in the economy are employed by small businesses. I worry about whether any will be left by the time we finally initiate this severely delayed economic recovery in Illinois. The legislature must return to Springfield NOW to take an up or down vote on legislation like this that demands fair treatment of small business owners.”
Hearing the frustrations of local business owners in the 71st District motivated McCombie to back the Fair Business Act.