Two Cents Worth – Dec 2, 2015

A while back I referenced a billboard in one of my rantings and how I was going to discuss its contents here soon. While its taken me a bit longer than I’d imagined, I’ve finally gotten around to writing about that billboard.

I saw this sign as my sports editor, Nathan Poignee, and I drove up to Chicago to watch the Panthers Football season opener. The billboard read in big red letters “NoAdTaxIllinois.com”. Now, given that I’d recently started a newspaper, the prospect of a new tax on advertising was something I was a bit interested in.

As it turns out, the geniuses in Springfield (both parties) have evidently decided that in order to get out of the financial hole they’ve gotten us into over the past thirty years or so, they’re going to consider some new creative taxes.  One of which happens to be on advertising. Evidently Governor Rauner and a group of legislators have proposed the idea of a 6.25 percent tax on newspaper, television, radio, and Internet advertising. Illinois would be the only state in the union to have such a tax.

Needless to say, we at the O’Fallon Weekly are against such a proposal for a variety of reasons.

First, as a small, start-up business, any hit to my bottom line right now is dramatically felt and a tax on the one source of revenue my paper has would be a big problem. We’re proud to be able to provide you, week in and week out, with good community news at no charge, but in order to do so, I need to make money from my advertising. I don’t need the state taking a portion.

Second, this ad tax, like most taxes, will result in an increase in the prices of goods and services. When the tax is implemented, I will be forced to raise my advertising rates to accommodate the state reaching into my pocket, passing that cost onto my advertisers. Those advertisers will then be forced to either absorb that increase or pass it down to their customers. More often than not, consumers are the real victims when business taxes are implemented or raised.

Finally, this seems completely counter productive to achieve what the Governor said his goal was when running for election. Rauner ran on a pro-growth, pro-business platform and implementing an ad tax goes against that philosophy. I get that there is a $4 billion budget hole to fill, but taxing businesses is the wrong thing to do. Illinois has done plenty over the past two decades to make neighboring states seem more attractive and drive families and businesses away. Let’s not continue down that road.

I realize I am not impartial on this issue. A tax on advertising takes money directly out of my pocket. But I’m sick and tired of our government, be it state, federal, or local, thinking it can just come along and take more of my hard earned money to fix whatever problem they’ve managed to get themselves into.

Please consider visiting www.NoAdTaxIllinois.com and writing a short note to your state representative or senator telling them to oppose an ad tax. We’d really appreciate it.