Category: Business

29- Sep2016
Posted By: Terrance

Valuable Small Business Development Centers Are Closing


The economy on Illinois, like that of every other state, depends on entrepreneurs deciding to start a business. That’s a difficult process, so the state has helped those new business owners learn about marketing, finance, and other important topics with their Small Business Development Centers. The centers have been highly successful for several decades, but many of them have been forced to closed down in the past few years.

What Do The Centers Do?

The centers provide training affordable training to new entrepreneurs. The training can cover essentially every aspect of running a small business, from management skills to the different ways of financing expansion. The low cost makes it especially valuable for people who never had the opportunity to attend business school, and their local focus means the lessons can be adjusted to deal with local market conditions.

Where Are They Closing?

Small Business Development Centers are closing all over the state. Approximately one fifth of the centers have either closed already or are scheduled to close in the near future. That’s a large number, but the fact that the closures are scattered all over the state means that many people will still have access to a center if they need it. They will need to travel a little further than they used to, and the centers will be more crowded, but relatively few people will suffer from a complete loss of support for their small business.

Why Are They Closing?

The centers are closing down due to a lack of funding. The program depends on government grants to survive, and those grants have suffered significant cuts in recent years. The majority of the centers are associated with universities. Those universities contributed to funding the centers, but few of them can afford to support the centers without help from the state, especially when their own funding has also suffered recent decreases. The Business Development Centers that are not associated with universities tend to be significantly less reliant on funding from the state, so many of them are still operating and have no plans to close.

28- Sep2016
Posted By: Terrance

Chicago Will Continue to Benefit from Low Interest Rates

In late August 2016, the President of the Chicago Federal Reserve was invited to speak in Beijing at the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance. Among the topics in his lecture to finance ministers and policymakers from around the world, the Chicago Fed President Charles Evans addressed the current economic climate of short interest rates.

The U.S. economy has been enjoying historically low interest rates since the height of the Great Recession in 2008. In the beginning, the low rates helped banks access cash that was desperately needed after many financial institutions failed and were forced to stop operating. By 2010, the expectations from Wall Street for the three-month Treasury bill were around 4.25 percent, but they have since fallen to just under three percent.

Why Low Interest Rates Are Good for Chicago

According to Chicago Fed President Evans, a move to raise short-term rates will not benefit the U.S. economy at this time. This happens to be a sentiment shared by Stephen S. Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada. It so happens that Chicago and Canada have been enjoying good trade relations during the historical period of low rates as nearly 200 Canadian companies have set up shop in the Windy City in the last decade.

Around the same time the Federal Reserve agreed to leave interest rates low, the S&P CoreLogic Case/Shiller Home Price Index was released. This benchmark report, which covers the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., had some good news for Chicago: local home values have increased by 3.7 percent since July 2015, and this appreciation is the highest experienced in the last two years. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of room for improvement as home price are still 18 percent below their peak levels from a decade ago.

The gains observed in the Case/Shiller Home Price Index are impressive from a historical point of view. Since the collapse of the American housing market, single-family residences in Chicago have recovered by 34 percent while condo units have recovered by 45 percent; this recovery has been boosted by the low interest rates of the last few years, and it needs to continue until the end of this decade.

Unlike other metropolitan areas such as Dallas,the economic recovery of Chicago has not yet come to fruition. Low interest rates will continue to benefit the Windy City until real economic progress can be felt.


Without Tax Reforms, Illinois May Not Achieve Economic Growth

The first debate between United States presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton left voters in Illinois wishing for clues with regard to job growth and private business incentives.

Trump mentioned tax breaks while Clinton mentioned tax adjustments, but neither candidate mentioned the possibility of tax reform, which is something that the Prairie State desperately needs. Tax breaks and adjustments

After a lukewarm year for the American economy, greater economic activity in Illinois seems like a dream that may never be achieved. In terms of job growth and economic expansion, Illinois is behind the national indicators for these two important macroeconomic factors.

For most of the 21st century, U.S. presidential candidates have shied away from including tax reform in their political agendas. Just like Trump and Clinton, they have talked about tax breaks, adjustments and enforcement, but they seem to draw the line at sweeping tax reform.

Why U.S. Tax Reform is Overdue

One of the problems with a stagnant tax code is that business innovation ends up getting stifled while local governments seek dubious means of revenue. In Cook County, for example, a tax on sugary drinks has been proposed while property taxes soar. Research and development operations do not receive the tax credits they deserve, which means that innovative projects are never completed.

With a tax rate as high as 39 percent for many private business enterprises, companies cannot be entirely blamed for taking advantage of tax loopholes that allow them to direct their profits outside of the U.S. The tax code has become so complicated that the adjustments and breaks proposed by Clinton and Trump will probably have little to no effect on the economy.

How to Pass Tax Reform

Some political analysts believe that Trump and Clinton have not proposed tax reform because it would be an impossible task. While it is true that such reform will not be easy, calling it impossible is a stretch.

During his two terms, President Barack Obama presented two reform projects far more complicated than taxation. One was Obamacare, which was a massive insurance reform program; the other was immigration, which he was able to advance to a certain extent. There is no question that the next administration would be able to handle tax reform.

Comprehensive tax reform could benefit not just Illinois but also North America as a whole. With nearly 200 Canadian companies operating in the Chicago area alone, the prospect of corporate-friendly tax reform is too valuable to ignore for another four years.