In this extremely divided political climate, it is rare to find common ground between the left and right sides of the aisle. However, Reps. Darin LaHood (R) and Brad Schneider (D) are two Illinois members of the powerful Ways and Means committee who have put aside partisan politics to introduce legislation that is laser-focused on helping the nation get back to business.
The Retail Revitalization Act introduced is not a grab bag of goodies. It is legitimate aid to help a retail industry that has received sucker punch after sucker punch from COVID-19 shutdowns.
No industry has taken the blows from COVID-19 as severely as the retail industry. Thousands of hardworking Illinois residents have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own.
The vast majority of these jobs impact our state’s most financially insecure communities.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, retail workers are more likely to live in poverty than other Americans in the workforce.
Fifty-six percent of retail workers are women.
Current antiquated tax provisions make it impossible for landlords to offer effective support to their tenants. The Retail Revitalization Act is a lifeline to retail small business owners who have sacrificed to keep their doors open and workers employed as the pandemic has slashed their revenue.
The legislation increases the percentage of tenant equity real estate investment trusts can own from 10 percent to 50 percent. The tax burden on residents is reduced by an infusion of private capital.
Over the last year, because of shutdowns, tenants have struggled to pay their rent. Landlords have only been able to offer limited relief. Modernizing this 1986 tax rule would infuse capital into an industry that is the lifeblood of America.
Having spent 23 years in the real estate industry, I understand the tragic economic devastation inflicted on communities when retail real estate struggles. Revenue generated by the retail industry impacts state and local public safety resources and infrastructure.
Recovery from a shuttered mall or shopping center is difficult. Jobs are not the only loss to a community, but areas like real estate value are impacted.
In a year that continues to see bipartisanship going down the drain, it is good to see Illinois legislators taking the lead to pass legislation that sets aside division to help hardworking Americans.