Scientific Opinion Poll: Ill. Small Business Owners Say Government Doesn’t Understand Their Concerns, Need Help With Healthcare Costs and Other Challenges

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Small businesses in Illinois support a range of policies to address their needs, some of which might come as a surprise to their government officials


Chicago — Policymakers at all levels use the problems small businesses face as a key talking point during political debates. But new opinion polling reveals Illinois small business owners feel their government officials don’t fully understand their challenges, and they support a wide array of policies to address their needs.  

The survey, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting on behalf of Small Business Majority found only 15% of Illinois small businesses feel their state and federal government officials have a strong understanding of their needs. The top three reasons why they feel government officials don’t understand them are: they are too influenced by special interests, they primarily care about larger businesses and they don’t take time to listen to or understand the views of business owners like them. 

One example of how government officials may have misunderstood the needs of small businesses is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. While the new tax law was billed as a win for small firms, only 31% of Illinois respondents report that the law has had a positive impact on their business. 

Illinois small business owners identified several actions government could take to address the needs of small businesses like theirs. Respondents showed strong support for policies that would address healthcare affordability and access, including: 

  • Increasing federal subsidies that help make healthcare more affordable for people who make under 400% of the federal poverty level (less than $100,400 for a family of 4) (77% agree).  

  • Requiring all individuals to maintain a basic level of health insurance (70% agree). 

  • Banning short-term insurance and association health plans (59% support).

“Most government officials do not understand small business,” said Karin McKie, owner of Tree Falls Productions in Chicago. “My primary concern right now is healthcare, especially since I have a pre-existing condition. I would be dead or bankrupt without my insurance, and yet some elected officials are trying to make sure I have even fewer options. If they succeed it will drive people like me away from their entrepreneurial dreams into jobs they don’t want just to get health benefits.”

Additionally, more than half of respondents (53%) feel access to capital is a problem for small businesses, and they support legislation that would address predatory practices in small business lending by requiring certain disclosures in small business loan products (79%).

“Small business owners in Illinois want policymakers to listen to them and understand their concerns, and then act on them,” said Small Business Majority Midwest Outreach Manager Geraldine Sanchez Aglipay. “If Illinois officials want to support our state’s job creators, they must address barriers to entrepreneurship and enact policies that will level the playing field for small firms.”

This poll reflects an Internet survey of 100 small business owners with 1-100 employees in Illinois, as part of a larger sample of 400 small business owners in four states (Missouri, Virginia, Wisconsin and Illinois). 

For the full poll report, please visit:


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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