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Illinois House lets down small business owners by not passing loan rate-disclosure bill

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When I started my business, I knew I’d face a number of challenges and roadblocks. But I didn’t expect that I would become trapped by a predatory loan product because the financing company wasn’t required to disclose the full costs of the loan.

While I’ve been fortunate to come out of the other side of this experience with my business intact, no small business owner should have to navigate this situation. That’s why I’m disappointed the Illinois House is not moving forward with Senate Bill 2234, “The Small Business Financing Transparency Act.”

This legislation would have enacted critical protections for small business borrowers in Illinois by requiring non-bank commercial lenders to disclose the annual percentage rate, which is the only established metric that enables borrowers to make apples-to-apples comparisons between different financing products.

Without this transparency, many small business owners have ended up paying effective APRs of over 50% — sometimes as high as 350% — without these rates ever being disclosed to them. Unfortunately, due to legislative inaction, small businesses will continue to be targeted by non-bank lenders charging excessive interest rates.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.

I strongly urge the legislature to take up and pass a bill during the next legislative session. Illinois’ entrepreneurs deserve to make informed decisions based on transparent lending terms so that our small businesses can thrive.

Elena Ellingson-Cosenza, communications assistant, Small Business Majority

What will replace ShotSpotter?

Neil Steinberg’s column on ShotSpotter was on target. We know Mayor Brandon Johnson made campaign promises and inferred the technology was a contributor to over-policing Black and Brown communities. Still, in 2023 more than 2,400 people were shot in Chicago. Any tool that can give notice of a gun fired in this city should be put to use.

Campaign promises regarding issues of human safety cannot trump the efficacy of law enforcement tools. This is especially so when law enforcement officials support the crime-fighting mechanism. Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling has been a ShotSpotter supporter.

Add to this the multiple alderpersons who represent the wards with the most at-risk citizens of gun violence. They have urged Johnson to “take all steps necessary to ensure that there is no gap in vital services for residents of Chicago.”

If the mayor wants to follow through on his intent to cancel this technology, he must first tell the citizens what will be done to replace ShotSpotter’s results and technology.

Terry Takash, Western Springs

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