Linda Ekendahl hoped buying property for her business would be the best move – until her $30,000 property tax bill came. Another tax hike under Amendment 1 would further damage her business.
At 26, Linda Ekendahl asked her parents to leverage their home equity so she could start a business they’d never heard of. After 18 years, Ekendahl successfully runs two Edible Arrangements locations in Chicago.
When she bought her first retail space, she hoped investing in her business would build a nest egg for her son. She has found more of a burden than financial security because of property taxes.
“We started out renting, and as our business grew I felt confident about buying a location. I found one in Oak Park for $320,000 and thought, ‘I can totally do this,’” Ekendahl said.
“The previous owners received a property tax bill for about $9,000 – the vacant rate – so I knew I was going to end up having to pay around $18,000 or $19,000, the occupied rate. Then that first year our property taxes were $29,000. It went up by $10,000,” she said.
Unexpected and rapidly growing property taxes have both shut down businesses in Illinois and prompted others to leave. From 2018 to 2023, Illinois dropped seven spots to rank 36th in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index while neighboring states rose or held steady.
“I was hoping that having a mortgage payment would be my security and that paying it off would help me in a sense of having something for my future. I want to leave a legacy for my son. I …