Lawmakers introduced a new proposal Monday that would provide incentives for Sears to remain in Illinois and a final decision on the matter could come as early as this week.
The legislation, tied into tax breaks for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, would extend the Sears deal with Hoffman Estates an additional 15 years and would provide District 300 $89 million from 2013 to 2028, according to a press release from D300. If the current agreement were to be extended, the school district would receive only $43.5 million over the same time period.
The new legislation does not include the job-creation credits the company wanted, but it does include a provision that would penalize Sears if the company leaves Illinois before 2018, according to an article in the Daily Herald. That is the only aspect District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy said he was pleased with.
"We support the portions of this new legislation that provide incentives directly to Sears and penalties if it moves its headquarters out of our school district," Bregy said in a statement. "That appears to be the one and only responsible portion of this otherwise appalling legislation."
Two weeks ago, the district presented its own plan to keep Sears in the state that included each of the four parties - D300, Sears, Hoffman Estates, and the State - contributing $2 million a year for the next 15 years.
The school district lists five reasons on its website for why it considers Hoffman Estates to be the "biggest winner" in the latest legislation, stating the new agreement would give the village an estimated $93 million over 15 years and would allow the village to use EDA funds to buy and operate publicly owned buildings in the EDA.
District 300 officials will remain in Springfield this week to urge legislators to rewrite the newly-filed legislation. Amendment 2 of Senate Bill 397 will be discussed by the House Revenue & Finance Committee on Tuesday morning. If the committee advances it to the full house on Tuesday, the Senate could take up the issue as early as Tuesday afternoon.
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