Corporate Incentives and the GOP candidates

Illinois gubernatorial candidates
Illinois gubernatorial candidates

By Jes Greene
Illinois News Network

With Illinois ranked third in the nation for unemployment and companies fleeing to lower-tax states, corporate incentives will be an issue for whoever is elected governor in November.

And most of the gubernatorial candidates have track records supportive of tax breaks for select businesses.

The state has tried to stem this migration of jobs from the Land of Lincoln by offering some companies special tax breaks.

But critics say the practice unfairly benefits some businesses while leaving competitors at a disadvantage. They contend ordinary taxpayers are often left paying for a disproportionate share of government services.

Illinois has an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, higher than all but Nevada and Rhode Island. That’s despite the enticements in a tax credit program in place since 1999 called EDGE, or Economic Development for a Growing Economy.

To qualify, businesses must invest in the state, create jobs and increase current operations or expand to a new location. Businesses must also prove they have competitive offers to move across state lines.

The gubernatorial candidates vary in their stances on these incentives.

After the House adjourned in December without voting on a special incentive for Archer Daniels Midland, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, called on Gov. Pat Quinn to reconvene the House to pass the deal.

But no vote was taken. ADM announced it is moving its corporate headquarters from downstate Decatur to Chicago. The future of other ADM office jobs in Decatur remain a question mark.

“Incentives have to be a win-win proposition. We have to make sure they’re a win for the state of Illinois as taxpayers and a win for the communities and workers,” Brady said.

In 2013, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, co-sponsored a bill to grant EDGE incentives for Univar, a $10 billion chemical distribution company, to move to Illinois.

Dillard says he hopes incentives will soon be unnecessary.

“While we may need to continue to offer some incentives in the very short term, I want to make sure that small businesses have the same opportunity as the big guy for the kinds of advantages they need to become entrepreneurs,” Dillard told Illinois News Network.

Bruce Rauner has called for lowering taxes, reducing regulatory burdens and reforming workers compensation, the tort system, the cost of insurance, environmental restrictions and labor regulations.

“We are a regulation heavy, restrictive, heavy bureaucracy state,” Rauner said in a gubernatorial debate held Tuesday in Springfield. “We need to become pro-free enterprise and pro-growth again so we are stealing businesses back from Indiana rather than the other way around.”

Rauner’s campaign did not respond to repeated inquiries from Illinois News Network on where he stands on corporate incentives.

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford is the only GOP hopeful to stand against the incentives.

“My contention is I want all of these marquee companies to stay here in the state of Illinois, but we don’t need to have special legislation drafted for just one company,” he said. “If you’re going to change the law because it’s good for one company, change the law so that it’s all applicable for those of that same type of company.”

Despite passing tax incentives for Sears Holdings Corp., CME, Caterpillar Inc., 

Motorola, Navistar and others since assuming office in 2009, Quinn says it may be time for a change in direction.

“I really think this is, the coming year, a good opportunity to take a step back and examine the tax code and the incentives in Illinois, and I’ve spoken to Speaker Mike Madigan and other leaders as well, and I think the coming year is a good time to take a look,” Quinn said in a December interview reported by CBS St. Louis.

Quinn did not elaborate on specific plans.

According to a FOIA obtained by INN, between 2001 and 2012 over $527 million in EDGE credits have been awarded to almost 250 companies in Illinois.


Caterpillar has received EDGE tax credits, but has not benefited from specific legislation within the EDGE tax program.

Max Smart February 25, 2014 at 04:30 PM
Don't forget this...WE won't! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTtUbzYDzB0
Grumpy Old Man February 25, 2014 at 05:05 PM
Agent 99 agrees! As do I.
Michael R. Plainfield February 25, 2014 at 07:49 PM
Thank you Max - anyone that demonstrates judgement that poor is surely not fit to run Illinois - and they most definitely will not get my vote - ever. Obama has not reached across the aisle once, and there's nothing to suggest that he will begin to...what a joke!
Matt B. February 25, 2014 at 08:16 PM
Thank you for the reminder Max. With all the advancements in phones, are you still using your shoe phone?
Grumpy Old Man February 26, 2014 at 08:21 AM
Shoe phones are very functional. How many of our young urban criminals out for a new Iphone to steal would look at the shoe!
Tony February 26, 2014 at 09:09 AM
When you look over the GOP candidates what do you see, three lifetime politicians and a Billionaire, what does a Billionaire want with the Governors job. With all the unemployment in Illinois there surly has to be someone on unemployment who would like to be a Governor.Trouble is it takes a lot of money to buy the Governors job so the chances of getting a new Governor or a qualified Governor are slim to none. Cook County is a perfect example, convicts get elected to office, some without even being seen. Illinois has to be on the top of the list for having the most politicians in jail or prison of any state in the US and it probably isn't going to change any to soon judging by what we have to choose for Governor.
Dan February 26, 2014 at 09:23 AM
tony = wefare fraud dummycRAT. AND QUINNS DOING A GREAT JOB,RIGHT? DUMMY
Ryan February 26, 2014 at 10:52 AM
When the government picks winners (those that receive the corporate tax incentives) and losers (everyone else), our economy is worse off. Instead, we should ban these one-off corporate tax deals, eliminate these loopholes and reduce the overall corporate tax rate. If the tax rate wasn't so high, the large corporations would be less inclined to seek relief.
Max Smart February 26, 2014 at 12:10 PM
Let's see...Three career politicians and a billionaire. Hmmm...I'l take the billionaire. Why? Well, he's least likely to end up where the last two governors did (The PEN!) and he has no vested interest in Illinois politics. That's enough for me. ANYONE who can beat quinn gets my vote!
Edward Andrysiak February 27, 2014 at 09:57 AM
I'm with you Max. The billionaire attests to the fact he knows how to run a business and understands cash flow and everything else about waste affecting the bottom line. He also is not in need of payola an we might get someone who can not be bought for a few bucks. As to why a "rich" guy wants to be governor...because highly motivated people with ability and leadership just find it difficult to sit on their dead ass and do nothing. We missed the boat not electing Romney..let's not let this opportunity slip by.
Max Smart February 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM
We certainly did, Ed. Romney did not lose...WE did! That election was stolen by the IRS, plain and simple! As for Rauner, he has a vested interest in getting the state back on track fiscally. The others are vested in the status quo. Dillard is a democrat operative who actively campaigned for the one!
J. Geoff Rove February 28, 2014 at 07:52 PM
26 years of GOP governors left this area with Tollroads and massive congestion on IL-83 south of 63rd St. and Maple at IL-53. Oh, and all homeowners paying property taxes for a 1 percenter Dupage airport.
Max Smart March 01, 2014 at 03:33 PM
J, do you REALLY have a point? You would rather have the state go bankrupt than put up with traffic?
ayar March 05, 2014 at 03:14 PM
I'd rather not deal with Mr. Rauner, and his hedge fund buddies, so Bill Brady, here I come. Wonder if Mr. Rauner's in Chicago having a steak with Rahm ? Oh, and Max, Romney DID lose - he had nothing new to say, and I'm talking about jobs. We no longer support jobs in America by regulating outsourcing [something Ronald Reagan did for Harley-Davidson, which WORKED]. We just send it all overseas in spite of having skilled [yes they have the skills necessary] workers HERE who just want an American wage to feed their kids. They want to WORK, but as we know, minimum wage doesn't cut it when you're paying the bills. No work, no jobs. No jobs, no pay. No pay, no taxes to tax. No taxes paid, taxes go up on everyone else working. Taxes go up, cost of food, and living go up. Everybody loses.
ayar March 05, 2014 at 03:17 PM
Obama's reach across the aisle for Illinois - a lot of shoulder rubbing between parties was involved in this one http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/chicago_news&id=9444200
Max Smart March 05, 2014 at 04:24 PM
Yeah and Romney was wrong about Russia too! Rauner (And Romney) know more about job creation than all of these so-called candidates combined. Brady is just another hack and Dillard is an obama sympathizer.
ayar March 06, 2014 at 05:41 PM
>Rauner (And Romney) know more about job creation than > all of these so-called candidates combined yeah, let me guess....more big tax breaks for big business and the middle class gets left holding the tab....and the jobs created ? for people in other countries than ours. yeah, great plan..not. Brady here I come.
Dan March 06, 2014 at 07:32 PM
max is right on with rauner. dillard is so fat,he'll prob. have a grabber. Rutherford,well you know about him,and brady is looking for another state pension.
Ryan March 06, 2014 at 08:11 PM
Tribune just endorsed Rauner.
jim March 06, 2014 at 10:40 PM
Max Smart March 06, 2014 at 10:46 PM
Brady couldn't beat quinn last time when he was down for the count!
ayar March 13, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Nah. Brady's still the best chance of getting Quinn - we're done with this sort of stuff. http://www.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs/24839723-452/gov-hopeful-bruce-rauner-gave-payton-250k-after-pulling-strings-to-get-daughter-into-elite.html
ayar March 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM
and lowering minimum wage ? no thanks http://chicagoist.com/2014/01/07/business_mogul_bruce_rauner_would_l.php
ayar March 13, 2014 at 10:35 AM
If you want to bring jobs back, you have to open the federal trickle down again and get federal money back into Illinois, which everyone knows already. How would he talk to those people ? would he even try ? Instead, let's get names like Foster, Kirk, Durbin, and Hultgren perhaps convincing congress into getting federal contracts back into our infrastructure [including education] and 'invest' in us again.
Max Smart March 13, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Federal money? IL gets more federal funds than most states and squanders every dime on pensions and other entitlements. What we need is people with the will to do the will of the PEOPLE!


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