Manar: Tax Breaks Shouldn’t Be Held Up By Pension Crisis
BY Jeff Bossert, with additional reporting from Illinois Public Radio
One downstate lawmaker questions why legislation addressing the future of major corporations in Illinois has to come after a solution is found to the state pension crisis.
Gov. Pat Quinn has called for a ‘moratorium’ on tax credits for any corporation until the issue is solved. Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said there is no reason they cannot be done simultaneously.
“I do think it’s important that we be able to walk and chew gum at the same time," he said. "I think there’s a multitude of challenges we face in the state, and I don’t understand why we can’t try to solve these challenges all at once.”
But Manar vowed to oppose any bill that results in a net job loss in Decatur, including a plan for $24 million in tax breaks to move Archer Daniels Midland’s corporate headquarters elsewhere in the state.
A spokeswoman for Quinn said he looks forward to ADM thriving in Illinois, but Brooke Anderson denied the governor is holding up the tax measure for political reasons.
“For the governor, it’s not about politics, it’s about priorities," she said. "For more than two years, we’ve been pushing for comprehensive pension reform. The bill is still not on the governor’s desk.”
Many reports have cited Chicago as the likely new location for ADM headquarters, but company spokeswoman Victoria Podesta will only say the city is one of some being considered that include an airport and easy access to customers.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner weighed in on the ADM debate Tuesday. He said Quinn is playing games with the Fortune 500 company.
"Corporations are successful because they’re tough and aggressive negotiators and they’re looking out to save every nickel and every penny that they can," he said. "That’s good management. You don’t blame ADM for that at all."
Podesta said the company is seeking a cost-effective solution to moving its headquarters, but knows that involves letting the political process pay out.