News Local/State

ADM Seeks State Tax Breaks Of About $20 Million


Archer Daniels Midland Company has told an Illinois House committee it is seeking about $20 million in tax credits as it decides whether to keep its global headquarters in the state.

ADM consultant Mike Kasper told lawmakers Tuesday that the agribusiness wants legislation letting it apply for tax credits worth around $1.2 million annually for 20 years. 

In return, the company would keep its headquarters in Illinois, likely in Chicago.

One lawmaker said it is "essentially blackmailing the state." Others, like Sen. Andy Manar, a Democrat whose district includes Decatur, where the company is based, acknowledged they want to keep ADM in Illinois.

"We can't do that in one community at the expense of another, and I think that has to be part of the discussion as well," he said. 

 Manar pointed out while unemployment in Illinois is at 9 percent, Decatur's jobless rate is at 12 percent.

"And for a generation, has had a much higher unemployment rate than the state average," he said. "That cannot be conveniently ignored by the legislature." 

But Adam Pollet, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said companies first look at Illinois' infrastructure and well-educated workforce.

"At the same time, we are in a world in which states are competing. And there do tend to be marginal but important decisions about taxes, about incentives, about grants and other things," he said.

 One legislator asked ADM's chief financial officer how a comparatively small credit mattered to a multibillion-dollar company. Ray Young said watching "nickels and dimes'' has made ADM successful.  

The executives added they're no longer pursuing one proposal that ADM also receive a break on utility taxes.

ADM wants to move its global headquarters out of Decatur. It will keep the bulk of its operations there.