'Soup sandwich' bill no way to feed business growth in Illinois, Breen argues
A "soup sandwich" measure that would punish even good businesses is not the kind of thing Illinois needs on its plate right now, Rep. Steven Andersson (R-Geneva) argued in the House on Wednesday.
House Bill 160 would create the Keep Illinois Business Act in an effort to encourage businesses to stay in Illinois by requiring them to pay back whatever tax credits they receive if they move any jobs out of state.
“There is some good here," Andersson said. "There is no question about it. The bottom line for me is, right now, we need to negotiate a comprehensive balanced budget, and what we are doing here is we are costing ourselves a whole lot of money. Now, I like reducing taxes, don’t get me wrong, but in the midst of the crisis we are in, I think doing it in this piecemeal fashion – or the soup sandwich fashion if you will – is not the right way to go. I think that we need to do some of this but in the context of a larger discussion. With respect, for me, I can’t support the bill. “
Sponsored by Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside), HB160 would offer businesses a variety of incentives, including tax credits, tax exemptions, grants and loans, to operate in Illinois, but moving even one employee would invalidate the credits.
Zalewski said the bill rewards companies that invest in Illinois and is a worthy part of any economic agenda. Anderson said he couldn't fathom why a business would bother.
“If an employer has received a tax credit -- EDGE or whatever – and if they remove any employee from the state, the whole thing gets clawed back, correct?" he said. "What is the logic of that sort of immense penalty?” Claw-backs make sense within the limited time frame of the deal. This provision says that even after they complied, they do everything they are supposed to do, they move an employee – one employee out - they lose it all. They have to pay it all back. In perpetuity. It never goes away. Why would anyone ever want a tax credit under that risk scenario?”
HB160 passed 63-50.
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