Quinn, Emanuel take credit for Ford expansion in Ill.

October 5, 2011 6:35:52 PM PDT
Ford is adding 2,000 new jobs in Chicago and the suburbs. Both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn are trying to take credit.

The mayor re-staked his claim to the Ford jobs bonanza, asking the City Council to cut in half the so-called head tax on city businesses from $4 a month per employee to $2 a month. Emanuel says it's an incentive he promised the Ford Motor Company if it would increase its payroll at the Torrence Avenue plant.

"This has been a significant piece in our ability to win those jobs at that Ford plant and add a third shift at the Ford plant," said Emanuel.

On Tuesday, Ford revealed tentative plans to add 1,100 workers in Chicago and hundreds more at its stamping plant just outside the city.

"Now we have a chance to get a third shift, and that would be another package we put together," said Gov. Quinn.

Quinn says it was his administration that offered Ford state tax credits in 2009 to add a second shift. He says his efforts laid the groundwork for a new Ford expansion.

"When you have a governor of a big state like Illinois working with a great company like Ford, you can go miles and miles," said Quinn.

But Emanuel credits his one-on-one contacts with the big shots at Ford.

"I've sat with Allan Mulally, the CEO. Email with him. I talked to Mark Field. I talked to Maria who is over at the plant," said Emanuel.

Chicago's aldermen showered Emanuel with a kaboodle of kudos for the Ford deal and, used it as another reason to get rid of the head tax called a job killer by small business owners.

"But for efforts like this mayor, I truly believe Ford would consider moving out of the city of Chicago," said Ald John Pope, 10th Ward.

"Oh, this is the tax for me employing people in the city of Chicago. It needs to go," said Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward.

Emanuel denied taking too much credit for the Ford deal.

"It's not about anybody taking credit except for the workers and getting their jobs. And what I care about is that we're adding jobs to the city of Chicago," said Emanuel.

"My job as governor is not to talk about who gets the credit. We want to make sure the credit goes to the workers of Illinois," said Quinn.

It's only the latest tension between Quinn and Emanuel. A few weeks ago, the two went at it over the pending gaming expansion bill about which the governor has serious reservations.

The head tax cut will cost the city about $23 million a year. It will be part of the mayor's budget proposal to be released a week from Wednesday.

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