Ohio offers Sears millions to leave Ill.

December 1, 2011 4:36:39 PM PST
The future of Sears' headquarters in Illinois is uncertain after state lawmakers failed to pass a major package of tax breaks.

As Ohio reportedly dangles a $400 million carrot as an incentive to lure the company away, Governor Pat Quinn says he is not worried about getting into a bidding war to keep the company in Illinois. He says the financial help the state is offering Sears is more than adequate.

Stakeholders in the Sears deal are growing nervous. Keeping the businesses in Illinois maintains jobs and revenue locally.

Meanwhile, schools in the area worry about the impact Sears' departure would have on their district.

There are 32 students in Mr. Marks' class. Ideally the principal at Parkview Elementary School in Carpentersville would like a maximum of 24 students in a fourth grade class, but that is not an option. In the last two decades enrollment has doubled at School District 300 and 125 teachers were recently laid off recently to balance the district's budget.

"We are a high growth, high poverty school district. Over the last two years alone we have cut more than $14 million, so there is a lot at stake for our school district," said Supt. Michael Bregy, School District 300.

Last month, hundreds of teachers, parents and students from District 300 prepared for a protest in Springfield. They hope to get help from their Hoffman Estates neighbor and retail behemoth, Sears.

Legislators failed to pass a bill earlier this week to keep Sears in Illinois with tax incentives. If Sears stays, the school district expects to get a bigger chunk of revenue from Sears. The mayor of Hoffman Estates is also eager to keep Sears in the village and is willing to cap the village's cut in order to keep the 6,100 Sears jobs.

"I'm a little tense and a little frustrated. But I've been in government a long time. In fact I even worked for a state rep. I understand the process. It doesn't make it any less frustrating," said Mayor William McLeod, Hoffman Estates.

A spokesman for Sears Holdings says the company has received proposals from Ohio and others states to relocate. But Quinn says Illinois' offer to Sears is more than fair.

"I hope we can get all the folks together, particularly in the House, that did not approve this measure to take another look. We may have to refine the bill, if that's what's necessary so be it, and I think we can get the job done," said Quinn.

Sears employs over 6,000 people. The mayor of Hoffman Estates says another 9,000 jobs are tied to the retail headquarters.

The spokeswoman for Ohio's governor tells ABC7 they won't disclose the details of any deals they are discussing with any business to bring jobs to the state.

Another company also threatening to leave Illinois is Chicago's CME Group.

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