This is a calculated risk by the governor that conceivably could cause the state to lose the international headquarters of one of the nation's largest companies.
"I think we need to have a moratorium on any special legislation for tax breaks for corporations," said Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Illinois).
The governor says he would not even consider a tax break for Archer Daniels Midland to keep the agribusiness giant's headquarters in Illinois. Quinn said lawmakers-- in dire need to resolve the state's $100 billion dollar unfunded pension debt-- do not need the distraction.
"I would say to ADM, hold back, don't be trying any special legislation for tax breaks when we have the pension reform that needs action now," said Gov. Quinn.
Decatur-based ADM reportedly wants a $24 million tax credit over the next 15-20 years to move about 200 managers to Chicago; 4,400 other workers would remain downstate. Republican gubernatorial candidates were quick to comment on Quinn's latest pension gambit.
"You cannot hold ADM's future to pension legislation. It just is illogical and it doesn't fit," said Kirk Dillard.
And Senator Bill Brady-- campaigning on the South Side--says Quinn risks a double loss.
"Well, if you lose ADM's corporate headquarters and you don't get pension reform, what do you have?" said Sen. Bill Brady.
The governor saying no to a major corporation to focus on pension reform got a boost at this morning's small business expo. The sponsor-- Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely-- and other participants agreed the pension crisis has impaired public sector help for small companies.
"I think it does affect small business because we're not putting our resources to work in terms of progress where we can hire small business, where we can fuel the economy," said Stephanie Neely, Chicago City Treasurer.
"They need start-up funding, they need something to help them with capital and so on and the dollars are not as available as readily as they once were," said Douglas Nohe, small business consultant.
"We have to have all our businesses focused on pension reform. That's job one, and that's job 21," said Gov. Quinn.
The governor is calling ADM's bluff in the apparent belief the company will not leave Illinois in the near term. ADM officials reportedly want their executives to be in a big city with an international airport. State and city officials believe Chicago is the perfect fit--incentives or not.