Illinois State Senate approves tax breaks

December 12, 2011 (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.)

The measure now goes to Governor Pat Quinn's desk.

The tax relief was aimed at keeping two large companies from leaving the state. After the vote, Sears announced that it will be staying in Illinois.

The Illinois Senate concurred Tuesday with what happened in the state House on Monday. The Senate approved a variety of tax cuts that could cost the Illinois treasury, already in deficit, some hundreds of millions of dollars.

"We've decided it's worth the expenditure, if you will, to get them to stay," said State Senate President John Cullerton (D.-Chicago).

The senators passed both bills with overwhelming bipartisan supermajorities.

One measure will provide tax breaks for Sears Holding Company and CME Group, two firms that had threatened to leave Illinois without new incentives.

The other bill provides increased tax credits for low income wage earners, effectively cutting the taxes paid by the working poor.

"A measure that for the first time since the year 2000 improves the value of the earned income tax credit, which, in plain language, is tax relief for working families raising children," said Quinn. "Tthere's no more important mission in life than raising kids."

"It really is tax relief, and we need to get as much tax relief out to people as we possibly can," said State Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R.-Lemont). "We as Republicans are going to continue to look for ways to maximize tax relief."

"The idea that this is tax relief, I think, is folly," said Sen. Ron Sandack (R.-Elmhurst). The best way to do this is to roll the whole tax increase back, rather than give piecemeal chump change, frankly, back to taxpayers."

"This has been a very difficult thing to negotiation largely because we are over the barrel," said Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D.-Chicago Heights). "We have other states in the Midwest that are doing everything they can to lure business away from Illinois."

Sears Holding Company issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying the company would end its relocation effort if Governor Quinn signs the tax break bill.

A spokeswoman for the governor says he plans to do that as soon as the measure arrives on his desk.

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