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updated: 10/9/2013 8:06 AM

ADM cites past tax breaks for Sears

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS Archer Daniels Midland Company, which wants to move its headquarters from Decatur, has cited tax breaks Illinois granted Sears, when that company was threatening to leave the state, as precedent-setting.

      ASSOCIATED PRESS Archer Daniels Midland Company, which wants to move its headquarters from Decatur, has cited tax breaks Illinois granted Sears, when that company was threatening to leave the state, as precedent-setting.

 
Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN -- Archer Daniels Midland Company said Tuesday that perks Illinois gave to Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp. and other companies set a precedent that ADM would like to see followed as it tries to get tax breaks.

ADM has announced plans to move its headquarters from Decatur but hasn't settled on a new location yet. The Illinois General Assembly is considering giving the company up to $24 million in tax breaks to stay in the state.

That bill has gotten a cold reception from lawmakers and a threat of a veto from Gov. Pat Quinn if lawmakers don't deal with the state's pension problem first.

Illinois offered tax breaks to Sears to keep its headquarters in Hoffman Estates and to ADM competitor Tate & Lyle to keep its North American headquarters in Illinois when it decided to leave Decatur a few years ago.

"We certainly are aware of the incentives that have been offered to other companies. We've done our research," said ADM spokeswoman Victoria Podesta. "I think it creates precedent. I think precedent is important."

Tate & Lyle moved its headquarters to Hoffman Estates after receiving a deal for $15 million in incentives. The Sears deal included about $100 million for that company and the corporation that runs the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade after it, too, threatened to leave Illinois.

ADM has said it wants to move about 100 high-level jobs to a new global headquarters in a city with an airport that offers easy access to its overseas operations and a strong talent pool to hire lawyers, marketers and others from. Another 100 or so new IT jobs would be created there, too. The company would leave some 4,400 jobs in Decatur, which would become the company's North American headquarters.

The incentives bill was harshly criticized by Democratic lawmakers during a legislative hearing earlier this month, and the Democratic governor said he would veto the legislation if it reaches him before lawmakers addresses the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Quinn's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

ADM hasn't said which cities it is considering, but Podesta says the list is short. Officials in Chicago have said they're on that list and news reports have placed St. Louis and Minneapolis on it, too.

Podesta declined Tuesday to confirm or deny a report in the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal that ADM officials had met with officials in Minneapolis after Illinois lawmakers were critical of the proposed ADM deal and Quinn threatened the veto.

"Certainly we have said we are looking various options," she said.

The company's timeline for a decision, she said, depends on political decisions in the locations the company is considering. But she said the company doesn't expect the first employees will be ready to leave Decatur before the middle of 2014.

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