Quinn: Get Sears deal done this year
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn wants to see a tax relief deal for Sears Holdings Corp. and futures exchange CME Group be worked out by the end of the year in the face of threats by both companies to leave the state, a spokeswoman said Friday.
Spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said Quinn is in touch with top lawmakers trying to work out a large tax-breaks package for the two companies, as well as general business credits and help for working families.
"The governor thinks it would be best for people to get it done this year," Anderson said.
Meanwhile, House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego talked by phone with state Rep. John Bradley, a Marion Democrat and a top House negotiator on the issue, on Friday with a goal toward moving the deal forward.
"Rep. Bradley and Leader Cross had a very positive conversation this afternoon regarding a jobs plan with the goal of coming to a resolution in the next couple of weeks," Cross spokeswoman Sara Wojcicki Jimenez said Friday.
She said talks between the two were likely to continue into the weekend.
Lawmakers could return to Springfield as early as next week if a deal gets worked out. But as the holiday season nears, getting enough of them to travel away from home to take a controversial vote could be difficult.
Lawmakers left Tuesday without a tax-breaks deal in place and no immediate plans to return, but Sears officials have said they plan to stick to their intention to decide by the end of the year whether to move out of Hoffman Estates by the end of the year.
The company is weighing offers from several other states, including a $400 million package of incentives from Ohio.
Even if Cross and Bradley can work out a deal the House can approve, it's unclear if the Senate or Quinn would go along.
The Senate this week approved a tax breaks proposal with bipartisan support that the House roundly rejected.
The sticking point is tax relief in the package for individuals, including a credit for the working poor and an increase in the standard income tax deduction for everyone.
Cross said this week that he'd like to see those provisions scaled back or eliminated in order to focus on the business credits. Senate Democrats and Quinn, though, have emphasized they want to see tax breaks for working people if they're going to also give incentives to large companies.
While those issues remain in conflict, the Sears provisions haven't changed recently. The retail giant would get an extension of its property tax deal with Hoffman Estates, as well as $15 million in income tax credits over the next 10 years.
In addition, the company would have to give the tax relief back if it left town, keep at least 4,250 employees working locally, and local governments like Community Unit District 300 in Carpentersville would see their tax take from the deal double.