The future of two Illinois corporations is still in question after lawmakers failed to pass tax breaks designed to keep them here. Now the question is, whose move is next? Lawmakers came to Springfield intent on persuading the CME Group and Sears to stay put by changing the way online transactions are taxed for CME, and by giving Sears $15 million a year for 10 years and extending its economic development area in Hoffman Estates. Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) says lawmakers dropped the ball.
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“There was just a failure of leadership,” she says. “Unfortunately I think it has the potential to negatively impact our job climate. I guess we’ll have to see if these companies are considering leaving actually make that move.” The Senate tweaked an earlier House bill to increase the earned income tax credit and give more breaks to small businesses, but the House flatly rejected it with 99 members voting no. Radogno chalked that up to “gamesmanship” between the two chambers, as the Senate’s measure passed comfortably from that chamber earlier in the afternoon. Gov. Pat Quinn hinted that even with the Senate’s attempt to increase the earned income tax credit to 10 percent in the second year over the House’s flat 7.5 percent, it wouldn’t have been enough.
“If you’re gonna have any type of tax relief package, it must have significant relief for working families raising kids and working hard,” he said. “Unless that happens there won’t be any tax relief.” Leaders from both parties say it is unlikely lawmakers will come back to address this before 2012, but they left the door open in case a new deal is reached. “Our caucus is always willing to participate in a solution,” Radogno said.