Lawmakers in Springfield continue to work on a broad tax relief package for businesses and individuals while concern grows about the price. Lawmakers continue talks on a tax relief package that would help businesses and individuals, but there is growing concern that in its current form, the package would cost the state $850 million a year, leaving some to think the package must be scaled back in order to pass.
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The relief package initially was aimed at the CME Group, the financial exchange in Chicago that threatened to move out of state because of recently increased tax rates. Later, Sears jumped on board saying they too needed help to stay in the state. Gov. Pat Quinn says it’s important to keep both businesses in the state and acknowledges one state actively seeking out Sears. "We are competing with, frankly, Ohio, which has announced they’re offering them $400 million," Quinn said. "We aren’t offering anywhere close to that but I think Sears understands that being in Illinois is the best place to be in the Midwest."
Aside from tax relief for Sears, CME and other businesses in general, Quinn is pushing for an extension of the earned income tax credit, which he says would help 900,000 households in Illinois. While CME and Sears are looking for different types of tax relief, Quinn believe it’s best to lump everything in to one initiative. "I would call this the economic growth and tax reform initiative of 2011 and we’ll probably have another one in 2012, but you know, we have to get some important things done," Quinn said. "If we can improve the value of the earned income tax credit, which is the very best way to fight poverty in our country and in our state, and if we can do that and help all those families struggling to make ends meet, I think that’s a great reform that will last for generations." Quinn also wants to "improve the value of the personal exemption." Still, each new tax break means less money to run state government, requiring officials to get more money elsewhere or cut services. Lawmakers return to Springfield Nov. 29.