Local businessman Mike Babcock, who is running as a Republican for State Senate, says news of Sears closing its location at Alton Square is symptomatic of Illinois' tax structure. State Senator Bill Haine, the man Babcock will be challenging in the fall if he wins the primary, says the two issues are not related.
Babcock says the 67% income tax increase passed a little over a year ago has done nothing to help consumers' buying power.
Haine says while it is a sad day to see Sears announce the mall closing, he stands by his vote to give Sears a $150-million tax break last year. He likens the move to legislation passed in recent years that has helped area businesses such as Olin. Last year, Sears Holdings announced iot would close more than 100 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide.