Another encore for Illinois lawmakers is in the works. The House is scheduled to meet Monday (Dec. 12) and is again expected to try to work out a deal to keep a couple of big companies in Illinois. Last week, representatives failed to pass a multi-million dollar tax relief package for CME Group – parent company of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange – and for Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings. Legislation would have given Sears $15 million a year for 10 years and extended a tax incentive district for its headquarters.
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CME would have drastically cut its tax bill with a change to the way its online transactions are taxed. Also included was an increase in the earned income tax credit, an increase the governor said was not enough for “working families.” State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), chairman of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, says the goals are broader than trying to induce big companies not to leave: “They’re about the middle class, they’re about working men and women, they’re about small- and medium-sized businesses. This is not simply a discussion about CME and Sears, although, obviously, the pressures of those companies and the attempts by other states to lure them away are creating a timing issue with the discussions that are taking place.” “I’m an eternal optimist,” says Bradley. “We want to be in a position where we can move a bill quickly, and that involves coming back … to try to pass something.” While it’s been reported that the package that failed last week will be restructured – possibly broken up into smaller bills – Bradley said it’s too soon to speculate.