Ward Room
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New Plan Aims to Satisfy Sears, CME

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Illinois Democrats desperate to keep two major companies in-state introduced a scaled back tax-break plan to the legislature Sunday.

    Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) offered up a $250 million-per-year tax break plan to help entice CME Group Inc. (which owns the Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) and Sears Holding Corp. to remain in the state, the Sun-Times reported Monday

    Governor Pat Quinn, who's been at odds with the legislature for much of the year, expressed optimism about the plan.

    Under the rewritten legislation, both corporations raised concerns earlier this year that a tax increase would put an unfair burden on their business. Both Sears and CME threatened to leave Illinois if the state government couldn't help mitigate their supposed difficulties.

    The amended legislation -- a prior bill that tied a tax break to an expiring federal law for business expenses drew criticism because it would eventually run out of revenue -- would make available $100 million in combined tax relief each year for CME and Sears.

    Another facet of the bill could reward large theater productions.

    Included  in the amended legislation is a plan to reward long-run theater productions who take up camp in the downtown theater district. Shows that exceed $100,000 in labor and marketing expenses could tap into a $1 million fund set aside for live-theater tax credits.

    Yet another provision for the Bradley legislation would raise the earned income tax credit for the working poor from 5 percent to 7.5 percent next year. The state's standard exemption would also rise from $2000 to $2050.

    Not everyone is on board with the plan, yet, but according to the Sun-Times report, Republicans are warming to the idea of the scaled back tax plan.

    Read more in the Sun Times.