Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Tuesday answered questions about Sears Holding Corp., the Illinois-based company that received a multi-million dollar incentive package to stay in Illinois in early December, and then announced on just after Christmas that they would shutter more than 100 retail locations.
"I'm never happy to hear that a company isn't doing well," Quinn said before drawing a distinction between the company's administrative headquarters in Hoffman Estates and the report saying the company would close between 100 and 150 Sears and K-Mart locations.
"This is a nationwide story. Those stores are not all in Illinois. I hope not too many of them are Illinois, but their headquarters is in our state and we're happy about that," he said. "The fact that they have to close stores around the country -- that isn't good news -- but that doesn't affect this agreement."
Sears Holdings said the closures are expected to generate $140 million to $170 million in sold inventory and additional proceeds from the lease or sale of the buildings.
Earlier this month Quinn signed millions of dollars in tax breaks to keep the company in Illinois. Previously Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange threatened to leave the state without the measures lawmakers adopted on Dec. 12 and 13.
The bill renews a credit Sears has been getting for years and guarantees the company a $15 million break on its taxes over the next decade.
Quinn said despite the planned closures, the tax-incentives are a good thing.
"We have in the agreements; if the agreements aren't maintained the jobs in Illinois for the headquarters there are repercussions for Sears."
Still, State Sen. Ira Silverstein said he believes the company should have been more transparent.
"Well, I question if they were going to do these closings, they should have told us ahead of time. You don't pull the rug from under us right now. Two days after Christmas people are going to be scared whether they're going to be laid off, after we gave them such a nice package," he said.
"What I would like to know is when were these plans made. The company should have told us about it instead of pulling the rug from under us especially with the nice package we gave them."