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Is Sears Next to Leave Illinois?

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Is Sears Next to Leave Illinois?
Is Sears Next to Leave Illinois?

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Calling another round of tax incentives from Gov. Pat Quinn.

Sears Roebuck and Co., based in Hoffman Estates, is the latest large business to consider leaving Illinois. It follows Peoria-based Caterpillar and Motorola Mobility in Libertyville, which both eyed other states as new bases for their profitable headquarters. 

In March, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman sent a letter to Quinn, questioning the state’s commitment to business after the recent tax hike. Oberhelman and Quinn met in private to discuss the Fortune-500 company's future in Illinois, and following the meeting, Oberhelman announced Cat would remain in Peoria.

Motorola Mobility CEO Dr. Sanjay Jha has showed interest in moving the division responsible for RAZR and DROID products to San Diego, Calif., where Jha keeps a second home. On Friday, the CEO agreed to an Illinois incentives package that includes Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credits, estimated at more than $10 million annually over the next 10 years. With that, Quinn and Jha appeared together to announce that Mobility will stay in Libertyville.

But what about Sears? The incentives the company leveraged 22 years ago from a Sears Tower move are due to expire in 2012, and the Daily Herald reports Sears is quietly considering its next move.

North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and New Jersey -- home of Gov. Chris Christie, who took out a string of print and radio ads to woo employers to the Garden State -- are all being considered, the paper reports.

Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite said considerations for a possible move are still in early phases, but he's done his research.

It’s very important for everyone to understand that we have made no decisions at this point.  Sears has a very long history here and we value our relationships with the Village of Hoffman Estates and the State of Illinois," a statement from the company reads. "We have had some preliminary discussions with Hoffman Estates and did commission an economic impact study.  We do owe it to our associates and shareholders to consider options and alternatives and intend to be very thoughtful and thorough in our deliberations.  We understand that elected officials in Springfield are battling budgetary and other pressing issues."

It's enough to attract a certain Illinois governor's attention, but Hoffman Estates officials aren't waiting around. The village introduced a House bill to offer property tax breaks to Sears in hopes of keeping them in Hoffman for 15 more years.

Stay tuned to find out whether Sears will take a new incentives package or if it's the latest business to consider an out-of-state relocation.

Related Topics Pat Quinn, Sears, Pay to Stay
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