Illinois politicians are praising Walgreen's decision to keep its headquarters in suburban Chicago rather than take it overseas to save on corporate taxes.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who strongly opposed the possible move, commended the pharmacy chain for sticking to its roots while going international with the $5.2 billion acquisition of U.K.-based Alliance Boots.
"Earlier this morning, I spoke with the CEO of Walgreen’s, and am thrilled to say that the corner of happy and healthy is still right here in Illinois," said Durbin in a statement. "As Walgreens themselves noted, Illinois has been their home for more than 110 years, and locating their global business here in the U.S. was the right decision for their customers, employees and shareholders. I’d add to that that it’s the right decision for every taxpayer in Illinois and across America."
Walgreen's CEO Greg Wasson said Wednesday that the company "concluded it was not in the best long-term interest of our shareholders to attempt to re-domicile outside the U.S." Walgreen's said consumer reaction to a relocation factored into the choice to remain in the Land of Lincoln especially considering its "unique role as an iconic American consumer retail company with a major portion of its revenues derived from government-funded reimbursement programs."
Chicago Mayor Emanuel echoed Durbin's enthusiasm, telling Ward Room in a statement: "I applaud and commend Greg Wasson and Walgreens for reaffirming their commitment to the United States, Illinois, and Chicago. Walgreens’ presence across Chicago’s neighborhoods make them an important member of the Chicagoland family and a critical player in our city’s history and our future. Their decision today speaks volumes about their determination to be a strong business, good corporate citizen, and vital community neighbors."
Jim Oberweis, the Illinois state Republican senator running for Durbin's U.S. seat, was less-than-enthused, playing the career politician card against his rival.
"The Walgreen's saga symbolizes Dick Durbin's 32-year career in Washington," said Oberweis, the owner of a dairy company in Aurora, Ill. "His bullying of Walgreen's was a political stunt designed to help only one person: Dick Durbin. It didn't create any jobs. It didn't reform our job-killing tax code. Like in the IRS scandal, Dick Durbin was using government power to achieve partisan political gain. Instead of praise, Dick Durbin deserves our scorn."