Senate Approves Sears-CME Tax Breaks

A bill offering tax breaks to keep major businesses in Illinois is heading to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk.

The Illinois Senate on Tuesday followed the House's action from a day earlier, voting in favor of $370 million in tax breaks for companies like Sears Holding Corp. and CME Group, Inc., which owns the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The senate vote was 44-9.

House lawmakers on Monday also voted 67-49 in favor of tax breaks for working families. Lawmakers separated proposed legislation for corporations and individuals after the combined package failed last month in the House.

Sears and other companies have threatened to leave the state because of Illinois' so-called unfriendly business climate. But the package passed Monday could keep Hoffman Estates-based Sears from moving its 6,100 jobs out of state.

In the legislation due to be voted on Tuesday by the Senate is $15 million in tax breaks each year for Sears and $85 million a year for big financial exchanges. In a separate bill is $110 million a year in personal income tax for workers.

Both Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday praised the House for this vote and they're hoping the Senate does the same.

“I encourage the Senate to take swift action,” Quinn said.

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