SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — As Illinois lawmakers continue meeting with businesses and business groups to talk about the state’s corporate tax structure, some say it’s not fair the state treats some businesses better than others.
Lawmakers heard from Springfield business owner Zachary Hoffman during the two hour House and Senate Joint Revenue Committee. Hoffman, who owns Wiley Office Furniture, says he’s disheartened when he reads about massive tax breaks for Sears and Motorola, and thinks it defeats the purpose of raising the corporate income tax.
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“I’m still paying the higher rate, [and] they don’t have to,” he said. “I’m not sure what we’ve accomplished other than why don’t we just lower the rate, then we can go back to the way we were?”
Hoffman also took aim at a first time job creators tax incentive, which gives companies a $2,500 tax credit for creating a new job. He says such credits look good, but don’t do much, as his business would need an additional $125,000 in sales to offset the cost of hiring a new entry-level warehouse employee.
Meanwhile, some Illinois business groups say they’re fine with tax incentives currently offered by the state, but they want them to last longer.
Connie Baird of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce says Illinois is one of only a few states where business tax credits automatically expire, and that should change.
“The credits and exemptions should be reviewed periodically to see if they’re achieving the purpose the general assembly intended,” said Baird. “If they’re not, what can we do to improve them and make that decision before or without an automatic sunset on the credit?”
Baird says businesses cannot deal with uncertainty if they’re going to invest in capital or new job creation.
State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), who co-chaired the Springfield hearing, says a wide-ranging piece of legislation is in the works, and it would cover many concerns expressed in the hearings. He says it could be introduced as early as this fall’s veto session in October. But he says it could be as “heavy” as the recently passed workers compensation overhaul, which means it might have to wait until January.