CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn says he’s confident Sears will stay in Illinois but won’t get into a bidding war to keep the retailer in the Chicago suburbs.
Ohio is offering $400 million in incentives to lure Sears’ corporate headquarters. Lawmakers in Springfield so far have failed to approve a package of tax breaks that includes $15 million a year for Sears over the next 10 years.
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Although the bill that failed to pass last month may need some tweaking, Quinn predicts lawmakers will come through. He said the help Illinois is offering Sears is “more than adequate.”
“(Sears) began here in Illinois. It should stay in Illinois. I’ve visited with their CEO. We’ve had a very positive visit, and I think our particular proposal to Sears is a fair one and it’s more than adequate,” Quinn told reporters Thursday at the Thompson Center following a tree-lighting ceremony.
Hoffman Estates Mayor William McLeod is not as confident. He said if Sears leaves, his community’s office-space vacancy rate would suddenly drop to 59 percent and Illinois would lose the retailer’s $2 billion annual economic impact.
“The state of Illinois needs those jobs desperately,” McLeod tells CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley. “The only way you’re going to grow out of this recession is to grow jobs. You can ill-afford to lose the jobs you already have. Retention is very important.”
The Illinois tax package is also aimed at keeping the Chicago-based CME from leaving. Quinn also wants an extension of a tax credit for low-income workers.