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Lawmakers To Try Again On Package To Keep Sears, CME Group

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Illinois House Floor

House floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. (AP File Photo)

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UPDATED 12/07/11 9:42 a.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — State lawmakers are going take one more try before the end of the year to pass tax relief for Illinois businesses that are threatening to leave.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, Speaker Michael Madigan announced that the House of Representatives will convene on Monday. There is no date set for the Senate to meet.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports


Lawmakers have been have been seeking a tax relief package that would keep major corporations, including Sears Holdings Corp. and the CME Group from leaving the state.

Other parts of the package would help Illinois businesses in general, and families and the working poor could also get some relief.

State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), chairman of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, says the goals are broader than trying to induce big companies not to leave: “They’re about the middle class, they’re about working men and women, they’re about small- and medium-sized businesses. This is not simply a discussion about CME and Sears, although, obviously, the pressures of those companies and the attempts by other states to lure them away are creating a timing issue with the discussions that are taking place.”

“I’m an eternal optimist,” says Bradley. “We want to be in a position where we can move a bill quickly, and that involves coming back … to try to pass something.”

The package failed miserably in the House last week, by a vote of 8-99.

Sears and the CME Group have threatened to leave Illinois what they call an inhospitable corporate tax climate. A tax hike approved this year jacked the corporate income tax up from 7.3 to 9.5 percent.

The State of Ohio is offering $400 million to lure Sears’ corporate headquarters from northwest suburban Hoffman Estates.

Gov. Pat Quinn said last week that the $15 million over the next 10 years that Illinois is offering to keep Sears is “more than adequate,” and there will not be a bidding war with Ohio.

The CME Group has not commented. Previously, executive director Terrence Duffy warned that if the state did not hurry up and move on a tax break, his company would explore moving the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade out of Illinois.

Duffy said in June that the firm would lose about $50 million this year from the tax hike.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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