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House Reaches Deal For Tax Breaks For Sears, CME

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Illinois House Floor

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

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Illinois lawmakers will try again to pass a measure aimed at keeping two of the state’s largest companies from jumping ship.

The Illinois House broke up the tax incentives package into two bills – one addressing corporate tax breaks, research and development credits and sunset extensions; and the other dealing with tax relief for low-income families.

The corporate tax break package is aimed at keeping companies such as Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from moving out of Illinois.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) agreed to help pass the deal in the House, but says the state cannot afford to keep crafting these deals.

“People are going to say ‘look, once again, the state of Illinois provided a credit to somebody, we need to go to the state of Illinois.’ We can’t keep doing that,” he says. “Because of that, we’re going to have to address issues like whether our tax rate is too high.”

Cross says lawmakers will figure out how to pay for the $250 million package later.

“We won’t see any impact until 2013, and we may have to adjust our spending. We may have to cut to make this pay,” he says. “Or the alternative you’re gonna see, because of job creation, hopefully more income coming into the state because of more people working and more people paying taxes.”

The new package is similar to the ill-fated deal that received just eight votes in the House last week. The estate tax exemption has been increased from $2 million to $3.5 million as of Jan 1, 2012, and to $4 million on Jan. 1, 2013.

Champion Labs in Albion has been added to the list of companies receiving credits. It will receive $3.5 million over 10 years to help employee expansion in Albion and office relocation to Lake Forest.

Cross says the new incentives package for corporations will likely pass the House. State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), the head Democrat in the talks, couldn’t speculate on whether the House will pass tax relief for low-income families.

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