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Illinois House Approves Tax Breaks For Sears, CME

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The headquarters of Sears Holding Corporation rises above the trees on the company's corporate campus in Hoffman Estates. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The headquarters of Sears Holding Corporation rises above the trees on the company’s corporate campus in Hoffman Estates. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois House has approved a package of tax breaks designed to keep retail giant Sears and Chicago-based financial exchanges in the state.

CME Group Inc. owns the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The bill also extends breaks to the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

The legislation passed 81-28 Monday and now goes to the Senate.

Lawmakers broke up the tax incentives package that failed earlier in the month 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.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports


The issue of corporate tax breaks dates back to January, when the Democrat-dominated General Assembly approved a $7 billion income tax increase.

Now, 11 months later, lawmakers are feeling the pressure as the CME Group and Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company of Sears and K-Mart – threatened to leave the state.

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.”

The House earlier approved tax breaks aimed at helping the state’s poor and middle class families.

The measure is the first half of a large tax-relief package. The other half offers aid to businesses,

The bill increases the earned-income tax credit, which lowers tax bills for poor families.

It also would increase the personal exemption available to all taxpayers. The exemption would be tied to inflation and automatically increase in future years.

That bill passed on a 67-49 vote and was also sent to the Senate.

The tax breaks would cost the state roughly $110 million a year.

“Investing in working families is good for Illinois,” Quin said in a statement. “The Earned Income Tax Credit will put more money in the pockets of everyday working people, which in turn allows them to invest that money back into their local communities.

“Improving the value of the standard personal exemption will provide relief to those trying to make ends meet. Investing in employers is also good for Illinois, and this package is targeted to spur job creation and economic development all over the state.”

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