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Report: Corporate Tax Breaks Often Don’t Mean Good Jobs In Illinois

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Job seekers wait in line for a job fair June 4, 2009 in Chicago. (Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Illinois is better at giving away tax breaks than at drawing good jobs as a result, according to a new national report.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, the report by Good Jobs First ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia as to how their tax incentives translate into meaningful jobs.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

Good Jobs First puts Nevada first, Illinois at No. 38, and Washington, D.C., dead last at No. 51.

The report coincidentally comes the same week as the Illinois General Assembly gave more than $300 million in tax incentives to keep Sears Holdings Corp. and the CME Group from leaving the state.

The state has also struck tax deals to keep other companies in the state, including Caterpillar.

Brian Imus of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group reacts by saying the state barely gets a passing grade.

“There’s no requirement in Illinois that those jobs are well-paying, and that can leave families of employees dependent on social safety-net programs,” Imus said.

Imus calls that a “double whammy,” as taxpayers foot the bill for those safety-net programs.

So should the state take a harder line, knowing that other states would love to host many of the big companies now headquartered in Illinois?

“That is something that lawmakers need to wrestle with,” Imus said.

He is concerned about the trend of keeping companies in the state by offering them subsidies.

“When you’re giving subsidies to one company and not another, it creates a competitive disadvantage,” he said.

But if a company leaves, Illinois ends up with nothing.

“That’s absolutely a possibility,” he said.

To read the full Good Jobs First report, “Money for Something,” click here.

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