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Quinn: State Incentives Mean New Jobs From Big Drugmaker

Astellas Ribbon Cutting

Gov. Pat Quinn and executives at Astellas Pharma Inc. cut the ribbon for the company’s new North American headquarters in Northbrook. (Credit: CBS)

Susanna Song Susanna Song
Susanna Song serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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UPDATED 06/04/12 11:24 a.m.

NORTHBROOK, Ill. (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn is hoping to give the struggling economy a shot in the arm.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, Quinn made a jobs announcement Monday morning at Astellas Pharma Inc. in Northbrook, because the Tokyo-based pharmaceutical company is set to hire another 90 workers by the end of the month, and 150 at the favil.

The Japanese drugmaker officially opens is $150 million corporate campus on Monday. The site, off the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and Willow Road, will serve as the company’s North American headquarters.

Last month, Astellas moved about 1,100 employees to the two seven-story glass buildings on the campus. Over the past year, the company has hired about 280 employees at its various Illinois offices.

The company has had a presence in Illinois since 2005. But on Monday, Astellas officially made Northbrook its North American headquarters.

The company decided to expand in Illinois after receiving a $4 million tax incentive package for the state back in 2009.

“We want to help. We want to be friendly. We want to be welcoming. We want to help solve problems. So we like to put our money where our mouth is, and I think it adds credibility. These are profitable companies,” said David Vaught of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Astellas executives say they expect opening a headquarters in Illinois to pay off.

“There is no doubt that this was a great savings for us, and we are utilizing that to put back into the community, with all the hiring that we are doing; our growth plans – we have another piece of land here that we’re able to develop a third building when the time comes, and so I believe that the tax incentive really helped us. It wasn’t the only thing, but certainly, it didn’t hurt,” said Collette Taylor, senior vice president of human resources at Astellas.

The company said it also decided to invest in Illinois because of its many hospitals, universities and bio-pharmaceutical companies. The head of human resources the company is still hiring now.

In February, Quinn was on the CBS 2 Morning News, stressing the importance of job creation. He argued for a Keynesian view of the state’s economic situation, and said government spending in the form of “investment” will actually help close the state’s perpetual budget gap in the long run.

“I really believe in a tough time, you have to invest in your state,” he said. “We have to get more employment in Illinois; more job growth.”

Quinn said in February that budget cuts are necessary too, but cutting the budget in a vacuum will not solve the state’s fiscal problems.

“You have to invest. In tough times, you can’t just cut,” Quinn said. “We’ve got to cut – no question about it – but you’ve got to build and grow your economy. It’s very important.”

Astellas is one company in which Quinn believes it is worth investing to help boost the state economy.

The company is the second largest drugmaker in Japan. The Northbrook campus will house the company’s global development and medical affairs teams.