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Some progress with Sears, but doubts remain

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011

* Greg Hinz reports that a meeting yesterday between Sears CEO Lou D’Ambrosio and Senate President John Cullerton showed a bit of progress on attempts to keep the company’s corporate headquarters in Illinois

“We certainly want to encourage them to stay in Illinois,” Mr. Cullerton said in a brief phone conversation afterward. “We discussed all of the factors determining where a company should locate.”

Mr. Cullerton said Mr. D’Ambrosio specifically asked for help in passing a bill, which already has cleared the House, that would allow Hoffman Estates to extend the life of a special taxing district that subsidizes Sears’ headquarters complex. Mr. Cullerton said he agreed “to facilitate a vote on that bill” when the Legislature meets for its veto session in October.

Mr. Cullerton said the company promised to give a somewhat longer request list later. He said he’s inclined to help, “but it depends on the details.”

Sears released a statement saying it has “begun to have conversations with elected officials in Illinois and elsewhere” and thanking Mr. Cullerton “and other Illinois lawmakers (who) have taken the time to visit our campus and talk about Sears Holdings’ significance to the state.”

* But there’s a problem in Cullerton’s caucus. Democratic state Sen. Mike Noland, who represents the area, is against that bill

A tax-incentive district created for Sears expires in 2012, and Sears is rumored to be considering moving when that deal is up.

For the record, the Elgin Democrat says he’s against extending that tax-incentive deal. The reason: Carpentersville District 300 wants the property tax money the company would have to pay should the deal lapse.

“That’s $13 million a year the school district has been doing without,” Noland said.

He said he’s a “big fan” of Sears and could favor helping the company out through perhaps a different incentive in order to try to keep it in Hoffman Estates. But the school money, Noland says, is critical.

* Yet Rep. Fred Crespo remains optimistic

State Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, said legislation that could address Sears’ tax concerns could be debated when lawmakers return to Springfield in late October and November.

“I hope this veto session, we can get close to closing a deal,” Crespo said.

* Meanwhile, I’m not sure if this is a totally fair comparison, but The Atlantic has a story today about 25 corporate CEOs who were paid more than their company paid in taxes. Some bigtime Illinois CEOs are listed as well

Aon
CEO: Gregory Case
Executive Compensation, 2010: $20,783,301
U.S. Corporate Income Taxes Paid, 2010: $16 million

Boeing
CEO: Jim McNerney
Executive Compensation, 2010: $13,768,019
U.S. Corporate Income Taxes Paid, 2010: $13 million

Motorola Mobility
CEO: Sanjay Jha
Executive Compensation, 2010: $13,016,126
U.S. Corporate Income Taxes Paid, 2010: $12 million

Motorola Systems
CEO: Gregory Q. Brown
Executive Compensation, 2010: $13,732,802
U.S. Corporate Income Taxes Paid, 2010: $7 million

Motorola Mobility received a ten-year, $100 million state subsidy this year. Boeing got some public incentives to move its headquarters to Chicago. Aon’s Greg Case and Motorola Solutions’ Greg Brown both sit on the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. The group has railed against the high cost of pensions for public employees.

* Related…

* ADDED: Buffett Widens Rift With Republicans by Faulting Tea Party: “I think Mr. Buffett needs a day job,” Representative Joe Walsh, an Illinois Republican elected with Tea Party support, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Inside Track.” “These millionaires and billionaires are the folks that try to create jobs and grow the economy. The last thing we want to do is increase taxes on them right now.”

* Joe Walsh Attacks Buffett For Supporting Tax Hike On The Rich: The controversial politician went on to call Buffett “coddled” and “disingenuous”, adding that he believes Buffett is “heating up his rhetoric because his support for the president is so desperate.”

* VIDEO: Walsh: Buffett needs a day job

* Supt. Garry McCarthy to cut $190M from police budget

* Daley officials’ unused vacation costs taxpayers $9.5M

* Family connections in Rosemont net $2 million in pay

* Illinois farmland prices reach $10,000 an acre for first time

* Investors pitch data center beneath Grant Park

* ComEd not on hot seat at Lincolnshire meeting

* More utility ratepayers sidestepping ComEd, buying in bulk - Growing number of Illinois communities are negotiating for cheaper, and sometimes greener, electricity

* Naperville show puts spotlight on green vehicles

* Zipcar brings its fleet to local colleges

* GoChicago, which helps users organize trips, wins app award

* Justice Department blocks AT&T-T-Mobile merger

* Daily Herald to charge for online subscriptions

* Chicago Tribune drops tabloid edition of paper

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Caption contest!

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011

* Gov. Pat Quinn at the Farm Progress show…

Winner can come to my house for some perfectly grilled sweet corn.

And I know I don’t have to say this, but I will anyway: Keep it clean, people. Thanks. Nobody wants to get banned for life over a silly photo, right?

- Posted by Rich Miller   108 Comments      


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