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Madigan denounces “corporate pay-to-play”

Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013

* House Speaker Michael Madigan has issued a statement about corporate tax break legislation which stalled in his chamber last week…

We must resist the temptation to cave to corporate officials’ demands every time they impose a deadline for payment in exchange for remaining in Illinois, and end the case-by-case system of introducing and debating legislation whenever a corporation is looking for free money from Illinois taxpayers. This practice creates an unsettling and worrisome appearance of some new kind of corporate pay-to-play, which should be troubling to other business leaders and their shareholders, public officials and Illinois taxpayers. We should instead take a more long-term approach to helping all job-creating businesses in Illinois thrive and succeed, including thoroughly reviewing how we currently provide incentives to big corporations.

Presently, four Illinois corporations are seeking the General Assembly’s approval for tax breaks or incentives. If their requests are approved by the Legislature, these corporations would, collectively, see their tax burdens decrease by approximately $67 million.

The companies requesting these taxpayer-funded breaks currently pay little to no corporate income tax to the state, contributing little or nothing to help fund the very services from which they benefit significantly. Meanwhile, middle-class families continue struggling through a recession and job loss. So I find it very difficult to support tax giveaways for corporate CEOs and millionaire shareholders whose companies pay little in state taxes. I question our priorities when corporate handouts are demanded by companies that don’t pay their fair share while middle-class families and taxpayers face an increasing number of burdens.

According to the 2011 census data, the per capita income for an Illinois resident is $29,376. Assuming a 5% state tax rate, more than 45,000 new individuals would need to begin paying income taxes to make up for the lost revenue that would result from the most recent incentives that corporations now want the General Assembly to bestow upon them. Lost in the discussion of this topic is that without new revenue, these giveaways are only possible by making additional cuts to crucial programs that impact working men and women across Illinois.

As more companies have begun seeking incentives from the state, the Illinois House has held hearings on developing criteria for how future incentives should be awarded – a new process that values the jobs preserved or created instead of the tax breaks granted, and acknowledges that for each incentive given, individual taxpayers will have to pay the difference. We will continue holding these hearings in January when the Legislature reconvenes during its normally scheduled session.

Emphasis was in the original.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:11 pm:

    Says the man who presided over years of these corporate handouts…

  2. - cicero - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:14 pm:

    Better late than never…

  3. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    The Speaker seems to be tackling every big issue in this state, openly, and forcefully. He might be wrong on some of them, but he’s putting some of his cards on the table for all to see.

    I’m back on the “rounding out his legacy” bandwagon, in case he decides to retire in the next two years.

  4. - Anonymous One - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    What do words mean, anyway? Constitutional words didn’t seem to carry much weight. We’ll see what actions follow these latest words.

  5. - Powell - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    unless of course it’s for CME, which gave me a six figure donation before their bailout.

  6. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    Says the man who is looking at a millionaire-CEO candidate for governor criticizing the House for not giving said handouts…the press release almost wrote itself.

  7. - Yossarian Lives - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    Who signed off on that and what did he or she do with the real Mike Madigan?

    In all seriousness, I truly hope the Speaker is now a born-again progressive (this year in particular it would be especially convenient). I can’t say I’m optimistic.

  8. - countyline - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:24 pm:

    -contributing little or nothing to help fund the very services from which they benefit significantly-

    Other than provide 10’s of thousands of jobs ? Thanks for the demonstration in class warfare, Mr. Speaker, I doubt you’ve missed a meal recently.

  9. - Now What? - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:24 pm:

    Gosh…this guy! I wonder how people would feel if they read this without knowing MJM wrote it. Who wouldn’t agree with MJM’s position regarding the extortionist tactics practiced by corporations across the United States? They hold every state and worker hostage and it’s beyond unethical. Yet, considering what MJM just did to public employees…how to feel? Wish this corporate message coming from the party once known as Illinois Democrats, may they rest in peace, was a consistent one. Still, the Gilded Age has returned, and we patiently await the return of the Progressives.

  10. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    Fix our state fiscally and don’t worry about corporate black mail.

    Business will come with good education, public transportation, good traffic flow, uncorruptable governemnt, crime prevention, cultural activity and fair taxes.

    These are things to build on.

  11. - Just Sayin' - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    If they are paying little to no corporate income tax to the state, how can their tax burden decrease by $67 million?

  12. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:26 pm:

    === companies pay little in state taxes ===

    === Illinois House has held hearings on developing criteria for how future incentives should be awarded ===

    Those hearings thus far involve proposed “reforms” such as not requiring CEO’s to publicly testify, not requiring the GA to vote on these tax incentives and so on.

    In short, less discomfort for those CEO’s and less public focus on these tax incentives.

    Until we hold hearings on reforming the tax code itself - rather than hearings on the manner in which we distribute our corporate subsidies - we are tinkering around the edges rather than addressing the heart of the problem.

  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:26 pm:

    ===how can their tax burden decrease by $67 million? ===

    EDGE credits, man. Keep up here.

  14. - Liberty First - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:28 pm:

    Born again Mike

  15. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:29 pm:

    Populist rhetoric from a multimillionaire always rings hollow, R or D.

  16. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:30 pm:

    This is a zero sum game. If the corporations in question simply pick up and leave, the requested tax breaks become irrelvant. Illinois will then get nothing. If the corporations take their employees with them, or worse yet, terminate the employees, the consequences are even worse for Illinois. Corporate headquarter jobs pay much more than the average Illinois per capita income. It would thus be wise to can the demagaugery about depriving hard working citizens of anything vis-a-vis the incentives. The cold hard reality is that when corporations pack it up, the state gets nothing except higher unemployment.

  17. - Buzzie - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    Gay marriage, pensions and, now, corporate tax breaks—is Mike Madigan beginning to attempt the restructuring of some legislature-related programs for the future benefits of the Illinois Democratic Party—–and his daughter?

  18. - Just Sayin' - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:36 pm:

    EDGE credits are not refundable and cannot be monetized. They are used against tax liability. The special legislation being requested for these companies merely allows them to use EDGE credit against their payroll tax liability.

  19. - BIG R. Ph. - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:38 pm:

    ’bout 20 years too late but thanks for trying.

  20. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===and his daughter? ===

    Kass? Is that you?

  21. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:38 pm:

    Speaker Madigan condemning pay-to-play…wow.

    And how much did the Speaker’s funds profit from ComEd/Exelon as they sought special deals from ILGA again? Oh wait, that’s very different. No pay-to-play there.

  22. - Toure's Latte - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:45 pm:

    Madigan is currently doing a much better job running against Rauner than Quinn is. Whatever the deal is, Madigan is effectively kneecapping the IL GOP, taking away their issues one by one.

  23. - Just the Facts - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:47 pm:

    I think the Speaker’s math might be a bit off. It was my understanding that the $67,000,000 figure represents the value of the EDGE Credits over a 10 year period. In other words, $6,700,000 per year. EDGE credits are granted in amounts equal to the incremental income tax withholding generated by increases in employment. In other words as long as the EDGE credit against the income tax is pegged to the increase in indvidual income tax withholding resulting from the new jobs, there is no “loss” to the state. The only “loss” that would result is if it is assumed that the jobs would have been created in any event, absent the EDGE Credit. (This also assumes that DCEO doesn’t grant the EDGE Credit for “retaining” existing jobs.

    With that as a basis: First we assume that “per capita income” is “per capita” federal adjusted gross income. To calculate the amount of tax that would be due on the $29,326 per capita income you have to first subtract out the $2050 personal exemption. That results in taxable income of $27,326. Take that amount times the 5% tax rate and you get $1366.30 in tax. Divide that into $6,700,000 and you have approximately 4904 taxpayers.

    Therefore, in order for the state to break even the 4 companies would have to create a total of 4904 jobs - not 45000.

    If I misunderstood and the $67,000,000 is actually an annual reduction the Speaker is correct.

  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 3:55 pm:

    Welfare fraud/extortion in corporate guise. But yes, let’s do go after those food stamp cheats.

  25. - Newfoundutch - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    Actually, I think it’s a pretty timely piece. It presents the fiscal issues that were overshadowed by the pension issue, CEOs trying to fix the system to their advantage, and the woes of the common man. Then, he pitches why the second item only worsens the first, further entrenching the third.

    Madigan might make more than most, but there’s only one game in town voters are going to tie to big business. You need a canvass before you can paint the picture.

  26. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    Don’t know his motives (and don’t really care),don’t understand the relationship between corporate tax credits and jobs creation, but I agree with his comments, no matter who contributed to his campaign or how rich he personally is. Simply put, his “bold” comments make sense to me, especially with the pension vote this past week. If I am gullible, so be it, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for these tax break requests to pass.

  27. - LaySale - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    EDGE tax credits are plain wrong. It is great for the people who have those jobs but they should be the ones who take a hair cut to keep that job not the rest of us. Just look at how many jobs we are talking about, it is in the tens of thousands. Estimates range from 800 million to a Billion dollars that these companies have been allowed to keep. They pay little to no corporate taxes to begin with and then they need to keep their employees payroll taxes too? We catch a company like Cat making their books out to show their profits from an office with a fax machine in Switzerland rather than the Morton,Il so they can avoid state taxes and yet we still have to give them more? How do you end this madness?

  28. - Why Start Now - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:26 pm:

    ===of some new kind of corporate pay-to-play===
    Emphasis should be on the word “new”. Nothing wrong with the old kind of corporate pay-to-play

  29. - RNUG - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:26 pm:

    Last week we protected the State taxpayer from greedy state employees and retirees … and freed up some money that can be used for corporate handouts.

    Now we need to create some guidelines for corporate handouts so it looks like we get something tangible for all the money we’ll be doling out …

  30. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:35 pm:

    With MJM everything he does should be seen through the lense of keeping his majority. He understands that without the power you can not inact change or yield influence. First and formost he looks at each issue within the narrative of keeping his speakership. Then and only then does he broaden his scope of thought. Kind of like a flow chart. Will this support my majority - yes/no. If yes then proceed if no stop.

  31. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:36 pm:

    @RNUG - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:26 pm:

    Now we need to create some guidelines for corporate handouts so it looks like we get something tangible for all the money we’ll be doling out …=

    Yes, how right you are. Does not look good to take pension dollars from old school teachers and then hand them out to corperations. Make no mistake, they will still hand them out (as you say) but need a little cover for how they do it.

  32. - Chefjeff - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:40 pm:

    Limit EDGE tax credits to a percentage of Corp. income tax paid. If I understand Just the facts, EDGE credits are a zero sum (no increase in PR tax-no tax credit) Then make it universally available to everybody from Sub-S restaurants to State Farm and ADM. BTW State Farm owns a huge chunk of ADM stock, pretty sure Bloomington is waiting to see what Decatur gets.

  33. - A guy... - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:44 pm:

    He’s not leaving, but he’s closer to the 18th green than the 1st Tee in his public service. He’s working on the Epilogue of his time in Springfield. He knows what people will remember and its time to paint that chapter.

  34. - 4 percent - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:46 pm:

    Pension reform helps but if the Speaker would actually tackle workers compensation reform, labor laws, environmental regulations, and tort laws, the companies wouldn’t need tax incentives to offset the high cost of doing business.

  35. - Calhoun Native - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:47 pm:

    With this and taking credit for the pension bill, I wonder if Rich’s column about The Speaker being off his game lit a fire. He also could be reminding the Rauner’s of the world who’s in charge when/if they get to Springfield.

  36. - Just the Facts - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 4:58 pm:

    Chefjeff - Edge credits are currently available to everyone, including sub-S corporations and partnerships, assuming they reach an agreement with DCEO. Currently, with limited exceptions, the EDGE credit may only be used against the corporate income tax liability or against the liability of shareholders of an S corporation, or the liability of the partners. In other words, if there is no liability there is nothing against which the credit may be claimed.

    Over the past few years the legislature has passed legislation that allows certain taxpayers without corporate tax liabilities to use the EDGE credit against their income tax withholding liabilities. ADM and the other taxpayers are seeking legislation to allow them to join that group that are allowed to use the EDGE credit against their income tax withholding obligations in years in which they have no corporate income tax liability.

  37. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 5:05 pm:

    “…while middle-class families and taxpayers face an increasing number of burdens.”

    Including the burden of reduced retirement benefits for public workers.

  38. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 5:07 pm:

    It’s a good strategy as long as it’s tied to a plan to create a better environment for job creation. A formula driven incentive package, workers comp reform and a responsive economic development organization will do more to create jobs than sweet heart deals.

  39. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 5:10 pm:

    I agree with his words as far as they go. You also need to have good schools and a stable, predictable tax environment that includes adequate revenue to support the state’s obligations.

  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 5:11 pm:

    –Gay marriage, pensions and, now, corporate tax breaks—is Mike Madigan beginning to attempt the restructuring of some legislature-related programs for the future benefits of the Illinois Democratic Party—–and his daughter? –

    Year XIV of the Grand Lisa Conspiracy.

    If mentions of the Grand Lisa Conspiracy were a drinking game, we’d all be at Betty Ford or pushing up daisies by now.

    For crying out loud, dude, did you not catch the beef between the two of them a few months ago?

    To the statement, sign me up. CME held a gun to our heads and robbed us when we were on the canvas in the depths of the Great Recession. MJM facilitated that. Maybe he got religion after that.

    The dude sure is flexing his muscles a lot over the last few years. Death penalty, tax increase, gay marriage, conceal carry, pension law… A lot of heavy lifting.

  41. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 5:43 pm:

    Illinois needs to move tax expenditures to the “expense” side of the state budget where they belong, instead of sneaking them into the budget through the back door.

    ADM and CME should be competing with community colleges and job training programs to see which provides taxpayers with the most bang for their buck when it comes to job creation.

    And all tax expenditures need to have a sunset date of no more than ten years. Democrats would be smart to set the sunset date for all corporate tax expenditures to coincide with the sunset of the income tax hike.

    I will give MJM credit, but his letter also should have mentioned that when one big company gets a tax break, lots of small businesses are also stuck picking up the tab.

  42. - Jorge - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 6:26 pm:

    “Thanks for the demonstration in class warfare,”

    You mean the one where the rich continue to get rich off of the poor? I thought you were leaving Illinois anyways County.

  43. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 6:28 pm:

    Whatever your opinion of the guy, he is addressing the State’s biggest problems in a bold way and clearly a man on a mission after addressing pensions (It also helps that this is politically a smart move after reducing middle class pensions). The House has taken the lead on budgets and now corporate welfare - I am in full support of any fiscally conservative, socially progressive Democrat and happy to see the State moving in this direction.

  44. - eyewitness - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 7:20 pm:

    ====merely allows them to use EDGE credit against their payroll tax liability====

    Right. To the tune of millions of dollars.

  45. - Anon. - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 8:48 pm:

    just the facts @ 3:47 ==(This also assumes that DCEO doesn’t grant the EDGE Credit for “retaining” existing jobs.)==

    Unfortunately, they do.

  46. - Ruby - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 9:32 pm:

    It is good to know that Madigan is addressing the unfair corporate welfare programs that are draining Illinois’ badly needed tax revenue and adding to the state’s fiscal problems.

  47. - Ruby - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 9:35 pm:

    PS I think the Illinois EDGE program started 12 years ago.

  48. - Moving out - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 9:45 pm:

    As people leave the state by the millions … we may not need the jobs anyway

  49. - Angel's Sword - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 9:56 pm:

    I think Speaker Madigan can see this isn’t a sustainable business model. Corporations who don’t feel obligations to society and communities move from one state to another, or on a global level from one country to another, based on who will give them the best incentives. Tax breaks are might be where it starts, but it ends in competing to provide workers willing to work for lower wages in worse conditions. Look at Boeing in Washington. Its a race to the bottom. In this case, there aren’t even that many jobs at risk. As a state, we can’t let ourselves be blackmailed economically.

  50. - Old and in the Way - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 10:51 pm:

    - Moving out - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 9:45 pm:

    As people leave the state by the millions … we may not need the jobs anyway

    Really? Then why do we have over 500,000 more people living in Illinois today than we did 10 years ago? Granted it’s not a huge increase but then again it sure doesn’t look like a stampede! Try injecting some facts instead of just your opinion or fantasy.

  51. - Soccertease - Wednesday, Dec 11, 13 @ 11:14 pm:

    The message is sound. It’s the integrity of the messenger that is problematic.

  52. - Pete - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 7:24 am:

    Pay to Play should only be restricted to the Property Tax breaks that are afforded to corporations by law firms associated with the Madigan family.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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