* Various news sources are reporting that Archer Daniels Midland has decided to open its new world headquarters office in Chicago without any state tax incentives.
ADM had asked for up to $30 million in tax breaks over 20 years. Gov. Pat Quinn said he opposed any such proposal until after pension reform was passed. The Senate overwhelming approved the incentive as part of a broader package earlier this month after passing a pension reform bill, but House Speaker Madigan refused to call it for a vote, later blasting unnamed corporations for trying to get a free ride on the taxpayers’ dime.
* In reality, everybody probably shoulda seen this one coming back in October when this report emerged…
D. Cameron Findlay, ADM’s recently hired senior vice president and general counsel, paid $2.619 million for a 21st-floor condominium unit in a newly built Lincoln Park tower in Chicago.
Findlay closed on the unit in early September, before the company went public with its announcement that it’s planning to move its headquarters. It has said Chicago is its preferred city, although it’s seeking $24 million in tax incentives and is entertaining offers from other states.
Sources said the new deal reportedly was struck after a series of conversations between Gov. Pat Quinn and ADM CEO Patricia Woertz.
If true, that’s yet another win for Quinn. He stood against the incentives while most everybody else jumped on board.
* In contrast, Bruce Rauner said Quinn was “avoiding responsibility” and “playing games” with ADM when Quinn tied the passage of pension reform to more corporate subsidies.
Sen. Kirk Dillard’s running mate Jil Tracy claimed Quinn had displayed a “terrible lack of leadership to link these two issues,” adding…
“We need to assess and analyze, and certainly not hinder or antagonize them in the public as the governor’s done,” said state Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy)
* Both Dillard and Sen. Bill Brady voted for the ADM bill in the Senate this month. Brady demanded a special session to take up the issue after the House refused to act and Office Depot did what everybody expected and announced its new headquarters would be in Florida…
Hours after the Office Depot decision was aired, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, called on Gov. Pat Quinn to call the House back to town for a special session regarding ADM’s tax breaks.
“We have to do what we can to keep job creators in the state of Illinois,” said Brady, who is running for governor. “The leisurely, passive attitude of the governor and House sends a powerful message to all businesses in Illinois that they don’t really feel any urgency to protect jobs and assist employers.”
* The company won’t be creating new jobs, but, then again, it’s not getting any state money…
According to multiple sources with first-hand knowledge, ADM has reached an agreement with the state under which the headquarters and 60 to 75 top jobs will be moving from Decatur, where the agricultural giant now is based, to an as-yet-unidentified location in downtown Chicago.
That’s less than the 100 headquarters jobs the firm originally had mentioned when it announced in September that it was in search of a location with better international air connections and a wider talent pool than are available in Decatur.
Also not included are the 100 jobs at a technology center that the company said it would open in conjunction with its new headquarters. The fate of those positions is being left ambiguous, I’m told, with the company perhaps feeling that it has a better chance to get incentives for newly created positions rather than to just move jobs from one corner of the state to another.
* Mayor Rahm Emanuel is jumping on board today with a press release…
Mayor Emanuel today welcomed the announcement that Archer Daniels Midland has chosen to move its global headquarters to the city of Chicago.
“I am pleased to welcome ADM to Chicago and I look forward to the company’s continued success out of their new home,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As I said throughout this process, our goal was to put the city’s best foot forward and highlight Chicago’s strengths: an outstanding workforce, globally renowned transportation and infrastructure, and excellent quality of life. These strengths will help ADM as it continues its growth in the future just as they continue to drive our economy forward every day.”
The announcement comes a day after IBM released its annual “World’s Most Competitive Cities” report, which ranks 100 cities around the world in several key categories. In the category of International Headquarters, Chicago ranked 7th globally and second in North America, and the ADM headquarters move will only serve to solidify this ranking. Additionally, attracting corporate headquarters to the city is a key tenet of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, the city’s economic development plan that is implemented by World Business Chicago.
Throughout the several month process, Mayor Emanuel marshaled all of the city’s economic development entities toward the goal of attracting ADM, including World Business Chicago, and the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development (DHED). He was also directly involved in the recruiting process on a number of occasions.
Emanuel’s refusal to publicly support ADM’s bid for state incentives and/or add in his own city’s money was blamed in part on Speaker Madigan’s reluctance to move the ADM bill. So, I guess it’s a sorta win for Emanuel, too.
Mainly, though, Quinn winds up looking pretty good here and at least three of his Republican opponents don’t.
* Also too, maybe ADM’s decision will finally get people to realize that Illinois can compete and that Chicago is our jewel in the crown for attracting corporate headquarters and more jobs. The Republican candidates for governor (and lots of others, myself included at times) apparently believed that Illinois couldn’t pull this off without a government subsidy.
Constantly running down your own state may play well in a primary, but as it turns out, doing so can be a dangerous little political game.