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EDGE heads to governor

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2017

* AP

The Illinois House has approved a four-month extension of a corporate tax incentive program amid an ongoing budget standoff.

The Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program was set to expire at the end of last year. It offers businesses tax breaks in exchange for agreements on creating and maintaining jobs.

The House approved an extension 101-12 Tuesday. If approved, it will sunset in April. The measure now heads to the state Senate.

Some lawmakers argue the program needs an overhaul because it benefits larger companies over smaller ones. Bill sponsor Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says short-term extension is the way to go.

It’s not often explained, but the credit for capital investment and job creation is applied to the state income tax withheld by a company from the new workers added under the program. Companies often don’t pay much state corporate income tax, so this is a way to give them money that would’ve otherwise gone to state coffers.

The Senate also approved the bill today on a 48-7 roll call. The governor has yet to say what he plans to do.

* Crain’s

Authority to offer such incentives had automatically sunsetted Jan. 1, caught amid the continuous battles in the capital over terms for adopting a fiscal 2018 state budget and fully funding all programs in this year.

Both Democrats and Republicans say they want changes in the Edge program, the state’s largest and by many accounts most effective tool in getting companies to move and expand here. For instance, Sen. Pam Althoff, R-Crystal Lake, and Melissa Bush, D-Grayslake, are sponsoring legislation cut the size of Edge incentives and limit them to net versus retained positions.

Bush referenced that in floor debate today, saying the temporary extension “says to business, ‘We’re open for business,”‘ but that she will continue to work “to get a good (permanent) bill later.”

Of course, putting off the day of decision until April 30 puts one more item on the table for House Speaker Mike Madigan and Rauner to fight about this spring.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


8 Comments »
  1. - illini97 - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:20 pm:

    I understand and support the intent of the program, but critics are correct in stating it is slanted toward the large corporations and away from small businesses. It also needs greater accountability on whether the job creation goals are met and sustained.

    Seems like the thing to do these days is to withhold funding until reforms can be put into it, right? Does the same go for EDGE?


  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    –Both Democrats and Republicans say they want changes in the Edge program, the state’s largest and by many accounts most effective tool in getting companies to move and expand here. –

    What accounts are those? Has there ever been an independent performance audit so that citizens could judge the effectiveness of handing out tax dollars to private corporations that, as was pointed out, pay little or nothing in taxes as it is?

    I know EDGE credits produce glowing press releases for governors who hand them out, but it would be swell to actually see the long-term ROI broken down. It’s scandalous that it’s not available.


  3. - Real - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 1:03 pm:

    Veto it. Either you are for cronyism or you are against.


  4. - Mainstreet Rage - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    Well, the trough is open now.

    I’m betting this alone will keep half a billion out of our coffers.

    It was almost a quarter billion in 2015.

    We won’t know till July of this year what the damage is.

    Folks it’s a corporate giveaway. No I take that back.

    It’s corporate extortion. Blackmail plain and simple.

    Our tax receipts are down statewide.

    This will keep half a billion from our coffers.

    Don’t even say it will bring jobs.

    It’s unproven. We take the companies word that they did what they said.

    There has never been an audit on this program.
    Only a bit of Tribune work.
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edge-jobs-illinois-tax-credits-incentives-edit-1009-jm-20151008-story.html

    Democrats pushed this through as well.

    Line up the hogs at the trough folks.

    Republicans should be screaming about interference with the free market.

    Rauner is picking winners and losers.

    Sorry, the non-foia Intersect Illinois is picking winners and losers.

    DCEO has only one person on this program

    One.


  5. - Mainstreet Rage - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    God what I wouldn’t do to have Gov Greitens as our Governor instead Governor Grift


  6. - Gawk - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    BTW the income tax withholding is not just for the new employees but for ANY employee. Corporations cry about how much they have to pay. Look at the record. They don’t actually pay diddly. They have battalions of accountants and lawyers whose only purpose is to cut down the corporate liability. What they do have to cough up is the withholding from paychecks for income taxes.

    With an EDGE incentive they don’t have to send that in.

    If it were just new employees the incentive wouldn’t be so highly prized.

    The income tax withholding on a 1000 crappy Amazon packer jobs is not a lot.

    Those GE jobs that we lost
    Those NGSA jobs that we lost

    Those were lost because DCEO was gutted and they didn’t have a team to court them.

    GE and NGSA would have brought high income jobs
    Rauners superstars blew those badly.


  7. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 4:29 pm:

    It’s just amazing at the speed Illinois government works for the connected few.


  8. - foster brooks - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 6:19 pm:

    where’s the relief for the middle class?


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