* 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.