* Now that ADM has decided to open its new global headquarters in Chicago, the company is putting a new tech center up for bids. Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants that tech center and is trying to claim credit for the HQ decision as well…
“The mayor’s message this morning was, ‘OK, great, fantastic (about the ADM headquarters). Don’t celebrate too long. Let’s get really focused on winning the tech center,’” said Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, the mayor’s point man on attracting businesses to the city.
In fact, at one point while ADM was considering where to locate its global headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a presentation to the company’s board of directors and responded to questions, a source familiar with the meeting said. The meeting took place Oct. 30 at the Modern Wing at the Art Institute.
I’m told by people close to the situation, however, that Gov. Pat Quinn made a strong, sustained personal effort to persuade ADM CEO Patricia Woertz to move the headquarters to Chicago without tax incentives.
* Quinn also wants the tech center, but within some limits…
Gov. Pat Quinn said the state will continue to pursue the technology center, saying ADM officials indicated that matter was “still open for competition.” The governor would not rule out some form of taxpayer-funded help to lure the center to Illinois but cautioned the state would not be handing out tax breaks “willy-nilly.”
“I don’t think that’s a good way to go,” Quinn said. “I think it’s better to be very precise with each and every company that comes to us.'’
“Our best way of helping the most companies is to invest in public works like roads, highways, railroads and water systems and to help them with their job training, with their educated, skilled workforce that we’ve got in abundance,” Quinn said.
* Sen. Andy Manar thinks the old way may be dead…
“The things that have been done in the past, long before I arrived in the state Senate, I would say have come to an end.”
Manar tried to shepherd legislation through the statehouse that would have given ADM nearly $30 million in tax breaks. The company, however, would have to hire 500 people in Decatur.
“I think the EDGE tax credit program needs some hefty reforms. I think we need to have that robust conversation, and I think (my legislation) is a good place to start,” Manar told Illinois Watchdog. […]
“If these things are going to come before the Legislature again, we should look at what the Senate passed for ADM,” Manar said. “That’s a good framework, in my mind, on how to achieve balance with (tax credits).”
* Not surprisingly, the Decatur newspaper isn’t happy…
Central Illinois should not, however, be upset with ADM. Moving the world headquarters is an understandable business decision and no one should forget that 4,400 jobs will remain in Decatur and that Decatur will remain as the North American headquarters.
But Central Illinois has every reason to feel slighted by its state government. After handing out tax incentives for years, Madigan and others suddenly decided it was time to change course. That decision came as the center of the state was finally going to benefit from a tax incentive package. It’s hard to believe that was a coincidence.
It’s good that ADM is keeping its world headquarters in Chicago. But it seems the state missed a chance for a bigger world headquarters, a technology center, and most importantly to add jobs in Central Illinois.
That doesn’t seem like a win.
* Meanwhile, in other corporate news…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office says Chicago and state officials have reached a deal with an Indiana company that will require it to remove huge black piles of petroleum coke from the city’s Southeast Side.
Known as “petcoke,” the material is a powdery byproduct of oil refining that’s been accumulating along Midwest shipping channels and sparking health and environmental concerns.
Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan plan to announce the deal Thursday.