Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Durkin says he doesn’t think Illinois “needs to give away the store” to snag Amazon
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Durkin says he doesn’t think Illinois “needs to give away the store” to snag Amazon

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Tribune

House Republican leader Jim Durkin on Tuesday said Illinois should pursue Amazon’s second headquarters, but he doesn’t “think we need to give away the store like Wisconsin just did” for Foxconn.

Durkin was asked about Illinois’ efforts to land the giant company during an appearance before the City Club of Chicago. He said he plans to meet with Gov. Bruce Rauner in the coming days and that “we need to be competitive” in pursuing the company. […]

“We’ll do whatever we can,” Durkin said. “I do know that the competition is very heavy, and any time you start talking about incentives it brings out some of the worst in people down in Springfield.”

He said other states might overpromise incentives on which they can’t deliver. And in the end, he said, it’s lawmakers who have to approve any incentives.

The governor was asked about Durkin’s comments today and he chuckled and said he didn’t know what “giving away the store” means exactly. But he also said that he would work on a package that provides “every possible resource we can” to present the company with a “very attractive, very competitive option.”

*** UPDATE ***  Ameya Pawar…

“It’s one thing to attract corporations like Amazon to Illinois because of our transportation infrastructure, our access to fresh water, because we have great colleges and universities, and because of the wealth of art and culture our state has to offer. But it’s another thing entirely to give away billions of dollars in tax incentives while places like Cairo and East St. Louis are fighting to keep their communities from closing.

“When was the last time you saw Governor Rauner lead a delegation to Cairo to assess the potential for economic development there? It’s embarrassing that we are willing to sit by while Cairo is on the verge of closure, when all they’re asking for is investments to save their community.

“If state and local leaders have the political will to offer Amazon special incentives to open a second headquarters here, where is the political will to bring investments to the many communities across our state who are struggling to survive? I propose that we match every incentive dollar we offer to Amazon with a new dollar dedicated to infrastructure and economic development, to public education, or to affordable housing in underserved communities.

If we have the money to give away billions of dollars in tax revenue to Amazon, then why don’t we have the money to invest in communities to save them from closing? And finally, we ask small businesses to pay their fair share in taxes even as they risk closure from the impacts of online retailers like Amazon, who are leading in job automation. Yet when small businesses ask for help, we tell them we live in a capitalist society.

“We cannot allow politicians to continue to put the profits of major corporations over the well-being of working class families and small businesses in our state, who have been forgotten and ignored for too long. It’s time we take our state back from the wealthy and corporate interests who care more about their own self-interest than improving the lives of people struggling to get ahead. It’s time we invest in communities that need it most to keep our communities from closing.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - hexagon - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    I like Durkins thinking here. But I fear, his views don’t matter…

    If Rahm and Rauner can agree on one thing, it’ll be giving public resources away to an enormously wealthy business. Kind of warms my heart to imagine the two getting back together.


  2. - Highland IL - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    === “he chuckled and said he didn’t know what “giving away the store” means exactly.” ===

    This comment sadly does not surprise me.


  3. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    –…(Rauner) said he didn’t know what “giving away the store” means exactly.–

    Sure he does. See “Exelon nuke bailout.” That, exactly.


  4. - Name Withheld - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    Of course he doesn’t know what that phrase means. He has people at his houses who go to the store for him.


  5. - ADL Staff - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    I would sure as hell give away the store in exchange of 50,000 jobs, most over $100k. Look how much tax money would be available for politicians to abuse.


  6. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:43 pm:

    A state that has a massive public pension problem :talks about giving away the store.


  7. - Norseman - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:43 pm:

    After Rauner’s impasse with the assist from Durkin, there is not much left in the store to give away.


  8. - Wading in... - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:44 pm:

    ==The governor was asked about Durkin’s comments today and he chuckled…==

    Translation: When the time comes, Durkin will do exactly as he is told.


  9. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    Oh yea? What store is he talking about? Because that store has been given away long ago. There is no store to be given.


  10. - Molly Maguire - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    Durkin is right, good for him. The state tax giveaway game is a race to the bottom, not economic development. Just look at what happened with FoxConn in Brazil and Pennsylvania (see p. 1 of today’s NYTimes business section).


  11. - RNUG - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    Rauner is used to someone else selling him the store with full inventory for pennies on the dollar, then emptying it before he sells it or abandons it in bankruptcy court.

    After yep and a half years of Rauner, the State’s store inventory is pretty bare.


  12. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 1:15 pm:

    Clearly someone forgot to share the talking points with Durkin.

    If you took the $50 million deal to move 500 Boeing jobs here, adjusted to 50,000 jobs, and then adjusted for inflation: $7 billion.

    I don’t know how Exelon, Sears, CME compare, but if there is some philosophy the GOP has adopted regarding cooperate subsidies, it is a brand new shiny policy.

    Worth noting: you won’t here a word of complaint on this one from the IPI or Dan Proft on this one, I am willing to bet. Dick Uhlein is in the cardboard box business, and you can bet he is as pleased as punch to see this possible move to the Midwest.


  13. - words - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    TP, Uiehlein got a got a fat pay-to-play corporate welfare deal from Crazy Eyez Walker in Wisconsin.

    But he continues to live in Illinois, rather than subject himself to Wisconsin’s graduated income tax.


  14. - Iggy - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    Pawar if you keep referring to the same two towns I’m going to start thinking that you don’t actually know anything thats happening below I-80. Its time to spend a little time studying the geography of this state beyond Cairo and East St. Louis. Or are you just not interested in winning votes beyond those 2 impoverished areas?


  15. - WestSider - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    I agree with Pawar. Why are we giving billions to the biggest retailer in the world, when we can’t fund our own schools?
    Quality of life brings talent. Talent brings business. Didn’t Boeing pick Chicago because of the Lyric Opera??


  16. - Jordan - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:04 pm:

    Totally agreed with Pawar. As a technology worker in Chicago, attracting Amazon would be great for my job but not at the expense of the billions of dollars in tax credits I assume folks like Rahm and Rauner are discussing.

    That kind of trade off isn’t worth it for me and my community, let alone people outside of technology who will get second-hand benefits at best. Especially as Amazon begins to threaten small businesses in multiple industries.


  17. - The Captain - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    Here’s an update on the Democratic field for Governor:

    JB Prizker is running for Governor
    Chris Kennedy is running for Cook County Assessor
    Ameya Pawar is running for Mayor of Cairo
    Scott Drury is running for Attorney General
    Daniel Biss is (mostly) running for Governor


  18. - Quiet Sage - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    The New York Times, among others, has alleged that Amazon has terrible working conditions for its employees. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html?mcubz=1
    Amazon should be asked to answer these allegations before the State offers any incentive deal.


  19. - City Zen - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    == I propose that we match every incentive dollar we offer to Amazon with a new dollar dedicated to infrastructure and economic development, to public education, or to affordable housing in underserved communities.==

    Because why spend one dollar you don’t have when you can spend two.


  20. - Lady Lefty - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    We ought to invest in small businesses, not massive corporations. Look what happened at Groupon. They’ve sending nearly all of their jobs overseas leaving thousands of people without work. Investment in .com is good but not at the expense of middle-class people. It’s common sense.


  21. - Curl of the Burl - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    Cairo needs to clean up its own government before anything positive can happen.


  22. - Curl of the Burl - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:43 pm:

    Lady - with respect Amazon is ranked #12 on the Fortune 500 list. Are you really going to compare Amazon to Groupon?


  23. - Lady Lefty - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:19 pm:

    Curl… As both companies have multiple offices and fulfillment centers internationally AND sell goods at a discounted price, yes, yes I will. Groupon = millions/Amazon=billions. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to buy my things at a local business because I believe in people over profits.


  24. - CatAttack - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:19 pm:

    Amazon makes billions in profit. They’re far more able to pay their fair share than, say, a mom and pop store. Why are we so eager to give them a free (or reduced) ride?

    Chicago is in consideration because we’ve got 2 airports, we’ve got cultural attractions and parkland and museums (that makes it easier for execs to convince their families that it’s a good idea to move halfway across the country).

    So, let’s invest in those things that draw people here. Good schools, good opportunities for life outside of work.


  25. - CatAttack - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    Forgot to add…since our airports, our parkland, our museums, our cultural attractions are the reason we’re in consideration, and since taxes fund those amenities, if Amazon is using them to lure workers shouldn’t they contribute to their upkeep?


  26. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:34 pm:

    I support bringing Amazon to Chicago, very much, but we shouldn’t wait for this type of job creation (huge tax giveaways) without doing home-grown economic boosts. If we legalize marijuana and hemp and expand MMJ, we can create jobs (probably nowhere near the number Amazon would create), billions of dollars in sales revenue over time and actually take in large amounts of tax revenue instead of giving so much away.


  27. - Curl of the Burl - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    Lady - good for you. But this would be another Amazon headquarters and not just a fulfillment center. We already have 5 fulfillment centers and another 4 on the way.


  28. - cannon649 - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 5:48 pm:

    As some one has previously noted - this store has already been given away. While Illinois might may offer logistic and other positives - the unfunded pensions, debt and very high taxes would be a deal breaker to me. I understand the incentives - but at sometime they have pay their share.

    Ohio looks like the winner here.


  29. - cc - Thursday, Sep 21, 17 @ 1:38 am:

    One nursing home in Springfield closed without notice and on in Decatur with 48 hours notice. They could have used some of the dollars that may be thrown at a company that makes tons of money without this state throwing millions at it.


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