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Throwback Thursday: “Ken Griffin calls Illinois tax incentives cronyism”

Thursday, Feb 18, 2021

* May 21, 2013

Citadel founder Kenneth Griffin named and shamed local corporations that have taken tax incentives from the state’s financially strapped government in a Monday evening speech to a prominent Chicago business group.

“The last election cycle I called a local CEO to talk to him about supporting a pro-business candidate … ,” Griffin, a billionaire and Republican hedge fund manager, told the Economic Club of Chicago. “And I asked straightforward and simple, and he said, ‘No. No. I’m not going write a check. You see, if Illinois is not hospitable to my business. We’re just going to move.’

“And then I learned what the word ‘hospitable’ meant. For a few weeks later, it was announced that his company received tens of millions of dollars in tax incentives. His silence was bought and paid for,” Griffin said.

Griffin said the story was “sadly’ not unique. Citing Chicago Tribune reporting, Griffin put logos of Illinois businesses that had accepted tax incentives on a large screen behind him.

A few people in the sold-out crowd at the Palmer House Hilton began to applaud, but many appeared stunned as the names of corporations, either theirs or those run by people they knew in the audience, appeared on screen.

Just something to consider when reading budget coverage this week.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

17 Comments »
  1. - Swampy Corn - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 2:31 pm:

    It’s only cronyism if it’s not going to you.


  2. - Perrid - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 2:34 pm:

    Lol. Any money that’s not going into your pocket is wrong, somehow. Typical Republican


  3. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 2:35 pm:

    Crony Capitalism is corrosive to our lives…indisputably.


  4. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 2:38 pm:

    Is this the same Ken Griffin who undermined the fair tax amendment because it might have led to one less piece for his art collection?


  5. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 2:44 pm:

    JB should be putting this in ads


  6. - Numbers Guy - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 2:53 pm:

    Seems like Griffin was talking about EDGE credits, which wasn’t one of the “loopholes” that the Governor proposed closing. In my opinion, EDGE credits are more accurately described as loopholes when compared to the provisions the Governor cited in his budget.


  7. - Third Reading - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    The House Republican Caucus vs. Ken Griffin over corporate welfare.

    This should be interesting.

    I find myself rooting for … Ken … Griffin?


  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 3:00 pm:

    Reminds me of Malone and Ness… talking about the Chicago Way…

    … now replace Malone and Ness with Nitti and Capone…

    That’s what this is all about.

    “Rauner was a ‘phony’… I did not know until this throwback, that it was Griffin all along”

    - Those new to the Griffin dynamic.


  9. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    We may still be upset with people that were, in my opinion, on the wrong side of the progressive tax issue, but Ken Griffin’s comments were accurate.
    A more recent example of where he is coming from is the failure to honor the expression of support by the GA for minority business owners, the expansion of gambling that benefited insiders or the abuses in issuing cannabis licenses.


  10. - Al - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 3:21 pm:

    I always thought our nation’s larger income distribution issues were primarily due to the “Carry Trade” tax dodge for the Billionaires bankers.


  11. - Ares - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 3:27 pm:

    Treat every tax reduction / incentive as an expenditure, no more, no less.


  12. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    Dumping on IL must be a fun game for the millionaires and up. They won’t be satisfied until they turn the state into Mississippi 2.


  13. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    Ken Griffin’s business model as a market maker is the criminal plot for Superman III which came out in 1983.

    He’s buying order flow information from retail investors utilizing platforms like Robinhood in order to slice the tip off of the salami when the sale occurs and makes literally billions of dollars off of salami tips at the expense of the people actually buying and selling the stock.

    His anger at other companies lobbying and receiving tax credits or other benefits is almost exclusively motivated by his own greed. This effort to shame the companies publicly among the leadership of those companies is clearly an effort to embarrass companies from fully engaging in the political process with what I believe is a motive to create a business advantage that favors him more or the most.

    A person whose fortune hinges on slicing the tips off of salami adds nothing to the economy and there is little or no benefit to the government ever supporting his business.

    Ken is a much of an economic rent seeker as any of the people he is attempting to shame, he’s just upset that he has to pay taxes and can’t convince anyone that the service of slicing tips off of salamis that belong to other people is our collective best interest.


  14. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    === Treat every tax reduction / incentive as an expenditure, no more, no less. ===

    I agree, call them what they are — “tax expenditures” — and put them on the same table under the same scrutiny as any grant program.

    Griffin has long argues for getting rid of tax expenditures to lower tax rates across the board.

    Of course one of the biggest tax expenditures is the service tax exemption.

    I saw today the announcement of a new association, Cornerstone, which I presume is being formed to fend off a possible service tax. Cornerstone is backed by the Chicagoland Chamber.

    Meanwhile, the Illinois Chamber has been pushing for a service tax, I have heard.

    Interesting times.


  15. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 5:30 pm:

    Ken Griffin wants to make you poor and himself richerer (intended). he wants the USA to be Mexico and won’t be happy until it is.


  16. - Nagidam - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 5:32 pm:

    === Treat every tax reduction / incentive as an expenditure, no more, no less. ===

    I agree, call them what they are — “tax expenditures” — and put them on the same table under the same scrutiny as any grant program.===

    Lets do the same thing with and exemption for property taxes. If one person gets an exemption someone else pays more. It really is that simple. Add in the fact that any homeowner that gets a property tax exemption makes businesses pay more. Anyone want to continue this conversation about appropriate tax exemptions? Otherwise be a true believer and ask to take away your Homeowners exemption or Senior exemption.


  17. - 4 percent - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 6:19 pm:

    The three largest “loopholes” are for individuals when you look at the Comptroller’s Tax Expenditure Report…. the top 3 were 54.8 percent of all “tax expenditures” or loopholes as the Governor calls them… just saying.

    1. Federally Taxed Retirement and Social Security
    Subtraction

    2. Food, drugs, and medicine

    3. Standard exemption

    By the way, #4 and #5 are the property tax credit and the sales tax exemption for not for profits.


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