The following is from Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU* Healthcare Illinois
and Indiana, on the passage of the tax break package passed by the Illinois House earlier today.
By granting a large
tax break today to one of Illinois’ most prosperous companies, the
Illinois House has concentrated more wealth in the hands of the rich,
even as average workers are literally taking to the streets to decry
growing income inequality.
While we applaud the House for passing a
separate bill that expands the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-wage
households, the benefits of this measure are eclipsed by the magnitude
of the tax breaks lawmakers approved for the state’s corporate
heavyweights. For every one dollar in tax breaks the House has given to
workers struggling to propel themselves out of poverty, it has doled out
nearly two dollars to corporations.
Grassroots Collaborative offers a look at the "gross misuse" of tax increment financing funds in Chicago's downtown area, explaining how it comes at the expense of some already-struggling neighborhoods.
Occupy Chicago participants formed a breadline Friday afternoon
to protest budget cuts and proposed legislation aimed at giving tax
breaks to large corporations. The Illinois General Assembly is expected
to vote on Senate bill 405 next week, a measure that would provide
massive tax cuts totaling more than $100 million for the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Options Exchange
(CBOE). The bill comes in a time of economic turmoil with the state
facing an $8 billion budget deficit in the upcoming year, according to the Civic Federation.
The Illinois state legislature this week is debating several versions of a tax break package aimed at incentivizing corporations to remain in Illinois. Community groups have responded with strong opposition to aspects of the current plan.
The report released by Inspector General Joe Ferguson on Monday that documents developers being forced to donate taxpayer dollars to the politically-connected After School Matters underscores the point that the TIF system must be reformed.
It is troubling that Chicago taxpayer money was abused so egregiously by city officials. Even more worrisome, the city continues to lack transparency in TIF deals, allowing the continued possibility of corruption in taxpayer dollars.