The Illinois Senate passed the two-part tax bill designed to keep Chicago's financial exchanges and Sears in the state after their repeated threats to leave if they were not granted tax breaks. The business bill passed by a 44-9 vote and will lead to a combined $100 million in tax savings for the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the CME Group, and Sears as well as an investment tax credit for smaller businesses, and an increase to the estate tax deduction. The bill also includes a $2 million incentive package meant to lure higher-profile shows to Chicago's theatre district.
The second bill, aimed at easing the tax burden on individuals and families, passed by a 48-4 vote. That bill will increase the earned income tax credit for low-income workers to 10 percent from 5 percent and lead to an increase in the personal standard deduction.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pleased with the tax package's success in the legislature, releasing the following statement: "I am grateful to the Illinois Senate, and Illinois House for its action yesterday, for the final passage of a tax reform package that will protect jobs, provide much deserved tax relief to Chicago’s working families and single mothers and will keep the CME Group where it belongs, here in the city. With passage of these tax reforms, Illinois is modernizing its tax policy to reflect our changing economy and to match the economic strengths that make Chicago the best city in America to start a business and raise a family."
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign both bills into law.
UPDATE (4:42 p.m.): Gov. Quinn released the following statement on the $371 million tax break package's passage:
Before [the] veto session, we brought the leaders to the table with the goal of delivering economic growth and tax reform for both hard-working families and employers. The package that is on the way to my desk is a win for workers and a win for employers in Illinois.
At its core, this package is about jobs. By doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit, we are supporting job creation and putting more money in the pockets of everyday working people, which allows them to spend those dollars at local businesses in their communities. Improving the value of the standard personal exemption is an effective tool that benefits all taxpayers and also makes our tax code more fair. The Research and Development Tax Credit and other small business tax credits included in this package will help spur job creation, investment and economic development all over the state.
Investing in working families and employers is a good investment for Illinois. This package is the result of a bipartisan effort and diligent work by many. I commend the Senate, Senate President John Cullerton, Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Sen. Toi Hutchinson for their hard work to pass a package that will provide much-needed relief to working families in Illinois and help employers put more people back to work.