ConAgra Foods will move its headquarters to Chicago after being lured to the state by unspecified tax credits in exchange for an agreement to bring 150 new jobs to Illinois. Under the deal, ConAgra will get tax credits amounting to the Illinois income tax withheld from the new employees, but the amount of savings is unknown.
The company will be moving from Omaha, Nebraska, cutting 1,500 jobs as a means to increase efficiencies and save money. A small number of the job cuts will reportedly affect those working in the company's Naperville office, while 1,000 positions will be lost in Omaha. Some 1,200 workers will remain in Omaha and about 300 will be relocated to Chicago. By next summer, 700 workers, including 400 from the Naperville office, will be in place at the company's soon-to-be new headquarters in the Merchandise Mart.
Gov. Bruce Rauner put a freeze on corporate tax breaks during the budget stalemate, but ConAgra will still benefit from the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program because the tax breaks were offered to the company prior to the freeze. Under the agreement, ConAgra will be required to maintain the 150 new jobs in the state for the next 15 years.
"We look forward to the opportunities created by ConAgra's decision to invest in Illinois, and welcome them to their new home," Rauner said in a statement.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel also applauded the company's move to the Windy City.
"I am honored to welcome ConAgra Foods to the City of Chicago. By choosing Chicago as their new home, ConAgra Foods sees the same strengths that so many other companies see in relocating their headquarters here from our talent, to our transportation, to our quality of life," said Emanuel. "This decision by ConAgra Foods further solidifies Chicago's role as one of the world's leading destinations for food processing companies. I look forward to watching them become part of Chicago's future by creating even more jobs and opening up more opportunities for the residents of our city."