Fight brewing over ADM state tax breaks

2013-10-01T07:00:00Z Fight brewing over ADM state tax breaksBY KURT ERICKSON THE SOUTHERN SPRINGFIELD BUREAU The Southern

SPRINGFIELD — Archer Daniels Midland’s hometown state senator wants to put the brakes on legislation that could give the company tens of millions of dollars in tax incentives to keep its headquarters in Illinois.

A day before a House panel is expected to open debate on a package of sweeteners for the Decatur-based company, state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said he wants to slow things down.

“Not so fast,” Manar said in a statement issued Monday afternoon. “Illinois is facing tough times. Decatur is facing tougher times, with the highest unemployment rate in the state. I will oppose any bill, and I will urge my colleagues to join me in opposing any bill that results in net job loss in Decatur.”

Today’s hearing comes only a week after ADM announced it is looking to move about 100 top executives out of Decatur to a larger city and add another 100 jobs at a technology center in the new location. Decatur, which has been the company’s home for more than 40 years, would retain about 4,400 workers.

“I view ADM’s request as unprecedented given the circumstances involved,” Manar added. “Therefore, asking for the state’s financial assistance to move from one area of the state to another should involve unprecedented requirements before moving for-ward.”

A ranking member of the House Revenue and Finance Committee acknowledged the bill is on a fast track in the House.

“They want to move on this fairly quickly,” said state Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights.

ADM expects action to heat up in the Statehouse. Records show the company hired a well-connected Chicago lobbying firm Sept. 16. Among its principals is Mike Kasper, former legal counsel to House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.

Under the proposal introduced Friday by state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, ADM would receive a 10 percent break on utility taxes for up to 30 years and a credit against some state income tax withholdings.

A total price tag for the sweeteners remains unclear. Bradley has not returned numerous messages.

ADM is the latest company to send Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly into scramble mode.

In recent years, companies such as Sears, Navistar, Ford, CME Group and Motorola Mobility have received tax credits and other incentives after threatening to leave the state.

Quinn, who was in Decatur nearly two weeks ago for the opening of ADM’s new intermodal shipping facility, also says the tax proposal should be carefully reviewed.

“We want to make sure Decatur and central Illinois are treated fairly,” said Quinn spokesman Dave Blanchette.

Harris believes the tax credits make the package palatable because the company wouldn’t receive any benefit unless it creates jobs.

“There is a logic to it,” Harris said. “They have to meet the requirements, or they don’t receive the incentive.”

That scenario played out in 2012 when tax breaks given to Motorola Mobility were stopped, when the company cut workers in Libertyville after being acquired by Google.

“We are pleased that ADM is committed to growing and thriving in Illinois,” Blanchette said. “ADM has made clear their sustained commitment to their current workforce in our state, especially Decatur, where 4,400 employees will continue to work.”

Manar said people in his district, which includes Decatur, aren’t happy with the situation.

“I’ve had countless conversations with constituents, local officials and community groups who are angered by ADM’s recent announcement of their intention to move their headquarters,” Manar said.

The legislation is House Bill 380.


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(2) Comments

  1. yahnah
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    yahnah - October 02, 2013 12:13 am
    I am sure there are some highly paid ADM executives that want to get out Podunk Decatur?
  2. Phil
    Report Abuse
    Phil - October 01, 2013 7:24 pm
    John (Madigan) Bradley (d). Chicago.. Unbelievable!!! Vote to suck hundreds of millions of dollars out of downstate with his pension bill... But hey we can now give these Wealthy people more many to live in the state.
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