At the governor’s request, the committee is looking at eliminating some business tax incentives with the hope of bringing additional money into state coffers to pay down the state’s billions of dollars in debt.
Proponents of eliminating the complex loopholes say the action would bring in $445 million annually that could be used to pay money owed to Medicare providers, schools and others to which the state owes money. “This is money that can be used to be paying human service providers who are currently laying off people, borrowing money to stay in business and cutting back on needed services,” said William McNary, director of Citizen Action Illinois. “This is money that can be used to be paying off local governments whose current options are laying off people, closing much-needed programs or raising taxes.”
Opponents say the amendment amounts to another tax on business, hurting Illinois’ chances of retaining and attracting businesses. “When companies see this across the world or in Illinois [or] across the United States, they have actions and they look at Illinois and if we are going to decouple, for example, from the federal production activities, that sends a message that Illinois is not friendly,” said Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
The issue is partisan, with Republicans having sympathy for businesses and Democrats siding with the governor as he wrestles with paying down the state’s debt.
The committee plans to hold additional hearings on the matter through the summer.