Wink, Wink, “Of Course, We’ll Consider Your Views”

The sign outside Sears world headquarters.

If the District 300 manage to win the fight not to be forced to subsidize Sears for another couple of decades, I’ll be really surprised.

Although one of the largest school districts in Illinois, the Carpentersville-based tax district is still a tiny part of the state.

Start with two premises:

  • State leaders want to keep Sears in Illinois
  • The State is broke

The solution 23 years ago was to bet on the come.

Give Sears and Hoffman Estates the tax revenue coming from moving Sears’ headquarters from Sears Tower to nearer the executives’ homes, plus on any real estate development on the property in question.

So, there was subsidized development, much like in a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District.

This is a tried and true Sears strategy in the Fox River Valley.

I still remember the village board meeting when Sears’ development arm Homart was seeking to build Spring Hill Mall.

Some opponents to the contined subsidy believe Hoffman Estates will use part of it to keep the failing Sears Centre alive.

Everyone knew that four-lane highways would be needed around the regional shopping center.

But both Routes 31 and 72 were only two lanes.

It did not take any foresight to figure out that the mall would kill Downtown Elgin, that a four-lane highway connecting the shopping center to Elgin would be needed.

But, would Sears pay for it?

On, no.

Homart had the gall to ask and one of the villages the stupidity to agree to let sears have half of the sales tax receipts for ten years in order to allow Sears to pay for the extra lane on its side of Route 31.

One of the village trustees ran a drapery shop. As he was voting for this giveaway, I thought at the time he could see his cash register jingling from the drapes he was going to hang in the new stores.

Bet that didn’t happen.

But the ten-year sales tax subsidy did happen.

And state tax dollars paid for the extra lane needed across the street in front of the cemetery.

So, earnest people will travel from the area to Springfield on Monday.

And, sometime next week or the second week of November, legislation will be passed to subsidize the company with the professional and friendly and really nice lobbyists who send Sears checks to legislators near their birthdays.

And, more people who have not been really involved in Illinois government before, will become disenchanted, if not disgusted with the body politic.

= = = = =

I do have one lobbying suggestion:

Those who care intensely about the issue who have friends and family elsewhere in Illinois should call them and ask them to contact their legislators.  People calling state representatives and senators outside their district rarely can influence them.  A constituent calling may make a difference.

The beauty of this strategy is that one does not have to go Springfield.


Wink, Wink, “Of Course, We’ll Consider Your Views” — 1 Comment

  1. Hoffman should have never subsidized the Sears Center Arena. Now taxpayers are stuck owning and operating a sports arena that wasn’t profitable in the first place.

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