Gaffney Writes of Sears Deal

A press release from State Rep. Kent Gaffney:

Rep. Gaffney votes to protect IL jobs, provide tax relief to working families and business

Springfield, IL… In an effort to provide tax relief to Illinois businesses and working families, State Representative Kent Gaffney (R-Lake Barrington) voted to pass a jobs package out of the Illinois House.

The sign at the Sears Hoffman Estates development.

As a member of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, Representative Gaffney helped negotiate an agreement between Sears and Community Unit School District 300 that will keep Sears’ headquarters in Hoffman Estates while increasing local tax dollar support for D300.

“We all want Sears to stay in Illinois and we also want more funding for our local schools,” Gaffney said. “We cannot afford to lose the more than 6,000 local jobs that Sears provides. I worked to ensure that District 300’s concerns were addressed in the final package approved today by the House.”

The package agreed to by District 300, Sears and Hoffman Estates will provide D300 and other local governments double the amount of property tax revenue they get from the current Sears Economic Development Area (EDA), while extending the EDA for up to 15 years.

D300 also received a guarantee that Hoffman Estates would not use money from the EDA to pay for the operation or bonds for the Sears Centre Arena.

District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy thanked Gaffney for standing up for the concerns of D300 families.

“Representative Gaffney was extremely attentive at listening to the school community’s concerns and proactively involved himself,” Bregy said. “He was of considerable help to the families of District 300. This was a tipping point for our school district to become more legislatively active. It was helpful to us to know we have an advocate and that we weren’t standing alone. Representative Gaffney was right there with us.”

Senate Bill 397, the omnibus jobs/tax relief package, passed the House on a vote of 81-28-7. It includes the following provisions:

  • Extends the Sears EDA and provides Sears with EDGE tax credits
  • Alters the way the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and other exchanges can source their revenue in Illinois
  • Extends the Research and Development tax credit for five years, with an additional five year carry forward; the R & D tax credit is a critical component for Illinois manufacturers
  • Reinstates the Net Operating Loss Deduction, which allows businesses the ability to carry their losses forward in a tough economy; this provision will help an estimated 36,000 small businesses
  • Increases the estate tax exemption from $2 million to $4 million over a two-year period, lessening the tax burden on family farmers and small business owners
  • Extends for five years the sales tax exemptions, credits, and deductions granted to agri-fuels
  • Extends numerous jobs tax credits, including the Veterans Jobs Credit.

Senate Bill 397 is a broad-based approach designed to help Illinois compete in the national and global marketplaces. The legislation is supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois and many other groups.

“Passage of this tax reduction package, including extension of the Research & Development credit, is critical for manufacturing companies that directly employ nearly 600,000 workers in Illinois,” said Mark Denzler, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Representative Gaffney understands that reducing taxes will lead to job creation and additional economic investment in Illinois.”

Bob Gehrke, District 1 Director of the Illinois Farm Bureau, highlighted the importance of Senate Bill 397 to Illinois agriculture.

“Increasing the estate tax exemption will help many families keep their farms together when there is an unfortunate loss of a loved one,” said Gehrke. “Our families work hard and simply want to keep their farms in the family.”

“This legislation also recognizes the importance of keeping the incentives in place for the use of renewable ethanol and biodiesel fuels. These home-grown fuels are an important part of our state’s economy and we would like to thank our legislators for including them in this effort.”

Kent Gaffney

Representative Gaffney also voted to provide working families with tax relief. Senate Bill 400 contains language that will increase Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from the current 5% to 7.5% in 2012 and 10% in 2013. It also increases the state’s personal income tax exemption from $2,000 to $2,050 and provides an annual cost-of-living adjustment. These provisions will eventually provide more than $150 million in annual tax savings to Illinois working families.

“Back in January, Illinois Democrats hit our working families and small businesses with a 67% income tax increase,” Gaffney said.

“I strongly support repealing the Democrats’ tax hike, but unfortunately, that was not an option presented to the House. Therefore, I voted to provide our working families and businesses with meaningful tax relief.

“The bottom line is simple – either you are for tax relief or you are against it. I chose to put more money in the hands of hard-working taxpayers, rather than giving it to an overtaxing and overspending state government.”

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