CHICAGO - Illinois would be the only state that requires publicly-held businesses to post their tax records online for public viewing if HB 3627, now under consideration, were to become law. At a hearing of the House Revenue & Finance Committee Friday, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association voiced opposition.
"Illinois faces overwhelming deficits, unemployment far higher than the national average, plus the highest income tax rates we have ever paid. The first way to climb out of this hole is to create additional jobs by attracting more companies and engendering opportunities for those who are already here to expand," said Mark Denzler, vice president and COO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "This proposed Tax Disclosure Act does the exact opposite-it gives any job creator pause before doing business in our state."
But it's what corporations in Illinois may be hiding that's the problem, opponents said. Despite the Internal Revenue Service having restrictions protecting taxpayer privacy, publicly-held corporations should be transparent so state lawmakers can determine whether businesses are paying their fair share of taxes.
Public sector unions and community organizers were on hand in front of the Thompson Building as the hearing on HB 3627 was going on inside. Calling the bill a "tax transparency" measure, one of the groups called "FairEconomyIllinois.org" said Illinois corporations were not paying their fair share.
A representative of SEIU said "forcing corporations to reveal how much they pay in taxes will stop "economic blackmail," which, she said, corporations use to force tax loopholes and credits.
State Representative Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein), a member of the committee, said the unions' proposal was a witch hunt against businesses.
HB 3627 is stalled in the Illinois House, with the following sponsors - all Democrats: Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie - Monique D. Davis - Marcus C. Evans, Jr. - Christian L. Mitchell, Sara Feigenholtz, Mary E. Flowers, William Davis, Robyn Gabel, Jack D. Franks, Greg Harris, Laura Fine,Esther Golar, Charles E. Jefferson, Naomi D. Jakobsson, Jaime M. Andrade, Jr. and Arthur Turner