CHICAGO - House Speaker Michael Madigan made known to the Chicago Tribune Wednesday that he was done with tax breaks for specific corporations. Last week, Madigan's House adjourned before they voted on a tax break proposal that would have benefitted Archer Daniel Midland. The EDGE tax credit plan passed the Democrat super-majority in the Illinois Senate.
Madigan's angry comments were in reaction to Office Depot announcing they picked Florida over Illinois for their headquarters, taking 1600 jobs with them. Office Depot's release follows similar concerns from ADM, Kraft Pizza, and a growing number of employers that are leaving or avoiding Illinois for greener pastures. In a defensive statement, Madigan said:
"I find it very difficult to support tax giveaways for corporate CEOs and millionaire shareholders whose companies pay little in state taxes," said Madigan, who is state Democratic chairman. "I question our priorities when corporate handouts are demanded by companies that don't pay their fair share while middle-class families and taxpayers face an increasing number of burdens."
One Republican House member responded to Madigan's comments with biting criticism. State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) sent out the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“I find Speaker Madigan’s sudden concern for the taxpayers of Illinois to be very interesting. This is the man who, through absolute control of the Illinois House of Representatives for 28 years, has done nothing but overburden Illinois taxpayers."
Morrison said Madigan’s actions do nothing to suggest that he [Madigan] is a supporter of middle income taxpayers. "On his watch, the pension debt has quadrupled, budgets have not been balanced, and his agenda forced the largest tax increase on Illinois taxpayers and corporations in our state’s history. Quite to the contrary, the Speaker’s actions have hurt taxpayers, not helped them," Morrison wrote.
The Madigan agenda has done nothing but delay true reforms, like fixing Illinois’ workers’ compensation system, which by far includes the highest insurance premiums in the Midwest and makes it considerably tougher for employers to hire Illinois workers, Morrison said.
The Speaker and his party's policies, combined with his refusal to allow for real reforms, have caused real harm to the vast majority of Illinois citizens.
Over recent years, the Illinois House approved 11 different tax incentive deals for select Illinois businesses.
"As evidenced last week when he refused to call the Office Depot tax incentive bill, Speaker Madigan had the power to stop any one of those bills from being heard and acted upon in the House," Morrison said. "He didn’t."
Morrison said he doesn't believe the government should "cherry pick" which companies will receive lucrative tax incentive deals and which ones will not, so he voted against those proposals.
"I favor a more balanced and fair tax approach which allows all Illinoisans to benefit from policies which promote entrepreneurship, job creation, and higher local and state revenues via increased economic activity,” Morrison said.