Quinn: Pensions Before Tax Breaks For ADM, OfficeMax

Oct 4, 2013

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

When lawmakers return to Springfield for their fall session later this month, they'll be weighing requests from several international companies that want tax breaks for keeping their headquarters in Illinois. But Gov. Pat Quinn is throwing cold water on that idea.

Most of the tax-credit attention has gone to agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Company, which wants up to $24 million keep its global head office in Illinois. But lawmakers have also heard requests from Zurich Insurance, based in Schaumburg, and OfficeMax, based in Naperville, and there are others.

Gov. Quinn, however, says pensions need to come first.

"I think we need to have a moratorium on any special legislation for tax breaks for corporations," Quinn says. "We have to focus on pension reform."

Labor unions were quick to lash out at Quinn. They say he's essentially "[taking] the life savings" of government workers so that money can later be used for what the union calls "corporate welfare."

The companies have been getting a mixed reaction from lawmakers. Some say they don't want to be extorted for tax breaks by businesses that might stay in Illinois even without the help.