Lawmakers call Illinois tax breaks for corporations counterproductive

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(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker could soon sign a massive tax credit bill on his desk that gives breaks to specific industries, like electric vehicle manufacturers, quantum computing companies and semiconductor manufacturers.

Illinois Republicans called House Bill 5005 a bailout for big corporations.

State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Murrayville, said the tax breaks will come at the expense of the small businesses currently struggling in Illinois.

“We continue to tax small businesses and individuals so we can hand out big money to big businesses. Corporate bailouts instead of taking care of the real job providers in the state of Illinois,” Davidsmeyer said.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Dave Vella, D-Loves Park, argued corporations will not get tax breaks unless they actually provide jobs.

“So this is not a bailout … in fact, the money that’s going to come in to the state of Illinois, $20 billion, over the next 30 years is going to end up creating more small businesses and more jobs for the state than I think any of us can even imagine,” said Vella.

The bill also renews a number of tax incentives the state has already offered like the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles tax credit. Gotion, an electric vehicle battery manufacturer, took advantage of this credit. Gotion continues getting their tax break of over $530 million in exchange for providing 150 jobs by 2028.

Republicans urged members on the floor to consider not voting to increase taxes on corporations while also supporting HB 5005.

State Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, called the bill counter productive.

“We need to entice businesses to come to Illinois so our people have jobs. We are still doing nothing to fix the business climate in Illinois, that is the underlying problem,” Ugaste said. “There’s over taxation, over regulation and high cost from litigation. So here we are voting on a bill to try and entice businesses by offering them tax incentives and telling them, ‘your taxes will be lower,’ and yet later we will vote to raise taxes on businesses by over $700 million, almost a billion. Let’s not waste our time.”

Delivering remarks at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce annual meeting last week, Pritzker said he wants Illinois to be the national hub for the quantum computing industry. Pritzker said he was approached at a National Governors Association gathering by officials from California and they asked him how Illinois was able to make a $200 million investment in artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

“Not him [Gavin Newsom], but the folks who were with him came up to me and asked, ‘How did you get that done? We want to do that in California but you did it in Illinois. Give us the roadmap for how to get that done.’ If California is asking us for the roadmap on how to get quantum computing invested in by the state, we must be doing something right,” Pritzker said.

HB 5005 is on the governor’s desk.

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