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D300 deal with Sears, Hoffman Estates remains ‘resolved’

School District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy talks with Dundee-Crown teacher Bruce Taylor after residents staff from School District 300 attended

School District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy talks with Dundee-Crown teacher Bruce Taylor after residents and staff from School District 300 attended the meeting to speak out on the Sears EDA issue at the Hoffman Estates Village Board Meeting on Oct.

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Updated: January 1, 2012 8:12AM



Disagreement between the Illinois House and Senate has stalled action on legislation to continue a Sears Holdings Corp. tax break that would affect revenue to Community Unit School District 300.

Both chambers’ versions of the legislation would provide CME Group Inc. — which owns the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange — and Sears a total of $100 million in tax savings. Both companies have threatened to leave Illinois unless the Illinois General Assembly offered them tax relief.

The move to extend incentives for the Sears economic development area (EDA) in Hoffman Estates, set to expire in 2012, was part of a tax break package designed to keep Chicago’s financial exchanges and Sears from leaving the state.

Included in the Senate deal, for which Gov. Pat Quinn had expressed support, was a move to eventually double the 5 percent tax credit the working poor can claim on their state income taxes. It also would index the personal exemption all individual taxpayers can claim to the rate of inflation.

The House version gives the two major companies the same tax breaks but increases the earned-income tax credit for the working poor from 5 percent to 7.5 percent and doesn’t index the personal exemption to inflation.

It is those differences that led to Tuesday’s stalemate.

Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Streamwood, who contends that the state “can’t afford” the Senate deal, said Tuesday he had hoped the House version — which was sponsored by Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion — would come to a vote in the House.

But Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, indicated that plan would not pass his legislative chamber.

And Bradley announced just before the House adjourned at 7 p.m. Tuesday that the two chambers were at an impasse.

“We are prepared to come back as soon as we are able to work this out,” Bradley said. “Unfortunately, that day is not today. Whether that’s tomorrow, the next day, the next week, we are prepared to come back.”

Cullerton hinted the whole debate might bleed over into next year, although Sears has said it will decide by the end of the year whether to relocate.

“The effective date of the bill is June 1, so we’d have plenty of time. I think Sears and CME would realize their provisions passed both chambers (and) not to fear, and we’ll work out the EITC (earned income tax credit) thing between the House and Senate when we come back,” Cullerton said.

The differences between the two deals do not affect the agreement to extend the EDA that District 300, Sears and Hoffman Estates had agreed to Monday, Bradley said before Tuesday’s House vote on House Bill 1883.

“The issues with District 300 were resolved in committee yesterday,” Bradley said.

“This is out of our hands now, and we look forward to seeing how it all turns out,” District 300 spokeswoman Allison Strupeck said Tuesday.

The Sun-Times contributed to this report.



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