Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Sears Confirms It Wants More To Stay Than EDA
D300's lobbying caravan arrived in Springfield about noon Monday to rally at the Lincoln statue in front of the Capitol even though the General Assembly's Veto Session wasn't set to begin until today. Monday was the only day left that someone else hadn't planned a rally, according to officials.
Board of Education Member Chris Stanton said while some of the expedition stayed outside to protest, "There were people on the inside filling out letters to the Governor. There was a constant circulation." Student buses began the trip back in mid-afternoon.
What the contingent hoped to stop or at least delay was an expected vote soon to extend the Sears Economic Development Area that officials charge will cost the cash-strapped District $14 million per year if it isn't allowed to expire at the end of next year. The EDA funnels back most of the property tax on Sears headquarters and the company said in May it might move it to a friendlier state if the rebate wasn't renewed for 15 more years.
However, Braithwaite confirmed Monday that Sears has asked State officials for more incentives to stay put than just the EDA extension. He declined "out of respect for the process" to say what else the company wants but said, whatever it is, Sears officials had outlined it to State Senators Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), and Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), and State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates) as well as "State leadership and, of course, we met with Governor Quinn."
Braithwaite wouldn't identify which other states have bid for Sears' headquarters nor how much they'd be willing to put up to host the company's 6,200 employees now located in Hoffman Estates. He cited "respect for the process" for the reticence but added it was also because "the best and final offers have not come yet."
"They should be in in the next week or so," Braithwaite said.
In the pic: District 300's lobbying caravan rallied in front of the State Capitol Monday against renewing the Sears Economic Development Area.