- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration has approved $100 million in business tax incentives after suspending more than $200 million in grants for social services and parks.

Crain’s Chicago Business (http://bit.ly/1CndAOx ) reported Thursday that the deals were set in motion by ex-Gov. Pat Quinn under the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy program, designed to benefit companies which locate in Illinois or expand their operations when there’s competition from other locales.

But the action brought a sharp retort from a teachers’ union, which criticized the Republican governor for having misplaced priorities.

The companies involved in the credits include eBay, Aldi Inc., Capitol One, CDW, SAC Wireless and others. They had been tentatively approved by Quinn officials before he left office in January but Rauner put a brick on them while he looked for ways to tackle a $1.6 billion budget deficit in the current year.

“These commitments were made by the Quinn administration and were allowed to continue because they have no impact on the current fiscal year,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said.

Rauner was criticized because he suspended $26 million in health and social services grant awards late last week as part of his continuing austerity efforts. Last month, he suspended $180 million in parks and recreation grants that had been approved by Quinn.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers weighed in on the decision. Spokeswoman Aviva Bowen criticized the governor’s cuts in autism, after-school and homelessness programs “before asking the most wealthy to chip in a dime.”

“Giving tax breaks to big corporations while slashing millions from the services our most vulnerable rely on is beyond the pale.”

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Information from: CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS.

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