I have written about the Illinois EDGE program before.
Begun under Governor George Ryan, the program allowed the largest corporations to collect state income tax from its employees and then keep it.
This in a state that constantly claims it is broke and will not change its regressive tax structure, even when it had Democratic majorities in both chambers and a Democratic governor.
So, when I read that the EDGE program had been extended by both chambers of the General Assembly with huge majorities of Democrats and Republicans and then signed by Governor Rauner, I wrote my state representative, Will Guzzardi, who was among those that voted for it.
Can you explain the benefits you found in the EDGE program, which seems to be another tax break for business, and why you voted for it?
As always, Representative Guzzardi responded promptly and to the point.
Hi Fred —
The EDGE program was going to get re-authorized no matter what — leadership on both sides was eager to see it continue. A group of us in the legislature expressed our strong concerns about the program to the bill’s sponsors, and were able to win significant concessions. We’ve essentially cut the size of the credit in half — companies can get no more than 50% of the incremental income tax generated by their project, rather than up to 100% as previously written. We’ve created clawback provisions where if companies take the credit and then try to move their jobs out of state, we get the money back. And there are strong new provisions requiring employers to focus on hiring from underrepresented groups and in high-unemployment areas.
As you know, I think tax credits to big corporations are the wrong way to create and grow jobs. It’s a race to the bottom where we compete with our neighboring states to see who can give away the most public dollars to big business. I voted for this bill because it considerably narrowed the EDGE program and focused it on the instances where it will most help communities in need.
Thanks as always for reaching out. Happy to talk more anytime.
I agree with my state rep that tax credits are definitely the wrong way to create and grow jobs.
It appears though that the race to the bottom will continue for a while.