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As part of his effort to bring us nothing but good news about his administration, Mayor Emanuel sent out a press release yesterday saying that ADM was moving its headquarters to Chicago.
Without a handout from the taxpayers. For the good of humanity. 'Cause they love us and care about us and we're such a really, really great city. Especially with Rahm as mayor!
"As mayor, I've said that Chicago provides many incentives to businesses with our talent, our transit system and airports, our business climate, and the support that our government provides to the business community," His Honor proclaimed.
Hell, if we got all that going for us, maybe we should have tried to charge ADM to come here, instead of it working the other way around.
Sorry, taxpayers, but I've got a feeling you're going to wind up giving ADM some tax dollars before this little game of three-card monte is over.
ADM is, of course, Archer Daniels Midland Co., an international food-processing conglomerate based in downstate Decatur. With about $89 billion in yearly revenues, ADM's also one of the richest companies in the world.
A few weeks ago, the General Assembly was set to give ADM tax credits as an inducement to keep it from moving its corporate offices out of state, and to encourage it to open a tech center in state. However, that handout was to come right after the so-called pension reform deal, in which the state cut the pensions of teachers, cops and other retired geezers.
At that point, House Speaker Michael Madigan realized it might not look like such a great idea to dole out goodies to gazillionaires while making granny live on less. So he buried the ADM's tax credit deal.
And then on Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel announced that ADM was moving its corporate office—with about 70 jobs—to an office in the Loop.
So you might say that some downtown landlord will benefit at Decatur's expense. How that's in the overall best interest of the state of Illinois is anyone's guess.
Of course, Mayor Emanuel's not in the business of looking out for the interest of Decatur. No, he's looking out for—gulp—us.
Or as Crain's put it in yesterday's account of the deal: "The plan is part of the effort Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched early in his term, when he and his top advisers began working their Rolodexes to bring more jobs to the city."
Well, with all due respect to Crain's, I don't think ADM's honchos decided to move here 'cause the mayor's got their names in his Rolodex. Hell, I doubt the mayor even has a Rolodex anymore.
My bet is that the mayor made an offer to ADM that wasn't mentioned in his press release. And that brings us back to the technology center.
According to Crain's, ADM's spokeswoman said "the company has been in talks with city officials and that ADM has been made aware of the city's ability to offer tax increment financing incentives."
Bingo! That's the TIF program, where the mayor takes property tax dollars from the schools and gives them to his cronies.
By the way, I love that delicate phrasing—"ADM has been made aware of." Maybe they read about the TIF slush fund in the Reader!
So here's something interesting about politics in Illinois.
Speaker Madigan at least tries to give the appearance that he doesn't favor gazillionaires over middle-class pensioners.
Mayor Emanuel doesn't even try. Sorry, geezers—but this is business.
It looks like the mayor can't wait to take that money he "saves" by cutting pensions and closing schools and give a TIF handout to ADM.
Make it rain, Mayor Rahm, make it rain!