Proposed Illinois legislation would not allow communities to offer tax breaks to entice firms in other Illinois communities to move

Companies can play communities off each other to see who is willing to offer tax breaks and other perks for moving to a specific municipality. A new proposed law in Illinois would aim to stop this practice among Illinois communities:

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

It is long past time for Springfield to take municipal cronyism off the table, permanently. One of us, state Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, has introduced legislation in Springfield to that effect.The Local Government Business Anti-Poaching Act, HB0211, would prohibit local governments from offering special favors to Illinois businesses in exchange for relocating to their communities. It would end business incentives from politicians spending taxpayer dollars. It requires that businesses relocate based solely on their evaluation of a location and their ability to serve their customers with better prices, products and services rather than taxpayer funded special deals.Under this legislation, Illinois lawmakers and businesses would both refocus their energies on the state’s economic, education, law enforcement and infrastructure policies to put the state’s economy to work for everyone, not just the privileged few.Anti-poaching legislation will make Illinois’ economy as competitive as any state in the country, all year round.

My first thought in reading this: won’t Illinois companies then seek communities just over the border or in other communities if they cannot find better deals in Illinois?

A related thought: a municipal tax breaks seen as part of a freer market where companies and communities can compete for jobs, economic growth, profits, and more? If so, is an anti-poaching law limiting competition?

This may get into too many details but I wonder how the state or others might differentiate between moving because of a nice financial package and doing it solely for business reasons. There cannot be an announced deal in place? Are there penalties for Illinois communities who make offers and companies who ask for them or accept them?

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