Business groups are smarting over proposed changes to one of Illinois' major economic incentive tools. The program, known as "EDGE," gives companies tax credits in exchange for keeping or creating new jobs. House Speaker Michael Madigan wants to add new requirements for getting the special treatment. One change would make it more accessible to small businesses. Other changes would make it harder for big corporations to qualify, specifically those that do not owe Illinois any corporate taxes. These firms would have to publicly disclose their net income, and create jobs in places with high unemployment. Doug Whitley, head of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, is dismayed.
"There is serious limitations that make this proposal really a barrier to economic growth."
Whitley says it's so complicated he cannot imagine a company wanting to participate. The measure successfully got out of a House committee, with mixed support from some Republicans who point to benefits for small businesses. Governor Pat Quinn's administration backs it. Other changes to Illinois' business tax code are expected.
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