Batinick argues EDGE extension would only extend small business woes
An extension to the controversial Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credit to May 31 passed the House two days before it expired on April 30 but has since been stuck in the Senate.
The current legislative session ends on May 31.
House Bill 1125 was sponsored by Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) but was strongly opposed by Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), who spoke with Dan Proft, co-host of the "Illinois Rising" radio show.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
“Even when the EDGE program is working properly, it’s like someone taking aspirin for cancer,” Batinick said. “We are not dealing with the root problem, that we have a negative overall business climate regarding workers' comp, property taxes and regulations. I believe that if you foster a positive environment for small businesses, inherently big businesses will be helped as well.”
The purpose of the EDGE program is to incentivize companies to create new jobs in Illinois by providing tax credits for new hires. The challenge stems from the overall efficacy of the program. Since starting in 2001, EDGE has provided more than $1 billion in tax credits.
Batinick argued that the tax credit arrangement for big businesses is a failing initiative.
“We just have so many situations where significant tax credits go to all these companies for years, then we’re all excited these credits are going to expire, and we’ll start reaping more tax revenue, then they decide after the tax credits are up to move," he said. "That’s not a winning formula in my mind.”
EDGE was originally scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2016, but it received an extension to April 30.
Proft's co-host, Patrick Hughes, suggested to Batinick that he is one of the few against the extension, but Batinick argued that there is more support for ending the program than is apparent.
“I’m not worried about the few businesses compared to the thousands and thousands of small businesses who don’t get these tax credits and are screaming about issues such as property taxes and regulations," he said. "We passed a dozen regulations for small businesses last week, and those are the things that need to be undone. Those are the things we need to fix because they inhibit job growth.”
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