State Rep. Jay Hoffman says his bill offering tax credits to exporters is designed to level the playing field for Illinois with its neighbor Missouri. But we see a different game being played: a race to the bottom, as one expert put it.
Illinois desperately needs additional revenue and Gov. Pat Quinn is pushing to end various tax breaks to help achieve that. But Hoffman's plan is to give away more tax dollars because Missouri has a similar tax credit.
Under the bill as originally written, this could result in Illinois losing out on $7.5 million in new revenue annually. That, and whatever it would cost for the Illinois Department of Revenue to process all the paperwork this would create. Under the bill, claims for the credits would have to be submitted after each eligible flight.
This credit wouldn't just be used for struggling-to-get-off-the-ground airports like MidAmerica Airport in St. Clair County, but high fliers like O'Hare in Chicago.
According to Hoffman, we're supposed to be OK with this measure because the state would be giving away something it wouldn't have otherwise. But Hoffman doesn't know that. The U.S. economy and economies throughout the world have been depressed for several years. That, more than the lack of a tax lure, likely explains the lack of export growth.
Too bad we can't work together with Missouri to attract export business instead of racing to see which state can give away more tax incentives.