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Tax Breaks For ADM, Office Depot Advancing in Senate

A Senate panel has approved legislation that would give tax incentives to two of Illinois biggest corporations — Office Depot and Archer Daniels Midland.

ADM says it's moving its head office from Decatur to a larger city.

Chicago is thought to top the list of alternatives, but the company has also checked out Minneapolis and Atlanta. That said, ADM executive Gregory Webb told senators the company would prefer to stay in Illinois.

"We have 17,000 North American employees, and 4,500 of them are in Decatur. So Illinois is a preference," Webb said.

In exchange for up to $24 million, ADM would have to move 100 jobs to Decatur and add or fill another hundred jobs a year for five years.

The Senate committee approved the plan without opposition, as it did for another proposal to get the newly merged Office Depot to pick Illinois for its new headquarters.

The newly merged Office Depot, Inc. is trying to decide whether to locate in Naperville, where OfficeMax is based, or in Boca Raton, Florida, home to Office Depot.

Ravi Saligram, outgoing CEO of OfficeMax, told Senators the company is evaluating a lot of different factors.

"We're not here to try and get to a bidding war. We just want both states to put the best foot forward."

That plan would let the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn negotiate with Office Depot over the size and duration of its tax break.

Quinn, however, says he won't consider any tax breaks until after lawmakers address the state's underfunded pension systems.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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