After MillerCoors reported a second-quarter net profit of $325 million yesterday, the Reader's Mick Dumke astutely pointed out that this total would likely be $24 million smaller if it weren't for the taxpayers of Illinois and Chicago. Either that or their new executive ...
After MillerCoors reported a second-quarter net profit of $325 million yesterday, the Reader's Mick Dumke astutely pointed out that this total would likely be $24 million smaller if it weren't for the taxpayers of Illinois and Chicago. Either that or their new executive suites wouldn't be quite as swank.
Indeed, late last year, MillerCoors received public subsidies from Mayor Daley ($6 million in tax increment financing funds) and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich ($18 million in state tax breaks) as an incentive to move their corporate headquarters to the Loop. What do taxpayers get in the deal? Dumke explains:
In return, MillerCoors is eventually supposed to employ 325 people here, though they're mostly transfers from Denver or Milwaukee and not new jobs, and the city doesn't have a great record of monitoring these kinds of agreements.
The MillerCoors subsidy is reminiscent of the $4 million in TIF funds that Daley handed over to Willis Holdings Ltd. to help renovate its new corporate suites in the tower that now bears its name. It's hard to imagine that Chicago residents would like to learn that some of their property tax dollars went to a company that reported a net income of $279 million in the first six months of this year. Thankfully, some in the local mainstream media seem to be catching on and questioning these giveaways.
While we're on the subject of the collective $10 million directed to MillerCoors and Willis Holdings, it's worth asking who else in the so-called Central Loop TIF district stands to receive taxpayer dollars this year?
According to the 2008 annual report recently posted by the city, an additional $29 million is scheduled to be spent on four other redevelopment projects, including $5 million to NAVTEQ, a subsidiary of cellular giant Nokia. In 2007, the Tribune reported on Daley's defense of this particular giveaway:
Daley, at a press conference Tuesday, said "there's nothing wrong with TIF assistance" for corporate relocations. Without them, companies like Navteq would leave Chicago, he said. "They'd go to Naperville or New York. New York is offering huge bonuses."
Then when a firm flees, Daley added, "there'd be a big headline, 'Why does Mayor Daley let those companies move?' "
Navteq's TIF package will be used to help relocate the company and pay for upgrades in its new building, which is owned by Boeing.