Akuna Capital signed tax break deal with state of Illinois estimated to be worth $4.5M
In 2015, Chicago-headquartered Akuna Capital LLC signed a deal with the state of Illinois that state officials estimated to be worth $4.5 million. As part of the agreement, Akuna agreed to hire 10 new employees. The agreement states the new hires specialized in trading and software.
Akuna Capital LLC, a proprietary trading firm specializing in the derivatives market, inked a deal in 2015 with the state of Illinois that state officials estimate to be worth up to $4.5 million in tax breaks. The state struck the deal with Akuna under the provisions of the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, tax credit program. The agreement was officially executed in July 2015, and under the terms of the deal, Akuna Capital agreed to hire 10 new employees. Five of the new hires were to be traders, while the other five new hires were slated to specialize in software.
According to the agreement, Akuna Capital planned to relocate its Chicago office to 333 S. Wabash Ave. from 36 S. Wacker Drive. Akuna Capital is headquartered in Chicago and has offices in Cambridge, Mass., and Shanghai, China.
The state of Illinois’ EDGE program has spent more than $1.3 billion in tax credits to handpicked companies since 2001. The program’s supporters claim it has created 34,000 jobs; however, Illinois is still nearly 20,000 jobs short of its pre-recession jobs peak reached in September 2000. Fortunately for taxpayers, EDGE expired April 30, four months after the law was extended after its original expiration on Dec. 31, 2016.
However, EDGE’s supporters are trying to bring it back. House Bill 1125 would revive the failed tax credit program and set a new expiration date of May 31, 2017. Sponsored by state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, HB 1125 passed the House in a landslide vote of 107-3 on April 28. HB 1125 is on second reading in the Senate.
But for EDGE’s supporters, HB 1125 would only be a temporary measure. If the bill becomes law as written, EDGE would once again expire after only a couple weeks.
Lawmakers should not revive the EDGE program. EDGE and its would-be replacements are unfair to other businesses that do not receive special tax breaks. Rather than wheeling and dealing with the politically connected, lawmakers should find ways to lighten Illinois’ tax burden for all taxpayers.
Clarification: An earlier version of this article said Akuna “received a $4.5 million tax break” from the state. The state of Illinois estimates the value of the tax credit to be worth $4.5 million, though this is not necessarily the amount the company has received.