DCEO gives $25.6M to billion-dollar businesses

DCEO gives $25.6M to billion-dollar businesses

Illinoisans don’t need bureaucrats playing venture capitalist with their hard-earned money.

Amazon.com Inc. officials announced Tuesday that the company plans to open a distribution center in Illinois, bringing an estimated 1,000 full-time jobs to the state by 2017.

Surprisingly, the state didn’t offer up subsidies or tax incentives to supplement the $75 million investment from the colossal online retailer. (Although a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity, or DCEO, made clear that “The state is willing to negotiate subsidy agreements once Amazon’s specific plans are known,” according to Crain’s Chicago Business.)

Amazon doesn’t need taxpayer dollars. Anyone who’s shopped online in the past decade can tell you the company is doing fine. But the prudent decision by the DCEO not to grant Amazon state dollars, at least for the time being, is not a matter of principle.

The department had no problem doling out tens of millions of dollars to two different billion-dollar companies in recent months.

On Oct. 16, state officials broke ground on a maintenance and repair hangar wherein AAR Corp. will service aircraft at Rockford International Airport. The $15 million needed to build the hangar was fronted by the DCEO. The department also gifted AAR Corp. a $7.5 million tax credit over the next 10 years, on top of $600,000 for worker training. The facility will provide an estimated 500 jobs over the next five years.

AAR Corp. holds nearly $2.2 billion in total assets. The company doesn’t need a free facility, tax credits or worker training courtesy of Illinois taxpayers.

Less than two weeks after announcing the multimillion-dollar handout for AAR Corp., the DCEO announced another investment in a company with no need of government money. This time, the DCEO gave $2.7 million for equipment and a new office space in Chicago to Coyote Logistics, a company that reported 2013 revenue of $1.04 billion. Like AAR, Coyote also promised 500 new jobs.

The culture of corporate welfare created by massive DCEO “investments” is shameful. When Amazon sees the state paying upward of $20,000 per job to wildly successful companies, one wonders how long they’ll be able to resist public funds from the state of Illinois.

Illinoisans don’t need bureaucrats playing venture capitalist with their hard-earned money. The DCEO, and the cronyism that comes with it, should be dismantled.

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