Haribo to create 55 new jobs in Rosemont for $1.67M in EDGE tax breaks

Haribo to create 55 new jobs in Rosemont for $1.67M in EDGE tax breaks

Under its agreement with the state of Illinois, the candy company Haribo of America will bring 25 new jobs to its Rosemont headquarters by October 2018, followed by another 30 by October 2021.

Haribo of America Inc., which manufactures gummy bears and other candy, has inked a 55-job deal with the state of Illinois worth nearly $1.7 million under the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, tax credit program.

The positions will be filled at Haribo of America’s corporate headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois. The gummy bear maker was previously headquartered in Baltimore, but moved to Rosemont in 2015.

An EDGE agreement between Haribo of America and the state was originally signed in December 2016, and an amendment was executed in June 2017. According to the agreement as amended, the gummy bear maker will create 25 new full-time jobs by Oct. 13, 2018. Thirty additional full-time positions will be created by Oct. 13, 2021. According to the agreement, Haribo of America currently employs 59 workers in its Rosemont headquarters.

Haribo of America is the U.S. arm of Haribo, a candy manufacturer with 16 factories in Europe and offices across the globe.

Since 2001, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, or DCEO, the state agency responsible for overseeing EDGE, has signed more than $1.4 billion worth of deals with select companies. DCEO has claimed EDGE has created 37,122 jobs as of Dec. 31, 2016.

Though the tax credit program expired April 30, 2017, the General Assembly brought it back through House Bill 162. The bill passed both chambers with sweeping bipartisan support and was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner in September.

Illinois is not the only state to sign a tax incentive deal with Haribo of America.

In March, Haribo of America announced plans to build a new $242 million factory in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Haribo’s planned facility, located in Pleasant Prairie, is projected to employ 400 workers and span 500,000 square feet. Though a state tax incentives package was also announced at the time, the deal was still being negotiated with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, or WEDC. Haribo of America and WEDC announced in August they’d struck a deal for $21 million in performance-based state income tax credits through 2028.

Though Haribo of America signed incentives deals with both Wisconsin and Illinois, Wisconsin stands to come out ahead in terms of blue-collar manufacturing jobs and the number of jobs.

And it’s not hard to see why.

Illinois’ uncompetitive policies make it a place to avoid for manufacturing, instead of a place to invest. The Prairie State has the highest workers’ compensation costs in the region and some of the highest property taxes in the country.

Illinois’ average workers’ compensation costs are 34 percent higher than the average costs in surrounding states. Though Wisconsin’s rates are still relatively high for the area, Illinois’ average workers compensation rate is 8.3 percent higher than Wisconsin’s average rate. And because of Kenosha County’s proximity to the Chicago area, Haribo of America can still enjoy the benefits of Chicagoland’s status as a major transportation artery both for the region and the nation.

Rather than rely on tax credits for select companies, Illinois should seek real, pro-growth reforms to spur development and investment.

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