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Pritzker touts targeted tax breaks amidst Illinois being named least ‘tax friendly’ state

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(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure expanding a slew of tax credits for things like electric vehicle manufacturers, quantum computing, filmmakers and more.

House Bill 5005 impacts tax credit programs for the film industry and research and development projects across the state, as well as for the Economic Development for a Growing Economy and Reimagining Energy and Vehicles programs. Pritzker’s office said the bill also builds on Illinois’ growing status as a tech hub and reduces red tape for the Blue Collar Job Act, another tax credit program.

“Updates to Illinois’ premier business development tools will make Illinois even more competitive for jobs and capital investment and could generate more than an estimated $21 billion in new state revenue into GRF over the next 30 years,” a statement from Pritzker’s office said.

Opponents of the measure in the Illinois House said the bill is a tax carve out for large businesses at the expense of small businesses. State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Murrayville, said the legislature continues to tax small businesses and individuals so state government can hand out big money to big businesses.

“By voting for this, you are voting for big business bailouts at the expense of our small businesses that are struggling to get by,” said Davidsmeyer.

During a news conference Wednesday, Pritzker touted the legislation and he said Illinois has seen record business formation and job growth. He said Illinois’ business-friendly environment is because of attractive tax incentives.

“It cuts the red tape to expedite job creation, continues our successful attraction of high-growth industries and incentivizes new and existing businesses across downstate Illinois,” said Pritzker.

State Rep. Dave Vella, D-Loves Park, sponsored the measure in the House and said corporations will not get tax breaks unless they actually provide jobs, so therefore the tax breaks aren’t just helping big business.

Most House Republicans supported the measure despite the bill not being a remedy for what many consider the over taxation and over regulation on small businesses.

State Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, said on the House floor that the legislature can give all the tax breaks it wants to certain industries but that won’t fix the business climate in Illinois. Ugaste said voting for House Bill 5005 to try and entice businesses by offering them tax incentives and also voting to raise taxes on businesses by over $700 million is counterproductive.

“Again we are approaching this in the wrong manner,” Ugaste said. “We are still doing nothing to fix the business climate in Illinois. Over taxation, over regulation, high costs from litigation, it’s all out there. I was hoping between the last time I spoke about this package and today that we might do a little something about it, but unfortunately we haven’t.”

Pritzker called Illinois an economic powerhouse. He said there’s a lot to brag about in Illinois and the bill isn’t just tax incentives but rather the continued revitalization of the Illinois economy.

“The investments that we make today in downstate Illinois in quantum computing, in semiconductor development, film and TV production, electric vehicles and so much more will open up paths for businesses and workers for generations of Illinois families,” said Pritzker.

The 2025 fiscal year budget starting July 1 increases taxes another $750 million. There’s also an another annual increase in state motor fuel tax.

An updated analysis by MoneyGeek, a personal finance site, evaluates how “tax friendly” each state is by calculating the tax burden on the average citizen. The state that scored worst overall was Illinois, where taxes represent about 13% of a median family’s income. Illinois was given an F grade for its tax burden.

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