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Illinois Politics, Illinois Taxes

Democratic Primary Opponent Hits State Rep. Toni Berrios on CME, Sears Tax Break Vote

(Chicago, IL) – December 14, 2011. The tax break legislation for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group and Sears approved by the Illinois House on Monday was already causing political headaches for one House Democrat by Tuesday.

Journalist Will Guzzardi, who is challenging incumbent State Rep. Toni Berrios (D-Chicago), in the March 2012 Democratic primary, slammed Berrios in an e-mail to supporters, attacking her vote for the tax break.

Citing the CME Group’s $951 million 2010 profits and the legislature’s $454 million Illinois human services funding budget cut last year, Guzzardi, formerly the Associate Editor of The Huffington Post Chicago, attacked Berrios for misplaced priorities.

“On Monday, our State Representatives in Springfield, including incumbent Toni Berrios, ignored those numbers — and the persistent hardships faced by working families — and voted for $85 million in combined tax breaks for CME Group and the Chicago Board Options Exchange,” Guzzardi wrote.

Guzzardi also criticized the subsidy for the flailing retailer.

“An additional $150 million over 10 years goes to Sears Holding, Inc., which lost over $100 million last year,” Guzzardi wrote. “All of this means that we will lose over $1 billion in revenue for the state of Illinois.”

Additionally, Sears’ stock price has dived from $94 per share on February 18, 2011 to $51 on December 14–which is down from $58 on December 2. The expected favorable tax action by the Illinois legislature did nothing to bolster investor confidence in the wobbly firm.

Expect more of these attacks against lawmakers facing populist, silver-tongued opponents.

Governor Pat Quinn has promised to sign the legislation.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.

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