Just a few months ago, Illinois gave retail giant Sears $275 million to keep its corporate headquarters in the state, after Sears threatened to move elsewhere (including, potentially, Ohio). To show its appreciation for receiving millions in taxpayer funds, as Greg Leroy pointed out at the Clawback blog, Sears announced last week that it will lay off 100 workers at those headquarters:
Despite a huge subsidy package enacted by the state of Illinois in December, Sears Holdings Corp. has already announced layoffs at its headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates. Last week, the retailer announced that 100 HQ staff will be laid off…That December deal, valued at up to $275 million, came after Sears threatened to relocate in headquarters to another state. Its predecessor company, Sears, Roebuck & Co., played the same “job blackmail” game in 1989. The $168 million, 23-year deal it won then was soon to expire when Sears Holdings announced it might again be footloose.
The deal that Illinois signed with Sears actually gives the company the option to lay off another 1,750 workers in the state without penalty, meaning that Illinois paid millions of dollars to potentially see close to 2,000 jobs disappear. “The only surprise is that people are surprised by this,” said state Rep. Jack Franks (D). “The governor knew that this was going to happen, and he pretended he didn’t.”