WBEZ | Sears http://www.wbez.org/tags/sears Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: The music of legendary jazz pianist Henry Butler http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-23/morning-shift-music-legendary-jazz-pianist-henry <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Henry Butler Flickr - Turismo Emilia Romagna.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We hear the stories and music of New Orleans pianist Henry Butler. We also delve into the slow demise of Chicago retail icon Sears after the announcement that it is closing the flagship store on State Street.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-music-of-legendary-jazz-singer-a/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-music-of-legendary-jazz-singer-a.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-music-of-legendary-jazz-singer-a" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The music of legendary jazz pianist Henry Butler" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 08:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-23/morning-shift-music-legendary-jazz-pianist-henry Sears may spin off Lands' End, Auto Center http://www.wbez.org/news/sears-may-spin-lands-end-auto-center-109030 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/SEARS.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Sears Holdings might split off its Lands&rsquo; End and Auto Center businesses. It&rsquo;s one of the strategies the retailer is considering in its turnaround efforts.</p><p>The Hoffman Estates-based company reported another quarter of declining sales. Same-store sales for the quarter ending October 26 fell 3.7 percent. The parent company of Sears and Kmart expects a net loss close to $550 million for the third quarter.</p><p>Sears announced Tuesday it would likely reposition its auto service and pursue a spin-off of its Lands&rsquo; End business rather than an outright sale. This would allow Sears to share cash flow with another entity.</p><p>But equity analyst Paul Swinand with Morningstar says Sears might just be testing the waters and that the right price could trigger a sale.</p><p>&ldquo;If Sears itself looks kind of distressed, then buyers might be tempted to wait hoping to get it at a lower price when Sears was in deeper trouble. So this is a little bit of posturing,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Swinand says with increasing competition from big box stores and the Internet, the company needs to improve its core retail business.</p><p>Sears plans to continue selling off its more unprofitable stores.</p></p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 14:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sears-may-spin-lands-end-auto-center-109030 Sears to shut two of its oldest stores: What should be the buildings' fate? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-05/sears-shut-two-its-oldest-stores-what-should-be-buildings-fate-107068 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P5063038_0.jpg" style="width: 640px; height: 426px;" title="" /></p><p>A year ago almost to the day, I wrote in this space: &quot;Hey Sears: I passed your East 79th Street store a few days ago. From the front, I couldn&#39;t tell if the store was open or closed...&quot;</p><p>That was May 8, 2012. There&#39;s no wondering anymore. &quot;Store Closing Sale&quot; signs have now appeared in the window of the Sears department store, 1334 E. 79th St. Built in 1925, the long, two-story beige brick building with an iconic tower that can been seen for blocks is <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/05/06/grand-crossing-neighborhood-fears-blight-with-sears-closing/">set to close in July</a>. Designed from plans by architect George C. Nimmons, the store has been a fixture for almost 90 years.</p><p>In addition to the 79th Street store in the above photo, the Sears at 62nd and Western, built in 1928 in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood will also close. The two establishments are among the oldest stand-alone department stores Sears built, representing the retailer&#39;s expansion from a purely mail-order house--a World War I-era Amazon.com--to a 20th century retail giant. Sears&#39; first stand-alone department store, built in 1925 at 1900 W. Lawrence, will remain open. A 1966 Sears store in Calumet City&#39;s River Oaks Mall will close next month.</p><p>Here is the Chicago Lawn community store:<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P5063050_0.jpg" title="" /></p><p>Sears isn&#39;t saying much about the closings or the buildings&#39; future, which should raise concern, given the company has been as bad steward of Nimmons&#39; elegant building &ndash; even during financially good times.</p><p>The company blacked out the windows on the three-story front elevation of the Chicago Lawn store years ago, giving the building a blank-eyed look along Western Avenue. On 79th Street the sins were worse: Sears bricked over virtually all of the two-story building&#39;s windows and shaved off projecting cornices, turning Nimmons&#39; glassy and collegiate building into a bunker.&nbsp;</p><p>The clumsy alterations muddle-up the architect&#39;s intent and thus works against any idea to preserve the buildings for architectural reasons. For urban planning reasons, though, the stores should be kept and reused because neither neighborhood would benefit from them being demolished.</p><p>But how might the buildings be reused? Let&#39;s have a discussion &ndash; and any remembrances of these Sears stores--in the comments section below.</p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-05/sears-shut-two-its-oldest-stores-what-should-be-buildings-fate-107068 The post-recession apartment class abandons suburban office parks http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/post-recession-apartment-class-abandons-suburban-office-parks-101669 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/iDanSimpson.jpg" style="height: 334px; width: 620px; " title="An office park in Barrington, IL (Flickr/iDanSimpson)" /></div><p>Once upon a time, there were thousands of young Illinoisans actively looking for jobs in the suburbs with good schools for their kids or soon-to-be-kids, low taxes, and jobs they could drive to easily. They spawned the birth of the office park, large, heavily landscaped campuses with gyms and cafeterias that, before the recession, were often filled to capacity.<br /><br />But now, in many towns, those campuses stand empty. With an inkling that the recession might be behind us, those companies seeking to reopen or expand are looking at downtown offices. It&rsquo;s not just that more business is happening in denser urban areas these days, although that&rsquo;s true. According to <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> reporter David Roeder, it&rsquo;s also an issue of image. People would rather work in, &ldquo;a spiffy downtown address in a building of note.&rdquo;<br /><br />Others say the trend is potentially temporary. While it&rsquo;s true the rising professional generation does by and large prefer the apartment lifestyle, the bottom line is that yields are higher in the &lsquo;burbs where property comes cheaper, according to the <em><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304584404576442121473072328.html">Wall Street Journal</a>. </em><br /><br />A turnaround would &nbsp;be good news for the towns that sprung up around these office parks. Hoffman Estates, about 30 miles from downtown Chicago, recently lost both Sears and AT&amp;T. They were the village&rsquo;s number one and number two employers, respectively. Areas that rely upon office parks housing pharmaceutical companies and other industries that require space have more insulation, says Roeder, but not much. He suggests that those communities left with thousands of square feet of real estate consider converting them to community colleges or hospitals.<br /><br />There&rsquo;s no way of knowing now if the trend will last, but Chicago will see Motorola Mobility make itself at home downtown in the next few weeks, and rumor has it that Sara Lee is considering a move back as well. Roeder, along with Elk Grove President Craig Johnson, will stop &nbsp;by <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> on Monday to talk about what&rsquo;s happening to suburban office parks with WBEZ business reporter Niala Boodhoo.</p></p> Mon, 13 Aug 2012 08:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/post-recession-apartment-class-abandons-suburban-office-parks-101669 'Where America shops' needs an architectural makeover http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-05/where-america-shops-needs-architectural-makeover-98875 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P5063038.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 359px;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>Hey Sears: I passed your East 79th Street store a few days ago. From the front, I couldn't tell if the store was open or closed--not good for a retailer getting its clocked cleaned by the big-box behemoth from Bentonville.</p><p>Built in 1928 with a tower that can be seen for blocks, the 79th Street building is one of Sears' oldest free standing stores. It is very much open. And it used to look the part. Sears' own website described the store as originally having "lots of windows for light and ventilation."&nbsp;</p><p>Not anymore. With two-stories of bricked-over shop windows on two major unadorned elevations, the store looks like an unfriendly neighbor with shades pulled. Again, not good. It's a recurring theme with Sears older stores. These places--much like the company itself--need a makeover.</p>Take a look at the Sears store on 62nd and Western in the photo below. Still a good-looking building with a hint of Renaissance Revival styling, but the display windows are covered in faux and mirrored glass, making the street front lifeless.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P5063050.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 304px;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Part of the problem sits behind the 62nd and Western store:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P5063092.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 281px;" title=""></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>The back of the store faces a big parking lot, so the retailer--probably in the 1960s or early 1970s--added this suburban mall-like carbuncle as a rear entrance. As with the 79th Street store and the one of Harlem and North Avenue, this rear entrance becomes the defacto main entrance, thus making the rear the "front" of the store and turning the historic front--where pedestrian life and window shopping should be encouraged--into the back of the box.</p><p>Built in 1953, this Sears at Harlem and North in the photo below is better-looking in that it was likely designed with fewer windows than its older counterparts. But the front of the store looks lifeless on a Saturday afternoon. What's new? What's for sale? The outside of the store is mum, saying nothing to the thousands of drivers and pedestrians who pass the corner each day.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P5063155.jpg" title=""></div></div><p>The former retail powerhouse has a ton of issues of solve, as <em>Crain's Chicago Business</em> <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120421/ISSUE01/304219970/sears-where-america-shopped">smartly reported</a> last month. But here hoping the chain begins by enlivening its classic stores, reopening the facades with big display windows and bringing back the Big Store magic to neighborhood commercial streets...and to itself.</p></p> Tue, 08 May 2012 09:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-05/where-america-shops-needs-architectural-makeover-98875 Sears lays off 100 at Illinois headquarters, two months after getting state tax credit http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-lays-100-illinois-headquarters-two-months-after-getting-state-tax-credit-96478 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-03/Sears.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Sears laid off 100 workers at its headquarters outside of Chicago on Thursday, two months after the company got a hefty tax credit for dropping a threat to move its headquarters out of state.</p><p>Sears Holding Corp. spokesman Chris Brathwaite said the layoffs of "about 100 associates" at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates took effect immediately.</p><p>Brathwaite said the job cuts do not violate the terms of a $150 million tax credit for Sears approved by the Illinois legislature in December after the company threatened to move its headquarters out of Illinois.</p><p>The Sears spokesman said the headquarters workforce will remain above the job levels required in the legislation even with Thursday's layoffs.</p><p>"We are well above the minimum headcount requirements for both the existing legislation expiring in the fall and the new legislation which takes effect in 2013," he said in an email to The Associated Press. "It's important to know that under the legislation if we don't meet our obligations we receive no benefits."</p><p>About 6,100 people currently work at the Hoffman Estates site, he said.</p><p>"These decisions are never easy, but they are necessary as part of our efforts to transform the company," Brathwaite said.</p><p>The jobs cut represented a mix of different positions and came from several departments. Those who are eligible will receive severance, Brathwaite said.</p><p>"We're focused on improving our business and continuing to be a strong, contributing member of the Illinois business community," he said.</p></p> Thu, 16 Feb 2012 19:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-lays-100-illinois-headquarters-two-months-after-getting-state-tax-credit-96478 Sears and Kmart to close 100 plus stores http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-and-kmart-close-100-plus-stores-95155 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20100223_san_72657_Sear_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Sears and Kmart will be closing more than 100 stores after disappointing holiday sales revenue, that announcement coming just two weeks after the state of Illinois guaranteed parent company Sears Holding Corp. millions in tax breaks to keep its headquarters in Northwest Suburban Hoffman Estates.</p><p>The announcement brought swift reaction from state officials.</p><p>At an unrelated press event Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said the company didn't mention retail store closures during negotiations on the tax break package. He said the closings don't affect the company's agreement to stay in Illinois and that individual stores were not part of the discussion.</p><p>"We hope the company does better," said Quinn. "But as far as their headquarters and all that goes at the headquarters, that is what the agreement was about."</p><p>But State Sen. Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat, said he feels betrayed by Sears and said company officials should explain if they were aware of the closings while they were negotiating with lawmakers.</p><p>"When we give a package and incentive like this and try to keep a corporation here in Illinois, they should at least tell us what they're going to be doing not so much in the far future, but the near future," said Silverstein.</p><p>WBEZ asked Sears Holding Corp. whether company officials were aware of the closures as it negotiated with state lawmakers, but the company declined to directly answer that question.</p><p>"It’s important to know that under the legislation that was recently passed if we don’t meet our obligations we receive no benefits," a representative for Sears said in a statement.</p><p>Sears Holdings Corp. owns both Sears and Kmart. The corporation says same-store revenue fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at Sears and K-Mart. The holiday season is the most crucial time of year for retailers to haul in a profit, and this year Kmart and Sears fell way short of their goals.</p><p>Both stores blame revenue drops on diminished consumer electronic sales. Kmart also had less inventory on layaway and lackluster clothing sales this year, and Sears saw a decline in home appliances, too.</p><p>Sears has more than 4,000 stores in the US and Canada. Closing 100 to 120 stores is expected to generate more than $140 million dollars in cash inventory sales. Sears Holding Corp. anticipates additional proceeds from the sale or sublease of real estate holdings.</p><p>Earlier this month Illinois passed a huge corporate tax incentives bill to keep companies like Sears headquartered in Illinois. The company was threatening to leave the state if it wasn't given tax breaks.</p><p>According to analysts, the weaker-than-expected performance reflects a deteriorating outlook for the retailer.</p><p>The results point to "deepening problems at this struggling chain and renewed worries about Sears survivability," said Gary Balter, an analyst at Credit Suisse. "The extent of the weakness may be larger than expected but the reasons behind it are not. It begins and some would argue ends with Sears' reluctance to invest in stores and service."</p><p>Balter also said Sears' weakening performance may lead its vendors to start to worry about their exposure.</p><p>The company has seen rival department stores like Macy's Inc. and discounters like Target Corp. continue to steal customers. It's also contending with a stronger Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, which has hammered hard its low-price message and brought back services like layaway, which allows financially stressed shoppers to finance their holiday purchases by paying a little at a time.</p><p>The tough economy hasn't helped, either. Middle-income shoppers, the company's core customers, have seen their wages fail to keep up with higher costs for household basics such as food.</p><p>But the big problem, analysts say, is Sears hasn't invested in remodeling, leaving its stores uninviting.</p><p>"There's no reason to go to Sears," said New York-based independent retail analyst Brian Sozzi, "It offers a depressing shopping experience and uncompetitive prices."</p><p>Sears Holdings appeared to stumble early in the holiday season, as it opened its Sears, Roebuck and Co. stores at 4 a.m. on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Rivals including Best Buy Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Toys R Us opened as early as Thanksgiving night. Sears stores had opened on Thanksgiving Day in 2010. Kmart has been opening on Thanksgiving for years.</p><p>A hint that trouble might be brewing came in mid-December when Sears Holdings unexpectedly announced that 260 of its Sears, Roebuck and Co. locations would stay open until midnight through Dec. 23.</p><p>Kmart's 4.4 percent decline in revenue at stores open at least a year was blamed on diminished layaways and a drop in clothing and consumer electronics sales. Part of K-Mart's layaway softness likely stemmed from competitive pressure. Wal-Mart had said that its holiday layaway business had been popular. Toys R Us expanded its layaway services to include more items. Kmart's grocery sales climbed during the period.</p><p>Sears cited lackluster consumer electronics and home appliance sales for its six percent dropoff. Sears' clothing sales were flat. Sales of Lands' End products at Sears stores rose in the mid-single digits.</p><p>D'Ambrosio acknowledged in his internal memo that criticism over Sears Holdings' performance was likely to come, but that the company was prepared for the days ahead.</p><p>"We will bounce back and become stronger than ever," he said.</p></p> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 13:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-and-kmart-close-100-plus-stores-95155 Navistar layoffs add to doubts about incentives http://www.wbez.org/content/navistar-layoffs-add-doubts-about-incentives <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-23/AP05060901633.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The workers helped design International brand trucks. (AP/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-23/Navistar_truck_SCALED.jpg" style="margin: 9px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 308px; height: 207px;" title="The workers helped design International brand trucks. (AP/File)">Sears Holdings Corp. and Chicago’s financial exchanges have quit threatening to pull up stakes now that Illinois has enacted tax breaks for them. But it remains unclear whether state incentives to big companies are wise uses of economic-development resources. A personnel shift by Lisle-based Navistar International Corp. will add fresh doubt.</p><p>WBEZ has learned that some new jobs Navistar promised under an Illinois incentive agreement are coming to the state at the expense of unionized workers in Indiana.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced the Navistar incentives last year after the company threatened to pack up its headquarters in west suburban Warrenville and leave the state. The deal committed Illinois to a $64.7 million bundle of tax credits and job-training subsidies for the company. It committed Navistar to moving the headquarters to Lisle, a couple miles east, and to adding 400 full-time Illinois employees.</p><p>Navistar’s first report to the state about the jobs isn’t due until next year, so it’s hard to tell how many positions the company has created thus far. Employees confirm that dozens of new engineers and designers are working at the Lisle facility.</p><p>Navistar is creating those jobs as it phases out its Truck Development and Technology Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, just three hours southeast of Chicago. The latest Fort Wayne cuts came December 2, when the company laid off 130 employees, mostly engineers and designers who are United Auto Workers members. Before the layoff, some of the Fort Wayne workers had to help train their Lisle replacements.</p><p>Navistar has “rewritten the job descriptions so the people that used to do the work here — the union folks — don’t qualify anymore on paper,” said Craig Randolph, a design engineer the company laid off after 15 years at the Fort Wayne center. “So they’re eliminating the high-seniority, older employees like myself and replacing them with nonunion college kids — guys fresh out of school. And the taxpayers in Illinois are subsidizing the whole thing.”</p><p>Asked for a response, Navistar spokeswoman Karen Denning called it unusual for engineers to have union representation in the first place, a claim disputed by auto industry experts. Denning also sent a statement that said the company’s decision to shift the Fort Wayne jobs to Lisle was “based solely on our desire to compete in the global economy.” The statement added that Navistar has allowed many Fort Wayne employees to relocate to the Chicago area and stay with the company.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity sent a statement that doesn’t directly address whether the Navistar incentives have anything to do with the Fort Wayne layoffs. The statement says the state’s assistance to companies like Navistar over the last decade has “created and retained tens of thousands of jobs,” including unionized positions.</p><p>There’s not much proof to back up such claims. Scholars who study the effects of corporate incentives point out that companies decide where to operate based on proximity to suppliers, markets, transportation and so on. Another factor is whether workers are bargaining collectively. Just this summer, Navistar announced it was closing a unionized plant in Chatham, Ontario. The company has moved that work to nonunion facilities in Texas and Mexico.</p><p>“I don’t think that the [Illinois] incentives are causing Navistar to shift around its workforce,” said Rachel Weber, an associate professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “But they do send a message that the public sector and taxpayers are validating these kinds of activities. And, if you asked a lot of taxpayers in the state of Illinois whether they’d want to support these kinds of activities, I don’t think they’d be so happy about it.”</p><p>Weber pointed out that the economies of Illinois and Indiana intertwine closely and said it would help both states to quit poaching jobs from each other. Eliminating state incentives for corporations, she added, would free up resources for everything from workforce readiness to small-business incubation.</p><p>The union, for its part, didn’t return calls about the Fort Wayne layoffs and isn’t creating a public fuss about them. That raises questions about the role of UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams, who serves on Navistar’s board of directors under a decades-old agreement that reserved the seat for the union. Because Williams draws salaries from both the UAW and Navistar, and because he once directed a UAW region that includes Illinois but not Indiana, some of the union’s Fort Wayne members accuse him of hanging them out to dry.</p></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 16:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/navistar-layoffs-add-doubts-about-incentives Sears, CME tax breaks on way to governor http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-cme-tax-breaks-way-governor-94871 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-13/3999360929_70a9e9f64d_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two weeks after a tax-break bill went down in flames, legislation giving two Illinois companies relief is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn.</p><p>The Senate passed a bill today giving Sears and CME Group tax breaks after they threatened to leave the state. Quinn is expected to sign it.&nbsp;</p><p>Lawmakers took two extra trips to Springfield and eventually split the bill into two parts in order to get it through. Low-income, working families also will get some relief through bigger tax refunds. The package will cost Illinois about $350 million annually.</p><p>House Democratic Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who co-sponsored the bill, said as long as other states keep trying to lure-away Illinois business, companies will continue to ask for special tax breaks in Springfield.</p><p>"Do we respond or do we just say, good-bye? Or do we even call their bluff? I mean, sometimes I think we should start calling the occasional bluff and say wait a minute, is this for real because the costs of moving are certainly significant," she said.</p><p>Currie said the bill that helps Sears and CME includes accountability measures to make sure the companies only get the relief if they stay put.</p><p>For Sears, the extension of a special taxing district will continue for another 15 years. CME Group called for tax relief after lawmakers raised the corporate income tax rate in January.</p><p>Both firms said they would consider moving to another state if legislators couldn't strike a deal to keep them.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 21:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sears-cme-tax-breaks-way-governor-94871 Senate set to vote today on Sears, CME tax relief http://www.wbez.org/story/senate-set-vote-today-sears-cme-tax-relief-94844 <p><p>CME Group and suburban-based Sears are one step closer to getting the state tax breaks meant to persuade them to stay headquartered in Illinois.</p><p>On Monday the Illinois House approved a new tax relief package after it resoundingly rejected a similar measure last month. Now the House-endorsed plan moves to the Senate, where it's scheduled to be voted on Tuesday.</p><p>The Senate approved a similar bill last month. Speaking last week, Senate President John Cullerton said he didn't expect anything different this time around.</p><p>"We've already passed the bill with 36 votes, three-fifths vote in the Senate, bipartisan vote," said Cullerton last week. "The House did not pass it, so when the House does what they should do, then we'll react."</p><p>After the House vote Monday, a spokesman for Cullerton said the senator is optimistic about the tax plan's chances in the Senate.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/senate-set-vote-today-sears-cme-tax-relief-94844