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Big business big winner so far in legislative talks

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Leaders of the Illinois House and Senate met today for two hours in Gov. Pat Quinn’s office.

Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said they made progress on a bill to create tax breaks for businesses. CME Group, which owns Chicago’s two biggest stock exchanges, and Sears of Hoffman Estates have turned to the legislature for tax relief following a hike in the corporate rate that kicked in Jan. 1.

Radogno said Democrats acknowledge a problem exists, which she said is progress.

“I see the Democrats really acknowledging the fact we have a problem with multiple businesses talking about leaving, people really hurting, because of the tax increases,” she said.

But legislators also have to be careful. She said catering only to influential corporations could backfire. More companies will be lining up at the doors of the Capitol asking for tax relief. And small businesses need help, too, she said.

“If we do something for the CME ‘s and Searses of the world there also has to be some relief that is much more broadly applicable,” she said.

One issue that didn’t come up during the meeting was casinos. Radogno said she would be “highly surprised” if the stalled casino bill saw any action next week.

Democrats who attended the meeting in Quinn’s Thompson Center office, Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, left through a back stairwell to avoid reporters.

They are scheduled to meet again on Thursday.

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