You wonder where Occupy Wall Street comes from? It comes from sweet deals that big-money corporations squeeze out of local, state and federal governments, deals the 99 percent can only boggle at.
On Monday, the state of Illinois announced it was handing Edward Don Company, the foodservice giant, what amounts to $4.5 million over 10 years in tax incentives in order to “create and retain” 400 Illinois jobs.
Apparently, officials at Edward Don uttered the magic word “Kenosha” and the state buckled in fear. Was the company seriously considering moving to Kenosha? Who knows? We do know the company was seriously considering a move to Bensenville or working out a lease extension in North Riverside.
And with the village of Woodridge rolling out the green carpet, it’s hard to imagine Edward Don thought of moving anywhere but within Illinois.
The $4.5 million in state tax credits comes in addition to the $10 million in sales and utility tax incentives the company is receiving over the next 30 years from the village of Woodridge. The village also is waiving any building fees as the company constructs its brand-new headquarters at a business park near the intersection of I55 and I355.
Gov. Pat Quinn and Woodridge officials are hailing the job creating and revenue streaming advantages of this move of Edward Don’s to the southwest suburbs.
That, of course, ignores the job-killing and revenue destroying that will be going on in and around North Riverside.
Why job-killing? Because not all of the current 400 Edward Don employees will be moving out west with the company. North Riverside officials say the company has told them they expect to lose the 20 percent of its employee base that depends upon public transportation to make it to their North Riverside jobs. We’re guessing that is the 20 percent who need those jobs the most. C’est la guerre.
As for the village? Edward Don is North Riverside’s top sales tax producer. That revenue stream will abruptly vanish next summer when the company must move to its new suburban location. Unless something miraculous happens, that’s going to mean cutbacks in village services – meaning fewer village employees to provide those services. Not exactly job creation for North Riverside.
Maybe the village can send some folks downtown with a few signs to chant some slogans with the rest of the protesters. Because, just like that, North Riverside knows what it’s like to be part of the 99 percent.
Making a difference
The Landmark doesn’t cover Lyons and didn’t chronicle Judy Petrucci’s efforts to clean up that village’s image and reform its government back in the late 1980s and early 90s.
We got to know her as a forthright and hard-working member of the District 103 school board. Her death on Oct. 23 was not a surprise given her longstanding health problems, but that doesn’t take away the sting of her loss.
She spent her political and professional life working as an advocate for those without one, and she will be missed.