Lawmakers leave town with no Office Depot deal
Friday, November 08, 2013 2:42 AM
SPRINGFIELD -- Supporters of giving the new Office Depot Inc. tax breaks to use the former OfficeMax headquarters in Naperville rather than offices in Florida hope lawmakers return to Springfield in the coming weeks to push the plan forward.
OfficeMax co-CEO Ravi Saligram
Lawmakers left the Capitol Thursday without legislation to offer the company $53 million over 15 years.
State Rep. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat pushing for the deal, said lawmakers could return to Springfield in the coming weeks if they reach an agreement over public employee pension cuts and advance the tax breaks at the same time. At the moment, they're not scheduled to return until late January.
The Illinois Senate didn't approve the legislation Thursday after a committee signed off the day before.
At that committee hearing, Office Depot co-CEO Ravi Saligram said the company's board could come to a decision on Naperville or Florida "faster than a Tokyo bullet train" once a new CEO is hired.
Cullerton said he's not worried about the timing because Illinois' proposal is public knowledge now, even if lawmakers haven't approved.
"It's not just wishes and dreams," Cullerton said.
Florida's offer isn't public yet, but company officials say tax breaks will be only one factor in their decision making, along with access to transportation and hardship for existing workers in both locations.
The merger of Naperville's OfficeMax and Florida's Office Depot was approved this week. Saligram has said the new company's board is picking between one state or the other, not shopping around for other deals.