Incentives for Tuscola plant move forward

Incentives for Tuscola plant move forward

SPRINGFIELD — Legislation designed to help bring a $1.2 billion fertilizer plant to the Tuscola area advanced another step Tuesday in the Illinois Senate.

An amendment to the bill, SB 1147, was approved on the Senate floor, and the legislation was moved to passage stage.

According to sponsor Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, as amended, it would designate the plant proposed by Cronus Chemicals LLC as a high-impact business and make it eligible for financial incentives, including a waiver of sales taxes on materials bought to build the plant. Rose said the waiver is estimated to be worth $14.5 million.

"Once they're here, though, you're getting taxes from employees and everything else," he said."Right now all you have is a field that is garnering local property taxes and that's it.

"With this, you'd also be getting the benefit of 1,500 to 2,000 (construction) employees and everything they spend, plus 200 permanent jobs."

The annual payroll from those permanent jobs would be about $15 million, Rose said.

A similar bill, sponsored by Rep. Adam Brown, R-Champaign, is advancing in the House.

Iowa is also vying for the fertilizer plant.

"There's a pretty big delta that has to be closed between what they've offered and what we've offered," Rose said. "But if you're in this high-impact designation, that closes that delta pretty quickly.

"We also have another advantage because Tuscola is where the gas is," he said. "Every natural-gas pipeline in North America runs through here. Iowa has to offer a lot to make up for that."

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