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Senate Black Caucus Reactions to Amazon Bid

ilbc amazonYesterday it was reported that an official letter was submitted to Amazon executives with an attached state and city bid signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the legislature’s top four leaders. Members of the Illinois Legislative Senate Black Caucus are cautiously optimistic about the potential of Amazon moving its second headquarters to Chicago. 

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), who also chairs the joint Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, delivered a clear message: “Job creation is a top priority for the caucus, specifically in our impoverished neighborhoods where unemployment rates soar due to lack of sustainable jobs. Preparation has to be our clear path toward future employment opportunities. It is our hope that we can work with Amazon and legislative leaders to ensure that our low-income neighborhoods benefit as well.”

“Areas like the south side of Chicago have suffered because of lack of job creation. I hope the incentives offered to Amazon not only interest them, but provide an opportunity for growth and financial stability for struggling communities,” said Assistant Majority Leader Donne Trotter, (D-Chicago).

With talks of the financial package being offered to Amazon coming in the form of the revamped Illinois EDGE tax credits, as well as other tax credits, Senate Black Caucus and Revenue Committee Chairwoman Toi Hutchinson, (D-Chicago Heights) had the following statement: “While I have serious concerns with the creation of another tax credit for a major corporation, I look forward to working to ensure that quality jobs are created no matter the address or zip code.”

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has continued working with business leaders and community stakeholders to find ways to spark job creation in a growing economy. Amazon has said that an estimated 50,000 employees earning an average of $160,000 per year, in the next several years, is possible. “With so many incentives offered to attract Amazon to Chicago, it is my hope that if the deal goes through, Amazon works to hire individuals from the west side neighborhoods that are struggling with high rates of unemployment,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago).

Senator Emil Jones, (D-Chicago): “It’s clear to me, having lived on the south side of Chicago all my life, that we need more quality jobs. If the estimate on the number of potential jobs to be created is correct, I don’t see any problem with this effort. We have to do something.”

The Senate Black Caucus remains dedicated to driving bipartisan cooperation as Illinois seeks this transformational employment opportunity.

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