When will we learn?

View original article: Twin Cities give ADM leverage in Illinois

Less than eleven months ago–on January 30th–I wrote a post about an eerily similar situation. Only now the company is not Apogee pitting cities against each other, it’s Archer Daniels Midland. One of the largest agricultural companies in the world. See: Flush with cash.

It’s incredibly frustrating to see that on the heels of an economic recession and in the midst of a federal government shut down companies like ADM can still leverage one city against another. Isn’t the government broke?

Why is a multibillion dollar company able to waste municipal leaders’ time and taxpayers money pretending they are seriously considering moving their 200 seven-figure executives? Because that’s the way the system is set up: To fail.

Now it’s gone so far that municipal governments insist that companies prove another city or state is offering a more competitive tax credit deal before they will ante-up. ADM knows our governing system wastes taxpayers money with programs like one they are trying to secure. But why should they care? They are, after all, trying to secure $1.2 million dollars a year for the next 15 to 20 years. They have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.

That’s $18 million dollars on the low end, $24 million on the high end; ADM is basically extorting from some city. This is the same Company who boasts donations to charitable causes of $44 million dollars in the past four years.

Hey, ADM? Why not donate to the city and the people who have helped support you in Decatur, IL by letting the government use their tax money for things that government should pay for, like veterans’ services and education. Not tax credits so you can manipulate a broken system and eek out a few more bucks.

Here’s what I say to criminal big businesses (ripping off the people in your very own backyard) and to the governments that let them get away with it: Shame on both of you.

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