"They Must Be Hiding Something"
Illinois politicians must really hate job creators:
Last week, the Illinois Senate narrowly passed a bill that would require publicly traded companies doing business here to release how much they pay in state income taxes. The sponsors suggest that something sinister must be going on, because many companies don't pay state income tax. "Maybe if we were to find out that there are some very profitable corporations operating in the state of Illinois, we might want to say that maybe they should pay a little more," House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie said last week.The only reason they're doing this is that they're desperate for cash-which, like California, could soon be flowing to other states if this keeps up.
The proposed law would require publicly traded corporations doing business in Illinois to file an annual statement with sensitive financial information beyond their taxable income and taxes paid. The companies would have to disclose the amount of business income apportioned to the state, for instance, and the amount of property tax replacement liability. Even companies not required to file an Illinois tax return would need to file a separate statement with financial information such as the total sales receipts from purchasers in the state.
The chief operating officer of every company would be required to attest in writing to the accuracy of the information. A late fee of $100 per day would be imposed, as well as other financial penalties for noncompliance. The information would be available to anyone, including competitors.
That worries the business community, for good reason. Under federal law, public companies disclose tax data in mandatory filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, including aggregated state and local taxes. Every company operates under the same disclosure rules.
Illinois would be putting demands on businesses that are beyond the requirements of most other states, where corporate tax returns are confidential.