"Taxpayers will get their money back," said Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, who said he would support expanding the tax credit if it is successful. "We're getting money that we otherwise wouldn't get at all. It's outside money. It's why you should do it, because we get more back than we put in."
Some critics, though, find it unwise for Illinois to be giving away any type of tax break while in a financial mess. Ralph Martire, executive director of the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, said Illinois shouldn't be contemplating tax credits when it has billions of dollars in debt.
"Every penny you use for poor theater decisions is a penny you can't use to educate an inner-city child," he said. "I know it's a relatively small amount of money, but it's absolutely unjust for state government to be kicking that money in that industry this year."
Raizin, with Broadway in Chicago, said the tax credit's impact goes beyond a monetary figure.
"When word starts to really spread nationally and internationally about the great city we have, that's where the huge value is," he said.
Luftig said he's already told his fellow Broadway producers about his "positive experience" in Chicago.
"New York is looking," he said.
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