But it was less than two years ago when Wasson sought a series of tax breaks from Illinois, notching $46 million in corporate income-tax credits over 10 years in exchange for a pledge to create 500 jobs and invest in upgrading its offices; Illinois also threw in $625,000 in training money and $875,000 in other tax incentives.
“We are proud of our Illinois heritage,” Wasson told The New York Times. “Just as our stores and pharmacies are health and daily-living anchors for the communities we serve, we as a company are now re-committed to serving as an economic anchor for northeastern Illinois.”
Not surprisingly, some groups are affronted, including a union-financed advocacy group called Change to Win Retail Initiatives. The executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, a grass-roots group, also objected.
It would be “unfair and deeply unpatriotic if [Walgreens] moves offshore while continuing to make its money here, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab for its tax avoidance,” executive director Frank Clemente told The New York Times.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is already attempting legislatively to curtail inversion. Whether his outrage is joined by other politicians and rank-and-file consumers and employees remains to be seen. In the meantime, CEOs should consider the needs of all constituents before making such a decision.