Portillo’s to forgo tax incentives in New Lenox
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com April 18, 2012 9:52PM
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:48AM
The owner of the Portillo Restaurant Group has agreed to forgo tax incentives in New Lenox, where he plans to open a new Portillo’s in September.
Mayor Tim Baldermann said he was “shocked” to get a call Wednesday from Dick Portillo saying he would build without the benefit of a 50 percent reduction in the village portion of sales tax for 7.5 years, an incentive that originally convinced Portillo to come to New Lenox, according to a village-issued news release.
“He said, ‘Keep it and give it to the community,’ ” Baldermann said.
The mayor said the estimated $60,000 per year would be used for a larger property tax rebate to residents. The village rebates about half of its share of property tax bills to residents.
“I hope they use the money to buy a hot dog,” Baldermann said.
The reduction in sales taxes for Portillo’s would have applied only to the home-rule portion of the tax, which is 1 percent.
Baldermann said there was no public outcry regarding the sales tax break for Portillo’s, which similarly was offered to other businesses such as Target and Wal-Mart.
He said he had no complaints from residents and only one call from a restaurant owner who wondered why he didn’t get such a reduction. That restaurant is in a strip mall on Laraway Road where the developer did get an incentive, the mayor said.
Offering the tax break to Portillo’s in the first place was a “good business decision,” Baldermann said. “Portillo’s would not have come here without it.”
He said he was “amazed” at Portillo’s “generosity.”
During a recent village board meeting, Portillo admitted he did not know where New Lenox was, but said he was getting lots of emails from residents asking to open there. After working with the mayor and the building department, he was impressed with the way the village does business.