Chicago’s loss is Stamford’s gain

“What! We’re giving Oprah a tax credit?” exclaimed members of the Illinois House in reaction to an amendment to renew the Illinois filmmakers tax credit AND to include talk shows was introduced in the Senate.

Now exactly one year later, that statement has come back to bite them in the buttsky, as NBC Universal whisks its nationally-syndicated Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos talk shows to Connecticut this summer.

No one knew about the move in advance, including Jerry Springer. He liked living in Chicago and wasn’t happy when the decision to move was sprung on him.

Still, rumors had been circulating about the show moving to Florida after last year’s disaster that provoked NBC Universal’s decision to root the shows in friendlier climes.

An overjoyed Gov. Jodi Rell of Connecticut said the shows would bring 150 to 200 jobs to the state and an initial infrastructure investment of more than $3 million.

The shows will move in July into a new production facility being built in Stamford, Connecticut. The state not only provides a 30% tax credit, but also gives a 20% tax credit on infrastructure costs after the first $1 million spent.

To put it another way, Illinois will lose 150 to 200 badly needed jobs.

There are other losses, too, such as show-generated revenues that trickle down 2.5 times into the general economy, through expenditures like limos hired to pick up guests, the hotels they stay in, the meals they eat and tourist dollars spent.

And the income that ceases for Pixel Brothers, after producing field shoots for the Springer show for 10 of its 17 years in Chicago. (See accompanying story below.)