Sen. Tracy holds out hope that Scott County can salvage deal to keep Marquis Energy ethanol plant
State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) still has not given up on the idea of Scott County landing the $500 million ethanol plant it was promised before Springfield policymakers essentially soured the deal.
“It would be such a great economic investment for the region,” Tracy told the West Central Reporter of the Marquis Energy plant that was slated to be built near Bluffs before company officials cited “state legislation” in pulling the plug on the project. “It was brought to my attention and I’ve reached out to community leaders and met with lawmakers to see if there is some way we can intervene.”
Tracy said part of her making the case to Marquis has to include admitting that she can see how the company came to its decision.
“They’ve expressed a multitude of reasons for pulling out, like the recent state minimum wage hike, some of the economic policy and the overall direction the state is taking in terms of regulations, taxes on businesses and the proposed progressive tax,” she said. “All of those things were key factors.”
In formally making its announcement, Marquis, which already operates facilities in Illinois and Wisconsin that produce more than 500 million gallons of ethanol annually, directly pointed to Senate Bill 1407.
“Illinois government’s anti-business and high tax policies will require us to pursue company expansions in surrounding states,” CEO Mark Marquis said in a statement. “SB 1407 is an example of legislation that will negatively impact our company’s expansion plans — removing our company’s choice in construction contractors we hire and the agreed upon price between the two parties, reducing competition and inflating costs,”
Tracy said her plan for salvaging the deal centers on an all-inclusive approach.
“I’ll be reminding Marquis of everything Scott County has to offer, including a great workforce,” she said. “We’ll also get the government involved and hope talking to them will be a learning experience in terms of what downstate areas and businesses are looking for.”