U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., is airing his first television ad of the campaign season, criticizing his Republican opponent for pledging to uphold a tax break for companies that send American jobs overseas.

The 30-second spot, scheduled to begin today, is running only in the Quad-Cities.

The new TV ad comes in an increasingly bitter contest between Hare and Republican Bobby Schilling, a businessman from Colona.

Tim Schlittner, a Hare spokesman, said Tuesday the ad is a contrast between a congressman fighting for jobs in the region and his opponent, who “supports tax breaks that send jobs overseas.”

Schilling’s campaign manager called the ad a sign the Republican is making headway in a heavily Democratic district.

At issue is a proposed South Korea trade deal and U.S. tax provisions that allows multinational corporations to reduce their tax burden by the amount of tax they pay to foreign countries where they operate.

Backers say the credit prevents them from paying taxes twice on the same income, but critics say it encourages sending work offshore by allowing them a tax shelter.

“What we've seen is there have been a lot of companies that have used it to get out of paying taxes in both places,” Schlittner said.

Hare has opposed the South Korea trade deal, complaining it puts up unfair barriers to American products, particularly automobiles.

But Schilling, who backs the South Korea deal, said trade is vital to the area’s economy.

Terry Schilling, his father’s campaign manager, said foreign trade is what is helping to boost companies such as Caterpillar in this economic downturn.

“We know we have to keep jobs here, but we also know we have to keep trade flowing and going or we’ll lose our jobs here,” Schilling said.

He said it’s “totally false” to suggest Schilling supports sending jobs overseas.

The new ad is the first Hare has run since 2006 when he was first elected. He didn’t have an opponent two years ago.

The new ad buy was placed last week.

Schilling’s campaign said it’s a sign Hare is “scared,” but Schlittner said the Hare camp’s plan had been to be up on the air as long as possible and that it would be advertising through the election, Nov. 2.