Illinois at a self-imposed competitive disadvantage

2013-02-10T07:00:00Z Illinois at a self-imposed competitive disadvantageBY WILLIAM ATKINSON, SPECIAL TO THE SOUTHERN The Southern

Illinois is struggling.

Each year, CNBC ranks the 50 states based on a number of economic factors. These were the 2012 rankings of Illinois and adjoining states in the category of the strength of the state economy: Iowa (No. 3), Indiana (11), Missouri (29), Wisconsin (34), Kentucky (38) and Illinois (45).

The Atlantic Magazine also ranks states in a “Best and Worst Performing” list. In 2012, Illinois ranked 43rd.

In explaining its ranking, the magazine noted, “Illinois finds itself with such a low ranking in part due to its high unemployment (10.1 percent) and in part due to its high debt per capita ($9,613). The state also suffers from poor fiscal governance, and received a credit rating of A+, the second worst S&P rating granted to all of the states.” (S&P has four credit ratings higher than A+. These are AAA, AA+, AA, and AA-.)

Another publication, 24/7 Wall Street, also ranks “The Best and the Worst Run States in America.” In 2012, Illinois ranked 48th, with a 40.2 percent budget deficit (the second highest of any state in the nation).

Recent articles have highlighted the dire financial straits of the state. Interestingly, most of the people interviewed for these articles seem to focus on two solutions: cutting expenses by cutting services and/or raising taxes.

Very few point to the real solutions: Increasing tax revenue by attracting new business to the state and providing a business-friendly environment for existing businesses to grow.

Keys to a strong economy

No matter the size of the economy, the only way for it to grow is by bringing in more money than it sends out, and that is achieved primarily by shipping more products out than it brings in. The keys here are vibrant manufacturing, mining and/or agricultural sectors.

People seem thrilled when new retail outlets open in their community, thinking it brings in money and improves the economy.

Actually, retailing has the opposite effect.

A strong retail sector is a result of — not a cause of — a strong economy. Retail operates by bringing goods into a region, and then sending the majority of the money earned from sales back to the manufacturers. Indeed, a portion of the money remains in the community in the form of low wages and taxes to local governments. However, if a local economy goes south, retailers have to close their doors, because there is no more money available to send back to the manufacturers.

Manufacturing, mining and agriculture have the opposite effect.

A community with a strong manufacturing, mining or agriculture base has a vibrant economy. The reason is that employees in these industries — who often earn high wages — create, mine, grow and process products that are shipped to other regions, states and countries. In return, money comes pouring back into that community.

Problems in Illinois

Governments survive on taxes.

Bringing in a lot of taxes can provide a lot of services, which can keep a lot of people employed. However, if tax revenue decreases, then local, regional and state governments must cut back on services and, eventually, personnel.

While about half of Illinois’ tax revenue comes from sales taxes, motor fuel taxes and excise taxes, the other half comes from corporate income taxes and individual income taxes (most of which is paid by people who are employed in business or government jobs). Thus, if a government wants a healthy source of tax revenue, it needs to make it as easy as possible for existing businesses to grow and export and make it as attractive as possible for new businesses to set up.

Some state governors and legislatures have known this for decades and have worked continuously to promote business growth. Illinois is not one of those states. In fact, many Illinois politicians spend an inordinate amount of time, effort and money to make it as difficult as possible to attract and retain business, with high business tax rates, high workers compensation tax rates, etc.

For example, while the top state corporate income tax rate is 6 percent in Kentucky, 6.25 percent in Missouri, 7.9 percent in Wisconsin and 8.5 percent in Indiana, it is 9.5 percent in Illinois. Iowa is higher with 12 percent.

Things are just as bad when it comes to workers compensation rates.

In a ranking of states, with 50 being the lowest (most desirable) rate, and 1 being the highest (least desirable) rate, Indiana is 50, Missouri is 36, Iowa is 25, Kentucky is 22 and Wisconsin is 12. Illinois is 4.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, a non-partisan research group focused on free market principles, the National Establishment Time-Series, a database of Illinois businesses, found that between 1995 and 2009, Illinois ranked 48th in the country in generating jobs from the creation of new businesses. In addition, Illinois ranked 50th in total job creation, being one of only six states to lose jobs between 1995 and 2009.

This tough business climate will make it difficult to take advantage of an emerging global middle class, described by Joel Leonard, former vice president of the Association of Facilities Engineers; chairman of the Workforce Advisory Committee of the National Defense Industrial Association; and founder and president of Leonard also devotes time to teaching engineering and technical classes to employees in companies worldwide.

“It's to the point now where the American Dream has become the International Dream. The global middle class is expected to become a $5.1 trillion market, so there will be a lot more people with disposable income willing and able to buy products that they never could afford before,” he said.

From the outside

During the past interviews, executives of national companies and consultants with national site selection consulting firms had very positive things to say about states such as Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. They were particularly impressed with Indiana’s recent strong economic growth, which is largely a result of its pro-business state government.

Ed Schreyer, executive managing director, Brokerage Americas, for CB Richard Ellis (Dallas), one of the nation’s most respected site selection consulting firms, noted that, “During the downturn, a lot of companies consolidated their operations as a way to improve economies of scale and reduce their real estate costs.”

For example, a company might have four facilities, close three of them and combine everything at the fourth location. The result: One winner and three losers.

“In a lot of cases, the winners ended up in the Midwest, based, of course, on the geography that is so important for the hub and spoke strategy,” Schreyer said.

More specifically, certain cities in the Midwest are seeing significantly more growth, according to Schreyer. One of these is Indianapolis. In fact, he said, this city survived the downturn much better than most.

“One reason Indiana is attractive is that we are in a good fiscal position,” David W. Holt, vice president, operations & business development, and chair of the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council, said. “Our governor has really focused on making sure we are financially stable, in addition to being a low tax state.”

Tim Feemster, senior managing director for Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (Dallas), another site selection consulting firm, agreed with Schreyer on the growth of businesses in the Upper Midwest.

“There has been a lot of resurgence in the Rust Belt areas,” he said. “For example, Indiana has seen a lot of growth, especially since it expanded ‘right to work,’ which is a huge positive.”

Wisconsin has gone through some interesting politics, he said, but it doesn’t seem to have upset its business friendliness too much.

“It has been very business-oriented and worked hard to attract business,” he said.

However, when asked about Illinois, they all laughed — literally.

“Illinois has become relatively tax- and business-unfriendly,” Feemster said. “There are unintended consequences for the state’s decision to try to tax its way out of its problems. As a result, some companies have moved operations out of the state to Indiana and Wisconsin.”

Unfriendly state

According to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, manufacturing in the state employs about 575,000 workers directly, and the sector contributes 12.5 percent of the state’s gross domestic product, the single largest share of any sector in the state. But this is unlikely to increase unless some things change.

According to CNBC’s “Business Friendliness” rankings, Illinois is the least business-friendly state in its region, with Indiana at No. 5, Iowa at 10, Missouri at 25, Wisconsin at 27, Kentucky at 41 and Illinois at 46.

Each year, Site Selection Magazine (a publication aimed at corporate executives who are responsible for finding desirable locations to expand their businesses), lists the Top 25 states based on “Business Climate” rankings. Illinois is not on the 2012 list. However, four of five of our adjoining states are: Kentucky (11), Indiana (12), Wisconsin (13), and Iowa (25).

Forbes also ranks “The Best States for Business.” In 2012, rankings for “Business Costs” were Iowa (8), Kentucky (9), Indiana (11), Missouri (21), Wisconsin (35) and Illinois (36).

These rankings show that if a company were looking to expand in the Midwest, it would have little reason to consider Illinois. And, of equal concern, there are plenty of incentives for companies already in Illinois to move or expand elsewhere.

In March 2011, after Illinois’s decision to raise its corporate tax rate, Caterpillar Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman said he was considering moving the company’s corporate headquarters to another state. He did not.

Still, though, Caterpillar continues to grow, and it continues to open new manufacturing facilities. In 2012, Caterpillar opened a $200 million hydraulic excavator facility — in Texas. That same year, it announced plans to open yet another plant that will employ 1,400 workers — in Georgia.

Illinois’ poor business climate is holding it back. The state’s finances are among the worst in the nation, and the only thing that will solve the problem is the growth of business.

The bottom line is simple: Until Illinois’ politicians work to make the state attractive for new and existing businesses, this problem will remain.

Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(30) Comments

  1. Ishmael
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    Ishmael - February 14, 2013 7:15 pm
    "Thirty years later, everyone else in his family is exactly at the same economic level they started. You cannot deny this cultural flaw exists once you have seen it at work." - Gillsburgher

    No, you cannot deny this FAMILIES flaw exists. Assigning characteristics to an entire CULTURE based on the action of one FAMILY is the epitome of racism ... as is calling them "dumb as dirt" and referring to their culture as "raisin culture."
  2. Gillsburgher
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    Gillsburgher - February 14, 2013 6:51 pm
    Yes, really. The stats prove it. Individuals prove it. One fellow from California who worked for me, whose parents are from Mexico, made it very clear that he was berated because he decided to go to college, the first and only in his family to do so. "Why are you going to college? You can get a good job in construction or at the warehouse." Thirty years later, everyone else in his family is exactly at the same economic level they started. You cannot deny this cultural flaw exists once you have seen it at work.
  3. Ishmael
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    Ishmael - February 12, 2013 6:18 pm
    "Yes, part of California's problem is demographic, in that over half the students are Mexicans, and often belong to the raisins culture that is so common there." - Gillsburgher

    ... really?
  4. Gillsburgher
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    Gillsburgher - February 12, 2013 3:50 pm
    There are plenty of biased rankings out there. The most objective puts Massachusetts at the #1 spot, as it deserves. Texas is not "way behind" by any stretch of the imagination. It is in the middle third, while California at #49, is just ahead of Mississippi. I don't know if Jendal is doing something right by having Louisiana overtake California, or California just continues to do everything wrong.
    In the 1950's, California was #1, only one more slot to drop. Illinois is in the upper middle to top third, but it is highly biased upwards by the suburban Cook and DuPage schools, which can be quite good. For some reason, the 40% drop out rate in the City of Chicago does not pull down the state as much as one would think. That is a 40% drop out rate in spite of the city spending over $21,000 per student per year.

    Texas has a wide spread in school quality. The inner cities and border areas are not good, as one might expect. The suburbs are excellent. The schools in suburban Collin Co. Texas (Plano, Allen, McKinney) are almost all better than any in Illinois south of Springfield.

    Yes, California is doing some interesting things, like driving out jobs and accepting ever worse schools each year. I personally know districts that were good 25 years ago, but today, there is no way I would allow a child of mine to attend.

    Only California's most expensive areas, Irvine, Los Gatos, etc., have very good schools. But your upper middle class 4,000 ft2 house on a quarter acre in one of those places will set you back $2.5M or more. The vast majority of California schools are atrocious. Go talk to an average recent high school graduate from California. They are dumb as dirt. Yes, part of California's problem is demographic, in that over half the students are Mexicans, and often belong to the raisins culture that is so common there. By the way, the only way to turn California around is for the state to massively drill for oil, because it is actively driving out other employers.. When was the last time you heard a company relocating TO California?

  5. WTF
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    WTF - February 12, 2013 7:03 am
    While I agree Illinois has problems, most of which can be directly traced back to poor political leadership, there are bright spots in our economy.

    This just shows it is possible.

  6. OLD JOE
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    OLD JOE - February 11, 2013 3:24 pm

    By contrast, Illinois has dropped 40 places in the last five years, and is now in a death spiral. Bonds ranking is 49th only ahead of California.
  7. WTF
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    WTF - February 11, 2013 7:15 am
    I have a few questions Mr. Atkinson.

    1. Why do you only address manufacturing, mining, and agriculture? What about the knowledge based economy? Just last week a newspaper article cited a city in Illinois (Bloomington) as being the number 2 city for new jobs in the entire country. While a few of those jobs were in manufacturing and agriculture the vast majority were in the computer and health care related fields. If a city in Illinois can lead the nation in hiriing based on these skills shouldn't that be the model to follow?

    2. I would like a comprehensive definition of what Mr. Atkinson deems business friendly. Does the term "business friendly" mean that Illinois should become a right to work state? Does it mean lower worker wages? Is the term "business friendly" just another way of saying you want to weaken unions and worker rights? If so How does this benefit the middle class?
  8. MMike
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    MMike - February 11, 2013 6:03 am
    Texas has oil money and yet they are way behind us in educational attainment. Iowa, with its 12 percent tax rate, is doing pretty good. It is not simple to figure out where the answer is. Clearly the Illinois Democrat and Republican Parties have long histories of corruption. Rudy Giuliani did great things for NYC years ago. Jerry Brown in California is doing some very interesting things and may be turning that state around. We can't really begin to find the combination of approaches, be they left, right or centrist, that will work here with the level of corruption we have.

    The real division in society is not between liberal and conservative citizens, though we have our differences, it is between those who abuse their power and the rest of us.
  9. MickeeD
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    MickeeD - February 10, 2013 9:38 pm
    Who? Dee Jay and Ishmael?
  10. Ishmael
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    Ishmael - February 10, 2013 9:18 pm
    Calling truths and proven facts "insults and false allegations" says everything anyone needs to know about you.
  11. DeeJay
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    DeeJay - February 10, 2013 7:24 pm
    You're correct. My son & daughter-in-law recently purchased a beautiful new home in Jackson, MO and their real estate taxes are less than half what mine are.
  12. bluegill
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    bluegill - February 10, 2013 6:46 pm
    @DJ and Ishmael: Ish, I think it's lucky for you that you and DJ aren't in the third grade anymore or he'd have you with the "I'm Rubber, You're Glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you" counter attack. DJ, I always like your hissy fits, thanks.
  13. mbhancock71
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    mbhancock71 - February 10, 2013 5:51 pm
    the local politicians all the way to the state capitol need lessons on balancing a check book. once they figure that out everything there forward should be monitored.
  14. mbhancock71
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    mbhancock71 - February 10, 2013 5:46 pm
    you said it all....:)
  15. DeeJay
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    DeeJay - February 10, 2013 5:41 pm
    Your constant insults and false accusations directed toward me say everything about you and nothing about me.
  16. Ishmael
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    Ishmael - February 10, 2013 4:57 pm
    "It's not Harry Truman's Democratic party." - DeeJay / EffKbz / Buddha / Gunslinger

    Stereotyping every member of the Democratic party is as bigoted as what Liberal Lou does to conservatives and what bluegill does to religious folk on these boards. You judge them and fail to see yourself doing the same.

    "Last week a high-profile American writer and news personality asked me a painful question: “Hey pastor, can a Christian tweet hate?”

    It was not a hypothetical question. He was asking because some of his 1.3 million Twitter followers claim to be “Christian,” and some of the meanest, most perverse hate-tweets he receives come from these self-proclaimed Christians.

    We’ve all seen folks, Christian and otherwise, lose their cool in a Facebook face-off or in the comment section under a controversial news story. But as I scrolled through the “Christian” hate tweets to this news personality, I was baffled and ashamed by these so-called followers of Christ. One user describes himself not merely as Christian but as “sharing God’s message of Grace with everyone I encounter.” The messenger of Grace recently tweeted that he doesn’t merely hate this news personality, he despises and loathes him.

    These are the moments when it’s embarrassing to be a Christian. I’m not embarrassed to believe the extravagant claims of Christianity: that Christ was born to a virgin, died for our sins, physically rose from the grave and is returning to rule the world. But I am embarrassed to be associated with some of the people who claim his name.

    I have written in the past about the bad reputation that Christians have in America. Some argue that it comes from misrepresentation by the media. Others argue that “all who live godly will suffer persecution,” and that’s why we Christians have a poor reputation. Maybe there’s some truth to those claims, but we Christians have to acknowledge another reason why we are perceived as hateful: because many of our number are.

    More and more, I see hateful Christians chalking up their disrepute to “persecution.” God tells us otherwise. In 1 Peter 4 we’re told, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed. …” And that’s the truth; sometimes we are insulted for proclaiming the good news of salvation in Christ. But listen to what follows: “If you suffer, however, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.”

    The Apostle Peter is more or less saying: If you suffer for sharing the good news of Christ, great, you’re blessed. But if you suffer just because you’re being a criminal or acting like an idiot, then don’t blame it on Christ.

    Some 2,000 years ago, Peter knew so-called Christians would be criminals and “meddlers.” He knew some would claim, “Wow, I’m really suffering for Jesus,” when they are really just suffering for being jerks.

    The word “meddler” means busybody: someone who inserts himself into matters that are not his own. Might this include some people involved in the Twitter, Facebook and “comments” showdowns of our day?

    So yes, “all who live godly will suffer persecution.” But let’s not be jerks, get persecuted and then blame it on Christ. American Christianity, with its past position of cultural superiority, gave birth to some self-righteous and condescending so-called Christians. These folks may be culturally Christian, but they know little of Christ and his actual message of humility and repentance. I am convinced that, if Jesus Christ were here walking among us, he would have nothing to do with those who claim his name and consistently spew hate.

    Theologians and academics will argue about that last sentence. Isn’t Jesus “a friend of sinners?” Yes. Doesn’t Jesus’ grace wash away the sins of those who trust in him? Yes. Wouldn’t that include the sin of "hate tweet"? Yes.

    In seminaries and churches, we tend to engage in obscure questions about theology. For example, “Is it possible for someone to truly trust Christ and spend their entire life tweeting hate?”

    Maybe so. But Jesus didn’t engage in such esoteric abstractions. He taught simple truth with clarity, authority and practicality. On controversial issues—“Are hate tweeters true Christians?”—I find myself drawn to the simple words of Scripture. Theologians will argue and debate, but God’s word is simple and clear.

    “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” (1 John 2:9,11)

    “With the tongue we praise our Lord and father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:9,10)

    “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)

    Jesus put it this way in Matthew 12:34-36: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

    If we will give account for every careless word spoken, might we also give account for every careless comment typed or tweeted?

    Christians aren’t the only ones hurling hateful blows on the Web. But we are the only ones who claim to follow the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. So let’s be nice."
  17. Ifedup2
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    Ifedup2 - February 10, 2013 4:46 pm
    We must stop enabling them.
  18. Ifedup2
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    Ifedup2 - February 10, 2013 4:43 pm
    The state of Illinois' leadership is similar to a drug addict, they have been told repeatedly that they have a problem but they are so high on their own inept policies that they refuse to see that those policies are killing the state. They keep believing that higher taxes will fix the lack of revenue problem. Such a policy would work if all who are currently paying taxes were forced to remain in the state and invest even more of what is left over into their business. Unfortunately, for Illinois, tax paying residents and businesses can move to greener pastures and they need not move far. We the people, in order to save our state, must perform an intervention. We must cut off those who are addicted to spending, its not their fault they have a sickness and we the people have the duty to prevent them from continuing down this path of destruction. We must inablinginablin
  19. DeeJay
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    DeeJay - February 10, 2013 4:04 pm
    I agree. I spent a part of yesterday listening to former Senator Howard Baker on C-Span. The former majority leader was interviewed by Richard Norton Smith at the Dole Public Policy Center. He talked about statesmanship and getting things done for the taxpayers. He reminded me that compromise is not a dirty word. (Sigh), maybe our nation will get back to that point someday.

    One can hope.

  20. boone76
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    boone76 - February 10, 2013 3:45 pm
    DeeJay...... I hear ya.

    "It's not Harry Truman's Democratic party. "

    To be Republican Party has forgotten all about Dwight Eisenhower and even Ronald Reagan. President Reagan and Berry Goldwater would be shunned by today's far right folks if they spoke their minds in today's political silly is that?
  21. ladybuggirl
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    ladybuggirl - February 10, 2013 2:44 pm
    Chicago should should become it's own state and let the rest of us have a chance at survival!
    A Governor's Mansion sits in Springfield and is not used because our Governor does not want to move or be in the capitol of OUR state (which is in the center of Illinois).
    They still have to maintain that Mansion which is a waste of money, maybe a small piece, but still a waste.
    There should be a federal investigation into the lack of leadership and why Illinois is in such bad shape.
    So many problems that will take years to be fixed; if it can ever be fixed!!
  22. DeeJay
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    DeeJay - February 10, 2013 12:05 pm
    Excellent comment responding to an outstanding article. I wish I could be optimistic about Illinois' future, but I cannot. Carl Das in particular really struck the nail on the head.

    Meanwhile, the Texas governor and legislature is figuring out what to do with the business-friendly state's large surplus. Their plans involve giving the taxpayers a rebate. I suppose those folks are politicians of the same stripe as Harry Truman who remembered where he came from and where he was returning to.

    It's not Harry Truman's Democratic party.
  23. Carl Das
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    Carl Das - February 10, 2013 11:16 am
    As a retired claims adjuster with 45 years experience I can tell you that Illinois is a hell hole when it comes to defending Workers Compensation, Auto Liability, and GeneralLiability Claims. Work Comp.benifits are the highest in the nation. Huge Work Comp. payments to the prision guards at Menard for locking the cell doors is a prime example. Injury awards are second only to Massachusetts and California. It got so bad that about 25 yaers ago Lewis Bakery in Anna,"Bunny Bread" , closed shop and moved to Indiana and Kentucky. Mr. Lewis wrote a letter to the editor of this paper explaining that the reason he left Anna was that the cost of doing business in Illinois was to high compared to other states. About 5 years ago Transcraft of Anna did the same thing and moved to Kentucky. There is no hope for Illinois.
  24. Oliver Cromwell
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    Oliver Cromwell - February 10, 2013 10:22 am
    It can be turned around with the right individual at the helm who really understands what it will take to attract investment . Taxes and regulations can be reduced, reformed and restructured to attract investment. Public budgets and departments can be eliminated, streamlined and restructured from dysfunctional to functional. A pause with current policy and then a comprehensive plan over two, five, ten year planing horizons with visibly set target changes in the future will pay multiples of new investment.

    You have to get the the economically illiterate out of the people 's government.
    Quinn nor Madigan or any other of their followers will not change to policies that work economically and Illinois will continue in this direction to bankruptcy until such time brain matter is voted in..
  25. Gillsburgher
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    Gillsburgher - February 10, 2013 9:49 am
    Is was only in the end that Mr. Atkinson addressed the fact that the competition is not just next door, but around the country, and the world. Many states have zero corporate and personal income taxes. Those are the states that are doing well. The governor of Texas is airing a radio commercial in California, to urge more California businesses to move to Texas. In what state do you think he will be airing that ad next?

    Taxes can be a huge part of doing business for any company. Those with interstate and international operations will play the apportionment game in order to accumulate profits in lower tax jurisdictions. Guess which states get the jobs?

    Personal income taxes on owners and executives also matter. Illinois nearly doubled its income tax rate, California increased it to almost 14.5%. These states are at the bottom. Texas has zero income tax, and several governors have set the goal of having zero state income tax for their states as well. Which states will be the winners and losers in this competition?
  26. OLD JOE
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    OLD JOE - February 10, 2013 8:35 am
    Mainman. I love your gift of word usage.
  27. Community Organizer
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    Community Organizer - February 10, 2013 8:27 am
    No business person would move his business to Illinois. It is corrupt and border line criminal in it's political leadership. It has a terminal tax, regulate (a tax) and spend death wish. It has work rules that drain away capital from business that could expand but won't because their earnings go to the corrupt state. This is a glide path to Detroit....a city, like the state of Illinois, that was run into the ground by decades of corrupt progressive liberal democrat rule. Just look at the pictures of bombed out Detroit for the future of Illinois.
  28. Hank
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    Hank - February 10, 2013 8:18 am
    Very powerful economic stats. We need real leadership to step up.
  29. mainman
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    mainman - February 10, 2013 7:54 am
    I've ordered the cliff notes for this article !

    Illinois suffers in my opinion because of the liberal union friendly money is no object environment that Cook County has imposed on the rest of the state !!

    We're broke !!!
  30. moses101
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    moses101 - February 10, 2013 7:43 am
    Well as long as the Chicago machine continues to turn out the Democratic anti-business spewing liberals then nothing is going to change in Illinois. The Democrats have allowed the far left to hijack the party. This is the group that thinks that all businesses are evil (except their businesses), that we need to save nature (but not the unborn), and tolerance of all beliefs (as long as yours agrees with theirs).
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