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Survey: Illinois third worst state for business

September 21, 2011

By Benjamin Yount
Illinois Statehouse News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A new survey backs up the belief that Illinois is not a business-friendly state.

Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based marketing firm, released a survey Sept. 19 of 322 company executives who ranked the 50 states as either good or bad for business.

Illinois ranked as the third worst state in the country, behind California and New York, in bad business climates.

The executives, who participated in the survey, said the bottom three states earned their rankings because of “taxes” and “too much regulation.”

But Illinois also earned a low ranking because of its “fiscal problems and budget deficits,” according to the survey

Mark Denzler, vice president for the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA), which lobbies for hundreds of manufacturers statewide, said it should come as no surprise that Illinois’ government problems are becoming a business problem.

Companies want stability and predictability,” said Denzler. “They understand that in some states maybe the tax burden may be a little higher in one state than another, or that workers’ compensation costs may be a bit lower. But they want stability and predictability.”

Denzler said Illinois has not had much of either over the past eight years.

However, he is quick to say that few state government-created problems exist in the top-ranked states. Texas ranked No. 1, followed by North Carolina at No. 2 and South Carolina at No. 3.

State Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, said Illinois has earned its bad-for-business reputation, referring to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s proposed gross receipts tax, and the personal and corporate income tax increases signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in January as proof.

Illinois business groups, including IMA, and a number of Harris’ fellow Republicans, said the tax tactics of Democrats have created an environment that is not conducive for business.

But, he adds that Illinois is not permanently relegated to the bottom.

Illinois has great resources,” Harris said. “We have great and talented people. We have natural resources. We have a transportation network that is the equal of any state in the nation.”

Harris said Chicago, with its access to Lake Michigan as well as the city’s rail, air and interstate hubs, are evidence of what Illinois has to offer.

But Harris said the state’s policies have put Illinois into a “terrible situation.”

Kelly Jakubek, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said Illinois is not that terrible.

Site Selection magazine ranked Chicago the No. 1 metro area and Illinois the No. 8 state for corporate facility expansions in 2010,” said Jakubek. “Illinois was also named one of 10 ‘business friendly’ states that are gaining businesses by U.S. News & World Report.”

Denzler said Illinois is starting to turn the corner.

I think (state leaders) have begun to realize it,” Denzler said. “I think that you’ve seen a (Democratic) governor and a (Democratic-led) Legislature … work to impose some new reforms of workers’ compensation, that are going to save money, that you would not have seen from (Democratic) leaders five years ago.”

One Comment

  1. John

    September 22, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Leave it to the Quinn administration to sugar-coat the problem! It has been said that Pat Quinn always thinks he is the smartest guy in the room…what a fool! This state is sinking fast and Quinn’s too dumb to see it.

    The truth is that we are worse off here than in most of the country, and things are getting even worse by the day. Almost everyday, I pick up the Tribune and read about another company shutting down and heading to Indiana or Wisconsin.

    Let’s look at a few facts;

    “Bad for business” means JOB LOSSES! Businesses hire people, and fire them when they pack up and leave. A number of companies have done just that.

    Conventions are avoiding Chicago because of the ridiculus costs…more job losses. This isn’t even including the “highest in the nation” taxes visitors are stuck with in Chicago.

    The few companies Quinn has managed to “bribe” into staying will come back to haunt us…look for that cost in a future tax bill.

    Olin down in Alton is slowly bleeding off it’s Illinois workforce and moving the operations to Mississippi.

    Quinn’s last tax increase did not solve this states problems, so Quinn is back with his borrowing schemes to put us even further into debt.

    Quinn is the most wasteful and abusive Governor ever, appointing his friends and allies to useless, but high-paying boards and commissions that suck the life out of taxpayers.

    And then there’s people like me. People who can’t wait to sell their homes and get the hell out of this cesspool.

    And finally, Quinn has people like Kelly Jakubek babbling on about how Chicago is the #1 Metro area for corporate expansion in 2010. Seriously? Does anyone really believe this nonsense.

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