Ill. Fights States' Efforts To Woo Its Businesses
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
CHERYL CORLEY: Unidentified Man: Have you had enough of Illinois' outrageous tax increases that stifle businesses and cost jobs? Then move your business to New Jersey.
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CHRIS CHRISTIE: Hi, I'm Chris Christie...
CORLEY: Warren Ribley heads Illinois' Commerce Department. He says that revenue helps provide money to a state with huge budget problems, and he argues that it won't scare businesses away.
WARREN RIBLEY: In fact, the day after the income tax took effect, we got - I got a personal call from one of the largest employers in Southern Illinois saying they'd decided to move forward with a major investment that's going to create nearly 450 new jobs.
CORLEY: Mitch Roob is the CEO of Indiana's Economic Development Corporation.
MITCH ROOB: The message that we try to send repeatedly in Indiana is that we have a balanced budget, we have a fully funded pension and we have a Triple-A credit rating. So we will not have to raise your taxes to carry out the functions of government.
CORLEY: Catalyst Exhibits is located in Crystal Lake, Illinois, about 25 miles south of the Wisconsin border. In the assembly room this day, workers are building platforms for a trade show. President Tim Roberts says Wisconsin offered a deal that it couldn't refuse, and the company will soon relocate to a Wisconsin facility closer to an interstate highway.
TIM ROBERTS: At the time the income tax hike came down, we were getting all the ducks in a row, okay, trying to do an apples-to-apples comparison, and that was literally the straw that did break the camel's back.
CORLEY: Doug Whitley heads Illinois' Chamber of Commerce. He says even though the Illinois tax hike was a bad signal for business, he calls the rhetoric from surrounding states political theater. He says it's time for Midwest states to work together as a region.
DOUG WHITLEY: The message that the governors want to portray is one that they are sensitive to the need to create jobs. I just think it's unfortunate they think that the best way to create jobs is to try to poach the neighbor's employers.
CORLEY: Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago.
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