Illinois’ economy has always been dominated by metro Chicago, of course, and lately the Windy City economy has been living something like The Tale of Two Cities: It’s the best of times to backers who believe Chicago has a great chance of landing Amazon’s “HQ2,” but it’s the worst of times for those who think the state is becoming an economic anchor because of its dire fiscal situation, crumbling under the demands of its big city.
There’s no arguing with most unpleasant facts that once again added up in CEOs’ minds to place the Prairie State at a woeful No. 48 in the 2018 Chief Executive “Best States / Worst States for Business,” a spot that Illinois has occupied for about a decade straight.
Chicago has by far more underwater homeowners than any other city. Illinois is the worst-rated state in the municipal bond market because it has a debt load of more than $30 billion, crushing public-pension burdens, a load of unpaid bills, and an unapologetic governing establishment.
“We should live within our means, and raising taxes just chases more companies out of the state.” – David Macneil, weathertech
Liberals are working to make sure Democratic candidate Jay Pritzker defeats incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner this fall, in part so they can replace the state’s flat income tax with a progressive one that, critics say, would only chase more wealthy taxpayers away. Illinois already has one of the nation’s largest out-migrations of people each year.
“You can’t spend money you don’t have,” said David MacNeil, owner of WeatherTech, a maker of customized automotive floor mats based in suburban Chicago. “We should live within our means, and raising taxes just chases more companies out of the state. Loser taxes attract more residents and attract more companies and are the bet way to invigorate the economy. There’s no such thing as taxing a society into prosperity.”
Like many CEOs in the state, MacNeil also would like to see Illinois undertake tort and worker’s-compensation reforms, among others.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin is adding insult to injury by advertising in downtown Chicago for capable millennials to work in a business-friendly state that has the huge Foxconn plant coming just north of the border.
The complete listing for the Best and Worst States for Business can be found here.