Hot Air Blowing in From the West…Along With More Jobs

You’ve got to hand it to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. In April, the first term Republican generated headlines and raised the ire of Hoosiers when he vowed to “rip the economic guts” out of Indiana. Rauner’s rant was prompted by high profile efforts by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to lure companies from The Land of Lincoln with advertising campaigns including "Illinoyed" and Stillinoyed."

So far this year, 7 Illinois companies have decided to move to or invest in Indiana, representing combined commitments of nearly 1,000 jobs. Expect more corporate defections in the coming weeks. The latest, Bedford Park, IL-based Hoist Liftruck Mfg., Inc. said “Illinois couldn’t compete,” as it announced plans to add 500 jobs and expand a majority of the company’s operations to a vacant industrial site in East Chicago.

While Rauner’s April threat was little more than hot air, at least he showed some semblance of a backbone in trying to stop the flow of business out of Illinois. He has also proposed an economic turnaround plan that includes significant workers’ compensation reform.

The fact is, Illinois companies are burdened by onerous tax and labor laws and worker’s compensation rates among the highest in the nation.  In an April Chicago Tribune piece on Illinois manufacturers fleeing for neighboring states like Indiana and Wisconsin, veteran Illinois Statehouse reporter Scott Reeder noted, “Illinois factory jobs are vanishing faster than emails on Hillary Clinton's computer.”

For our neighbors to the west, it’s going to take a lot more than cheap talk to turn things around.

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