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Our view: Not giving up on Illinois

You can’t blame Gov. Pat Quinn for using a few flippant remarks to dismiss this week’s two-day jobs-raiding foray into Illinois by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, called Perry nothing but a “big talker” from a state that is “water challenged.”

Perry plans to spend today and Wednesday in Chicago to meet with business leaders in the biotechnology and financial industries. Perry also will speak at the BIO International Convention.

The Texas governor, a Republican, said he has visited other Democratic states in the past. He said he wants to “spur competition between states and recruit jobs and employees to Texas.”

Perry didn’t throw in a “Don’t mess with Texas” anywhere in his statement, but his swagger fits the slogan.

Illinois has developed an unfortunate reputation as being unfriendly toward business. Perry isn’t the first governor from another state to try to entice Illinois companies to pick up stakes and move.

Governors from Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey have made overtures toward Illinois businesses that might be unhappy with the business climate here. Unknown is whether their entreaties are designed merely for short-term political advantage.

Illinois business owners have legitimate gripes. Quinn and the Legislature raised income taxes and corporate taxes two years ago. The state’s workers’ compensation costs are high. Soaring public pension obligations threaten the state’s financial future. If your business does business with the state of Illinois, you won’t be reimbursed for months.

Perry can boast a lower jobless rate in his state (6.4 percent) compared with Illinois (9.5 percent).

Yes, Perry and other out-of-staters believe Illinois is an easy target.

But those of us who live in Illinois know the state has plenty of positives in manufacturing, agriculture, energy, transportation, research and more.

We certainly would like the economy to be better and our state government to fix our many fiscal issues, but staying put to work things out is a wiser strategy than jumping ship.

That Gov. Quinn and the Legislature must do more to improve the state’s business climate is a given. Get to work, ladies and gentlemen.

Yes, Illinois has its problems and the vultures are circling. However, people in Illinois have not given up. We still believe in this state, and we believe it can be a great place to live and do business.


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