Editorial: Governors make pitch for Illinois jobs

Staff Writer
Washington Times-Reporter

The issue  Out-of-state governors have been lobbying for Illinois businesses after the recent tax hike.

What we think Their gesture may be out of place, but residents have been fleeing Illinois before the tax increase.

Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie became the latest out-of-state elected official to run ads and lobby for Illinois businesses to move to their respective states.

Following the substantial increase in the Illinois income and corporate tax rates, these officials have been trying to lure businesses out of Illinois. 

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have joined Christie to make the case for why Illinois businesses should relocate.

After weeks of hearing the comments and seeing the ads, Quinn fired back at Christie, saying “we don't need some guy from Jersey to tell us how to do things in the Land of Lincoln.”

Quinn is obviously sore from all the lobbying for Illinois jobs from his counterparts. However, he can take comfort in knowing  that it doesn’t take ad campaigns and speeches to draw residents from Illinois.

Research from the Illinois Policy Institute shows that more than 1.22 million residents moved from Illinois between 1991 and 2009, well before the 66 percent increase in the state’s income tax. 

The study also showed that those fleeing Illinois overwhelmingly went to Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin. So while governors like Christie, Daniels and Walker have been openly inviting Illinois businesses to move, the exodus has been quietly ongoing for two decades.

All of those residents were on the move long before the House Democrats passed the enormous tax increase. Unless Quinn does something drastic to make Illinois more competitive for businesses and residents alike, Illinois can expect to keep hemorrhaging residents to states that are more tax-friendly.

While it may be ethically questionable for governors to openly lobby for businesses to move to their state, Illinois’s history shows that those measures are unnecessary. All the newest tax hikes will do give more residents motivation to ditch the Land of Lincoln.

Instead of calling out opposing governors, Quinn should be taking notes on what they’re doing to keep the (former) Illinois residents so happy.