Illinois businesses fleeing to business-friendly Iowa, Rauner says
Illinois’ hostile economic climate is driving businesses to tax-friendly neighboring states like Iowa, Gov. Rauner said in a recent press conference.
Reform is the only way to keep small businesses here, he said.
“This is critically important,” Rauner said. “Whether we’re talking about an unbalanced budget or needing to properly fund our schools and our human services – which we absolutely have to do – these are not just sound bite for the media. This is not just a political fight. This is about people’s lives.”
Illinois had the weakest job growth in the region in 2016, and many of its border counties, like Rock Island, are losing business and manufacturing. The state has 144,000 fewer people working today than before the recession in 2007; Iowa saw an increase of 33,000 jobs since November 2007.
The biggest obstacle in Illinois is its high property taxes, which make it impossible to compete against its neighbors, Rauner said.
“That makes it unaffordable to compete here,” Rauner said. “That forces (businesses) to have higher prices to cover the high property taxes here. Customers can go across the border and have cheaper costs in large part because the property taxes are cheaper.”
Without small businesses, the state will not be able to fund its budget or vital human services.
“These guys are the tax base,” Rauner said. “These guys create the jobs and pay the taxes that support our government, our human services (and) our schools. If they can’t make it, (and) if they can’t compete because the environment here in Illinois is not attractive and competitive, we won’t have a good future for the people of Illinois, and we will never have balanced budgets in the future. These real lives, these men and women who build business, are the backbone of Illinois’ economy.”
The people are struggling, and the state needs changes in its business practices to grow, he said.
“These are just folks who just want to have a good life for themselves, for their kids,” Rauner said. “They want to grow their businesses; they want to create jobs. This is what Illinois is about. This is what America is about. But they are struggling. They are struggling to compete. They are struggling to grow.”
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