Ignoring warning would be foolish
Business recruiting visits by out-of-state governors are akin to the canary in the coal mine.
Gov. Rick Perry didn't make many friends last week when he visited Illinois to see if he could entice businesses to move to Texas.
"...You need to get out while there's still time. The escape route leads straight to Texas, where limited government, low taxes and a pro-business environment are creating more jobs than any other state. I'll be in Chicago ... to talk about business opportunities in Texas, where we're always open for business," he said in radio advertisements announcing his trip.
Illinois politicians were quick to respond with bipartisan criticism.
Gov. Pat Quinn characterized Perry as a "big talker" who had nothing of value to offer.
"We don't need any advice from Gov. Perry," he said.
State Republican Party chairman Pat Brady described Perry's trip as bad form.
"...I don't think it's productive for him to come in here and do this so publicly. Stealing jobs from Illinois is not going to help," Brady said.
Help who? Attracting more jobs to Texas would surely help Texas. Governors from other states, including Indiana and New Jersey, have made similar entreaties in Illinois, and they'll keep coming until this state's business atmosphere becomes more attractive to job creators.
It's understandable that some Illinoisans get their backs up in the face of the implied criticism. But the fact that some people don't like it doesn't make it any less true.
Illinois has big problems — both financial and governance — that it has been reluctant to address.
If it's ever going to solve them, state officials must get the economy — with its 9.5 percent unemployment rate — going. It's hard to do that when the state's reputation as a place hostile to investment is widespread.
Other states are superior locales when it comes to taxes, regulation, worker's compensation and litigation. Until that changes, Illinoisans can expect representatives from other states to visit and make pitches similar to the one made by Gov. Perry.