Illinois not last, but it's darn close
Illinois' economy is stagnant; unemployment is high, and people are leaving. Is there a problem here?
The news that Illinois is a lousy place to do business isn't going to surprise people who pay attention. But it's still worth pointing out that the Land of Lincoln isn't a place where job creators are hungry to be.
Chief Executive Magazine reported recently that Illinois finished No. 48 among the best states to do business. It finished ahead of No. 49 New York and No. 50 California.
The magazine based its conclusions on the best and worst places to do business on the opinions of corporate chief executive officers. In its 10th annual survey, Chief Executive found that Texas retained its reputation as the best state overall, its booming economy demonstrating the benefits of business-friendly policies. Florida ranks No. 2, even overtaking Texas in its quality-of-living environment.
The magazine also reports some damning details that are the result of Illinois' reputation as a place to avoid. Our state lags the national averages in terms of economic growth and unemployment. Here's the kicker — Illinoisans are voting with their feet. In 2013, there was a domestic outmigration of more than 67,000 people. In other words, people are leaving for better opportunities elsewhere.
If the numbers and rankings aren't enough to sound the alarm about the danger of maintaining the state quo, the magazine reports that the economic environment could get worse because this "anti-growth hot mess can only coast on Chicago's economic engine for so long."
The commentary that accompanied the CEOs' opinions was as disturbing as the No. 48 ranking.
"Illinois is a horrendous state in which to do business. It is governed by a class of incompetent, corrupt politicians. It's like doing business in a Third World country," said one.
Another CEO said Illinois is a "taxing and spending machine with little regard to the consequences and impacts to its citizens and businesses."
The good news, if there is any, is that it doesn't have to be this way. But until the public demands better, the state will have to fight to remain ahead of New York and California.