From The Center Square:
Illinois businessman: State is losing its good reputation among corporations
(The Center Square) – According to a former gubernatorial candidate and prominent Illinois businessman, the state must make significant changes to avoid losing even more corporations.
A report by Wirepoints looks at Illinois’ overall economic performance since Gov. J.B. Pritzker took office in 2019. The report shows 70,000 fewer jobs in that time frame and that Illinois’ real GDP growth was 3.2% from 2019 to 2022, which ranked 10th worst in the country over that time frame.
Illinois businessman Gary Rabine, the founder of the Rabine Group and 2022 GOP candidate for Illinois governor, told The Center Square that just a short time ago, Illinois was a booming spot for businesses.
“Just five to ten years ago and beyond, nobody wanted to move away from their families, and nobody wanted to move away from this great market in the middle of the country,” Rabine said.
“Now we have the high taxation to individuals, and we have the violence that is getting worse and worse.”
Rabine said that when talking to other corporations and their officials, the narrative around building a company in Illinois has changed drastically.
“When we talk to these companies, we’re seeing them talking about shutting down Illinois and Chicago locations as we have never heard before,” Rabine said.
“Five years ago and beyond, we only heard about companies wanting to grow in Illinois.”
Over the past year, Boeing, McDonald’s, Citadel, and others have reduced their corporate footprints in Illinois.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker countered that companies like Manner Polymers, which announced last week that it would be building a new facility in Mount Vernon, are choosing Illinois due to generous tax incentives.
“I have worked with the General Assembly to strengthen the REV Illinois program by increasing tax credits to businesses locating in underserved communities and expanding program renewal options,” Pritzker said. “It’s another important reason companies like Manner Polymers, that manufacturers for the fast-growing EV and clean energy markers, are choosing Illinois.”
Last month, Guggenheim Investments, a $300 billion company with its current headquarters in New York City and Chicago, was reported by Crain Business to be eying a move to Miami from Chicago.
Illinois has some of the highest taxes in the nation, which according to Rabine is a major change from the 2000s when the state’s taxes were able to attract businesses here.
“It used to be where if you were in a state like Illinois, you could be average, and you’re going to be in great shape because it is a great place, in the middle of the greatest country in the world,” Rabine said.
“Over the course of the last 20 years, we have become one of the highest taxed states in the country, if not the highest when you add them all up.”
Those taxes are then forcing companies to look to leave Illinois just to try and survive as a business, Rabine said.
“I see businesses that want to survive, that are Illinois businesses, are going to really need to focus on how do they grow outside of the state of Illinois. Where they are treated fairly,” Rabine told The Center Square.
Residents have also been leaving the state of Illinois. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 91 of Illinois’ 102 counties lost population last year.
The most recent IRS migration data indicated more than 105,000 taxpayers left Illinois in the year ending July 2022, taking with them $10 billion in income.
Rabine claims that unless Illinois addresses its high taxes, people and businesses will continue to leave the state.
“They need to get their taxes down to a competitive level,” Rabine said.
“This is why I decided to run for governor of Illinois. I sought good governance by doing exactly what a business mind would do.
“You have to be competitive to deliver a competitive product to the customer or the taxpayer.”