Monday, November 21, 2005

Not bad for a "Hellhole"

Site Selection Magazine has once again named Illinois one of the top states in the country to do business, contradicting efforts by the U.S. Chamber to portray the state as a "hellhole."

The annual survey by one of the nation's premiere business guides ranked Illinois 13th in its 2005 Top State Business Climates.

The survey did indicate that the U.S. Chamber's sustained campaign to malign Illinois' reputation might be hurting Illinois' economy. Despite no significant changes in Illinois law between 2004 and 2005, Illinois fell from 14th to 22nd in an opinion poll of corporate real estate executives. Still, not bad for a "hellhole."

The poll rankings:


Blogger grand old partisan said...

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1:55 PM  
Blogger grand old partisan said...

Between 2004 and 2005, the magazine dropped Illinois from 3rd to 13th. Is the Chamber boggie-man responsible for that too?

2:00 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog Democrat said...


The final ranking is based on part on the real estate exec survey, as the chart shows.

So yes, the Chamber is responsible.

5:15 PM  
Blogger grand old partisan said...

Responsible in part, right?

Do you think there might also be something to the idea that corporate executives don't want to start/move their business to a state that manages it's own finances so recklessly? What Blago and Madigan did with the pensions to "balance" the budget this year would be criminal if a corporation did it. Why would a corporation want to operate in a state that pratices such irresponsible and unethical business practices?

I'll stipulate that the Chamber has been a little heavy handed with it's scare tactics. But the buck stops with the Governor, right? He and his party have complete control over the state government....are you going to tell me that they are in now way responsible for the way business execs view the state?

7:18 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog Democrat said...


I think we'd have to go back to their methodology, but if you look at the rest of their rankings, which are objectively measured, the scores are in the single digits, so clearly it's the subjective perception of execs that is out of whack.

And no, I don't think it has to do with how the state manages it's finances, nor do I think the way the state dealt with it's pensions is criminal. Let's face it, it's better than how American Airlines dealt with it's pensions. To date, not one single retire state employee has missed on single pension payment or seen their pension benefits reduced.

Was it the best way to balance the budget? No. But since Republicans had said spending cuts and tax increases were off the table, Democrats had few other options.

Let's also not forget that the pension legislation had reforms to the pension system that pay for the shift, that the unions representing the affected employees signed off on the deal, and that the pension fund was 89% fully funded just a couple years ago, until the perfect storm of the Tech stock collapse, 9-11, and George Bush's inability to find his butt with both hands and a map left the economy and our pension investments stagnant.

I'll tell you what businesses do care about: schools. And if there's anything criminal in Illinois, it's how we have allowed our school system to fall behind the rest of the world, with a separate but unequal system for the have's and the have-nots.

When execs are thinking about whether or not to relocate to Illinois, one thing that weighs on their minds heavily is whether or not they would want to send their own children to school here. After all, if the HQ relocates to Peoria, that's exactly what they will have to do.

But that, my old friend, is a topic for another blog.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog Democrat said...

GOP --

Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. It's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that is spending millions of dollars every year to convince the business community that Illinois is hostile -- which, of couse, helps them raise more money to run even more ads.

Heck, they even brought the President of the U.S. into the Metro-East to bring national media attention to bare.

What's the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity supposed to do? Spend tens of millions of tax dollars on ads in NYC, LA, Boston, Hartford, etc. to combat their propaganda?

8:36 PM  

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