Quinn on Wednesday touted his work in jump-starting the state's
economy as he announced a federal program that will make tens of
millions of dollars of investment capital available. The governor
spoke during a stop on Chicago's southwest side to battery
manufacturer AllCell, which is receiving some of that federal
"The reason, I think, why we're a strong state is our
work ethic and our hardworking, well-qualified, well-skilled men and
women in our workforce," said Quinn. "They are the heart and soul of
the Illinois economy."
Quinn's comments are his first public statements in 20 days. The
governor returned last week from a weeklong trip to China and Japan.
There he signed agreements that will send Illinois soybeans to China
and help a Chinese company take a more active role in building a
wind farm near Dixon.
But while Quinn was overseas, one of Chicago's most well-known
companies, the CME Group, made headlines when it announced plans to
leave the state.
Craig Donohue, CEO of the CME Group, parent company of the
Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, told
Reuters news service in August that Illinois' high tax burden is
motivating him to relocate his business to possibly Texas, Florida
"Our tax situation is untenable," said Donohue. "I don't think
CME Group is different from other companies" that relocate.
In January, Illinois raised its corporate tax rate by 45 percent,
from 4.8 percent to 7 percent, and its personal income tax rate by
67 percent, from 3 percent to 5 percent.
Quinn said he was talking with CME and the Chicago Board of
Options Exchange, or CBOE, Chicago's options exchange, which is
rumored to be eyeing an exit from the state, about staying.
"We're interested in working with them," the governor said.
"Anything they're interested in would require some action by the
Legislature. That could happen in the veto session or sometime early
Quinn then blasted anyone who suggested that Illinois' increased
income taxes are driving jobs out of the state.
"For those who are ... complainers, naysayers, I'd say look at
the record," Quinn said. "Last year, our state led the Midwest in
job creation. I hope we do it again."
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The governor made his comments in the delivery bay of AllCell,
which manufactures batteries that will power scooters and electric
AllCell CEO Said Al-Hallaj said he's well aware of Illinois'
bad-for-business reputation, but he has not experienced it.
"As a startup company, for us the first thing we need to get is
profits," said All-Hallaj. "If we are profitable, taxes are one
thing we can always look at. But the fact that the people we hire
are happy here ... it goes a long way."
Al-Hallaj said taxes are important, but they are not "everything
in the equation."
If Al-Hallaj is not worried about his taxes, Illinois House GOP
Tom Cross said plenty of companies are concerned.
"We've lost 10,000 jobs in the last two months. Clearly (Quinn's)
analysis based on the numbers is off. Way off," Cross said.
Cross said he'd rather see Illinois move to a broader policy "of
a decent regulatory system and more fair taxes."
"There is a mindset among business -- and I spent the summer
talking with business leaders -- of no longer just chitchatting
about leaving," Cross said. "They are going to leave."
Statehouse News; By BENJAMIN YOUNT]