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Consumer group condemns U.S. Chamber of Commerce report attacking Illinois          Send a link to a friend

[April 26, 2007]  CHICAGO -- The Center for Justice & Democracy on Wednesday condemned a report released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform as "dishonest, unfair and contrary to the evidence about the state's positive business climate." The report, entitled "Lawsuit Climate 2007: Rating the States," criticizes the legal climate of Illinois based on nothing more than the views of corporate lawyers who defend corporate wrongdoers. It goes on to attack state political leaders because they have supported consumers' legal rights.

"The U.S. Chamber seems utterly unconcerned with either protecting the health and safety of Illinois residents or with being honest about the actual business climate of Illinois," said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy.

In fact, Illinois' business and manufacturing climate is strong and growing. In August of 2006, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois led the nation in the previous month's job growth. That was the second time in 2006 that Illinois topped the nation in job growth. It is the first time that happened in recorded history.

According to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, more than 150,000 new jobs have been created in the state since 2004, the highest total in the Midwest. Also, according to the department, the unemployment rate in Illinois has dropped from 6.7 in 2003 to its current 4.7.

What's more, several objective sources rank Illinois and Illinois cities as among the best places to locate a business. Site Selection Magazine ranks Illinois 13th and Chicago as the top place to locate a business, while Forbes magazine ranks three Illinois cities in their top 150.

"The U.S. Chamber's attack on Illinois' business environment is totally inconsistent with the facts on the ground," says Doroshow. "The chamber believes that holding corporations accountable is bad for Illinois, when, in fact, the opposite is true. The counties in Illinois attacked in this report are strong and growing, and one obvious reason is that these areas are not havens for corporate abuse of Illinois citizens."

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There is even evidence from the business community that fear of litigation has minimal impact on a company's business strategy. The National Association of Manufacturers surveyed corporate chief executive officers at their most recent conference. Fear of litigation ranked as the least important factor affecting company operations.

Doroshow adds: "The U.S. Chamber has for several years used its annual rankings to publicly, dishonestly and inaccurately criticize the business climate of Illinois, using a questionable survey of corporate lawyers, including in-house counsel for major corporations. These surveys reflect nothing more than the chamber's political agenda to limit legitimate lawsuits and accountability for corporate wrongdoers in Illinois.

For the Center for Justice & Democracy's fact sheet on the chamber's attack on Illinois, please see

For accurate information on Illinois' growing economy, see the Center for Justice & Democracy's fact sheet:

[To download Adobe Acrobat Reader for the PDF files, click here.]

[Text from file received from the Center for Justice & Democracy]

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