SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – One of the ongoing stories of 2011 stands to continue into 2012: Illinois’ success – or lack thereof – at attracting and retaining its top employers. For the most part, the talk of companies leaving because of tax burdens was just talk.
An online coupon company, Fat Wallet, did move to Wisconsin, but not because of the January 2011 lame-duck vote to raise income taxes; the move came after the state enacted the so-called “Amazon tax.”
And Chicago-based Aon Corp. recently announced it’s moving its headquarters – leaving the entire country, for the United Kingdom, for business reasons, but there is expected to be no loss of jobs in Illinois.
Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, says the General Assembly has made his job easier by passing a number of tax incentives which can be used. He also says while other states’ governors and economic development officers at times put Illinois on the defensive, Gov. Pat Quinn has “never been bashful to pick up the phone … and really listen to them. That’s a big part of it: you have to listen and be able to respond to their concerns.”
The state recently passed some tax incentives designed to keep Sears Holdings and CME Group in the state, and Caterpillar’s suggestion that other states would love to lure its corporate headquarters also got the governor’s attention in 2011.