Illinois makes progress � in the wrong direction

The Madison County Record May 21, 2011, 2:00am

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. – C.S. Lewis

We're so progressive in Illinois that it's killing us.

We've been making a form of progress for years now, but it's been in the wrong direction because we've been on the wrong road. We're so far down that road now that if we don't turn back soon and find the right one, there may be no turning back.

The 550 CEOs who participated in's annual survey of the best states for business rated Illinois 48th, just two spots above dead last. We're the third worst state in the union, ahead of basket cases New York and California.

"Illinois has dropped 40 places in five years and is now in a death spiral," the website's editors assert. "Its bond ranking is 49th, ahead of only California. The state may play host to fugitive state senators from nearby Wisconsin and Indiana who avoided voting in their home legislatures, but businesses are heading for the exits."

Think about that. Forty places in five years. In 2006, we were rated the 8th best state to do business in. We're now the third worst.

Some progress.

According to, "states with punitive tax and regulatory regimes are punished with lower rankings, and this can offset even positive scores on quality of living environment. While state incentives are always welcome," the editors affirm, "what CEOs often seek are areas with consistent policies and regulations that allow them to plan, as well as intangible factors such as a state's overall attitude toward business and the work ethic of its population."

Unless we're too proud or too stupid to admit that we're going to slam into a dead end, we should get positively progressive and turn around now.

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