Despite a lot of negative news involving the state's economy, one bright spot is an improved poll ranking since corporate and individual income tax increases expired at the beginning of this year: According to the Tax Foundation’s 2016 Business State Tax Index, Illinois has leaped eight spots, from 31st to 23rd.
David From, director for Americans for Prosperity Illinois, said state lawmakers should take note of the results.
"Our state is now in a better position to compete for jobs because we have a better business environment than in years past," From said in the release. "However, this report also shows that the massive tax hikes being advocated by many in Springfield will have the effect of making the Land of Lincoln a worse climate for job growth."
From, whose group advocates limited government and lower taxes, also suggested lawmakers do more than just fight against tax increases in order to attract jobs to the state.
“Having a competitive tax code is only a portion of making Illinois more competitive,” From told the Record. “A lot of the reforms that the governor has been pushing like workmans' comp reform, tort reform – these are elements that make Illinois more attractive.”
In addition, From believes there are specific areas that need more attention from the government.
“We need to reign in government union pension costs," he said. "They are really out of control and costing billions and billions of taxpayer dollars each year.”
But a crucial part of getting Illinois back on track is solving the budget crisis.
“When the budget gets in better order there’s more stability provided,” he added. “We can take care of the least fortunate and also guarantee as good as an education as we can try to put forth. This makes Illinois more attractive to businesses.”
Another challenge the state faces is the growing number of manufacturing jobs going to other states with more favorable business climates. From pointed out that Illinois has been a manufacturing center for many decades and that the manufacturing industry across the country as a whole has seen better days.
“I think one of the things we can do is being sure that our corporate income tax is as low as we think is responsible," he said. "Unfortunately we are not as competitive as our neighboring states, so that drives them [jobs] out of here.”
From also added that despite budget problems, Illinois has a lot of positive attributes.
“Illinois is a transportation hub; it’s a logistics hub; it’s an agricultural powerhouse," he said. "It has great universities, great workforce, and a world class city in Chicago. It has so many things going for it. So if we can get more competitive policy and get the bad policy out of the way, I think the state can really be that economic engine for the Midwest and the whole nation.”