Gov. Pat Quinn says “complainers” about the Illinois economy need to look past the state’s recent income tax increases, and look instead at the positive news about the state’s jobs picture.

By Benjamin Yount

CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn says “complainers” about the Illinois economy need to look past the state’s recent income tax increases, and look instead at the positive news about the state’s jobs picture.

Quinn on Wednesday touted his work in jump starting the state’s economy, by announcing 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 assistance.

“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 or Tennessee.

“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 next year,”

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 lead the Midwest in job creation. I hope we do it again.”

The governor made his comments in the delivery bay of AllCell, which manufacturers batteries that will be power scooters and electric cars worldwide.

AllCell CEO Said Al-Hallaj said he’s well aware of Illinois’ bad-for-business reputation, but he has not experienced it.

“As a start-up 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 100,00 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 chit chatting about of leaving,” Cross said. “They are going to leave.”

Join the Conversation


  1. Wake up Gov. Quinn

    Complainers and naysayers? I think not.

    Governor Quinn – Please add this to your "to do" list :

    1. Fix the political corruption in Illinois politics – the list is long, the culture stinks

    2. Stop the union cronyism that is strangling our state – the list is long, the culture stinks

    3. Develop a long term framework to address our state's fiscal situation

        — No framework/plan means limited investment in Illinois (Please re-read the letter from Caterpillar's CEO)  

        — Limited investment in Illinois means limited job opportunities

        — Address the MASSIVE unfunded pension liabilities – businesses and people know you are just going to tax them – that's why they're leaving or planning on leaving Illinois (The comments from the CEO of the CME are concerning and should be taken seriously – once they leave, it's very difficult to get them to return – you may also want to talk with the founder of Jimmy Johns and find out why he applied for Florida residency and considered relocating his company)

    It's time to move past the Denial and Anger stage, and recognize the challenges our state faces, and start developing thoughtful and sustainable plans.

    Pointing fingers and making excuses are signs of weakness.

    The Buck stops with you Governor.

    1. Quinn used union to get elected.

      Quinn promised unions 'no layoffs' to the middle of 1012 to get their endorsement. Without this deal, Quinn would not have won.

      One year later, he fakes having union members being laid off  but does not defend his position when the union puts up a fight. This was to get public support for more money when he starts closing other state institutions. We know what he wants, more money. Has everybody forgot that he gave his staff big raises, as high as 60%. Quinn was just another big mistake!

    2. Pay forward for the next kid who comes along

      "you may also want to talk with the founder of Jimmy Johns and find out why he applied for Florida residency and considered relocating his company"

      Yeah, so this guy doesn't want to pay taxes so he's going to move to Florida.  I think it tells us something about Jimmy John.

      How did Jimmy John's start?

      " Liautaud founded Jimmy John's in 1983 after graduating second to last in his class at Elgin Academy (1982) and receiving the choice from his father to join the military, go to college or start a business.

      Liautaud chose the latter and accepted his father's $25,000 loan to start a hot dog business – with Liautaud owning 52% of the business and his father owning 48%.[5] After realizing a hot dog business would cost more than anticipated, Liautaud opened a sandwich shop.

      So he basically started with daddy's money.  Yeah, he worked hard after that.  But he started with daddy's money.  Selling sandwiches in Champaign (home of our giant public university)

      Where did daddy get the money?

      "Jim Liautaud received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1963, after attending UIC. Jim started a number of companies that manufactured products that emanated from patents he developed for combining composite plastics and metals." (see here)

      So it sounds like daddy benefited quite a bit from his state-subsidized education at UIUC and UIC.   And he in turn was able to help out his errant son.  

      Let us listen to the wise  words  of Elizabeth Warren:

      “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there?   Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

      Are you listening, Jimmy John?

      1. What is a “hunk”

        I am one of the evil guys in the 33% federal income tax bracket. My wife used to work but she quit due to the outlandish tax burden as my income went up – 100% of her taxable income was hit at 33% federal, 5% state, 4.2% SS (normally 6.2%) and 1.45% Medicare. That's north of 43% and would be even higher but for the temporary reduction in SS tax. And we pay north of $6k in property taxes on a shoebox condo in Evanston, not to mention close to 10% sales tax. Is that a big enough "hunk" or does it need to be more? My guess is it needs to be more, as the big "hunk" has already been promised to the unions. Fear not, I am leaving the People's Republiks of Evanston and Illinois and moving back to God's country as soon as I can find a knife catcher to come along and buy my place. Evanston has one choice, bankruptcy. That is not a liberal or conservative opinion, it is an economic fact. Evanston will undoubtedly have to file for bankruptcy in the next 20 years and as a fairly young person, I don't want to be on the Titanic when it sinks. The State can't even file for bankruptcy, so I don't know what the hell they are going to do, but at this point, the kids' futures have already been sold off to the unions. I didn't sign up for that commitment (shame on me for not reading this site before I bought in Evanston) and my kids sure as hell aren't going to suffer for the backroom deals struck decades ago that have saddled this State and great city with an impossible financial burden.

      2. Wrong

        Relocating to Florida because of taxes – duh.  He is a business owner and operates to make a profit, not dole out money for your every social whim.   See  individuals like this live in a reality, numbers don't lie.  Lefties like you wander in a utopian dreamland.

        Recall that IL has among the highest state corporate tax rates, thanks to Quinn and the Dems. 

        Remember, those that run the state of IL, Cook County and perhaps Evanston all have one thing in common, a D by their name.  How is the fiscal health of IL, Cook County, Chicago, Evanston?…. nuff said.

        What business is it of yours to demonize success and comment on Liautaud Sr. and Jr. with regards to their efforts, education, financing?   If anything, maybe you can learn something from this family – who worked hard, built a successful business and yes, employ many. 

        The case for social engineering, class warfare and general hatred towards success is old and tired. 

        Pay it forward, give me a break. 

        I firmly believe the country is sick of your rhetoric, this playground bullying and the agitation espoused by individuals such as you, and king Obama and his minions. 

        It is apparent this is the only argument you have (next to the bigot theme and the racist theme) because this experiment since 2009 has failed miserably, on every level – local, state and country. 

        Let me tell you, real change is coming friend. 

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