Illinois has an unnecessarily hostile business environment that hurts growth. Recently, major companies like Caterpillar and Boeing announced they are leaving the state for Texas and Virginia, respectively. Not all of our business environment is at the state level, but the state can lead the way. I hear horror stories from people simply trying to acquire a building permit, get a fair tax assessment, or deal with outrageous codes that are sad.
Somehow, many Illinois politicians and government officials have started acting like they are royalty and Illinoisans are “peasants” who must bow before them to receive the right documentation to help create jobs. But here’s the thing: the “peasants” are moving.
Of course, we have learned from the news that corruption has played a major role in this hostile business environment. Although the state needs to take a hard line against corruption, it hasn’t yet, even in the wake of former Speaker Madigan’s 22-count indictment back in March. In addition to addressing corruption, we also need to take a balanced approach when passing legislation meant to protect the average citizen—too much medicine can be worse than the disease.
For example, Illinois having laws and a court system that are hostile to landlords is simply going to decrease the number of people who want to be landlords. Consequently, rents will drive up and supply will decrease for tenants. Similarly, overly hostile liability and workers compensation laws will drive manufacturers and manufacturing out of the state.
These situations are happening in Illinois and there are no winners. It’s not complicated: businesses need people and people want to live where they feel economically protected. We just need balance.
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