CEOs rank Illinois near bottom for second year
Newly elected Republican state Rep. Chris Miller (Oakland) thinks he's beginning to understand how Springfield has become so dysfunctional.
“Over my first few months here, I’ve been amazed with the level of incompetence of many of the lawmakers,” he told the East Central Reporter. “With everything Illinois is facing, we haven’t had one discussion in the four months that I’ve been here about the runaway pension debt that’s causing so much of the problem. It’s the elephant in the room no one will talk about.”
Miller said all the dysfunction just leads to more of the same, at least partly accounting for the results of a new Chief Executive Magazine survey of CEOs that ranked Illinois No. 48 on the 2019 Best States & Worst States for Business list. Neighboring Indiana ranked No. 5 on the list and all other border states ranked in the top 25.
The rankings marked the second straight year Illinois has ranked near the bottom as the state continues to be handcuffed by a staggering $28 billion in unfunded pension liability. In addition, new Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first state budget is projected to have a hole in excess of $3 billion.
“It’s all the anti-business policies,” Miller said. “We’ve got the highest workman’s compensation rates and some of the highest corporate taxes. That’s just not conducive to the climate being right to do business.”
Miller said he thinks one way to change things would be by prohibiting lobbyists from being allowed in the State Capitol.
“When they’re around, most of the time they’re dictating policy,” he said. “We would also be smart to look at some of the states that are doing well and pattern ourselves after some of the things they’re doing. I saw something that said Illinois has the 18th highest GDP in the world. It’s incredible how strong we are with all the twisted policy. If we did anything right, we would be off the charts.”
Miller said one good thing is that he senses voters have finally had enough and are looking for real change.
“People in Illinois are really resilient and I get the feeling they’re starting to get engaged,” he said. “With all the career politicians in Springfield, that’s one of the few things they pay attention to.”