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Local Editorials

Hey, Gov. Perry: Don’t mess with Illinois

Gov. Pat Quinn must be tired of other governors attempting to poach Illinois jobs. The governor of Texas will be the next to try. We hope his attempt is fruitless.

You can’t blame Gov. Pat Quinn for using a few flippant remarks to dismiss next week’s 2-day jobs-raiding foray into Illinois by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, called Perry nothing but a “big talker” from a state that is “water challenged.”

Perry plans to spend Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago to meet with business leaders in the biotechnology and financial industries. Perry will also speak at the BIO International Convention.

The Texas governor, a Republican, said he has visited other Democratic states in the past. He said he wants to “spur competition between states and recruit jobs and employees to Texas.”

Perry didn’t throw in a “Don’t mess with Texas” anywhere in his statement, but his swagger fits the slogan.

Illinois has developed an unfortunate reputation as being unfriendly toward business. Perry isn’t the first governor from another state to try to entice Illinois companies to pick up stakes and move.

Governors from Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey (all Republicans) have made overtures toward Illinois businesses that might be unhappy with the business climate here. Unknown is whether their entreaties are designed merely for short-term political advantage.

Illinois business owners have legitimate gripes. Quinn and the Legislature raised income taxes 2 years ago. The state’s workman’s compensation costs are high. Soaring public pension obligations threaten the state’s financial future. If your business does business with the state of Illinois, you won’t get reimbursed for many months.

Perry can boast a lower jobless rate in his state (6.4 percent) compared to Illinois (9.5 percent).

Yes, Perry and other out-of-staters believe Illinois is an easy target.

But those of us who live in Illinois know the state has plenty of positives in manufacturing, agriculture, energy, transportation, research and more. Aircraft parts maker Woodward Inc. is bringing new jobs to Rockford. Chrysler is bringing new jobs to Belvidere. Nippon Sharyo is bringing new jobs to Rochelle. SGS Refrigeration is bringing new jobs to Dixon.

We would certainly like the economy to be better, but staying put to work things out is a wiser strategy than jumping ship.

And who, frankly, would have any interest in relocating to Texas – a land of oppressive heat, killer bees, and chainsaw massacres?

That Gov. Quinn and the Legislature must do more to improve the state’s business climate is a given. Get to work, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s worth noting that the Texas Rangers’ trip to Illinois preceded the Texas governor’s. The Chicago Cubs spanked Texas, 6-2, Thursday before the Rangers skedaddled back home.

Our expectation is that Perry’s visit to Chicago will be similarly fruitless.

Gov. Perry, don’t mess with Illinois.

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