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CEO survey ranks Illinois third-worst state for business

Gov. Pat Quinn

A survey of 650 business leaders ranks Illinois the third-worst state to do business in America.

The survey by ChiefExecutive.net has ranked right-to-work (union-restricting) state Texas at the top for eight years in a row and California at the bottom for as many years.

One unnamed CEO was quoted saying, “Illinois is a great state, but the Democrats have ruined the state fiscally, and unless they are either elected out or make major changes to the union problems, corruption and graft, I will move our company out of Illinois permanently.”

They did not like Gov. Quinn and state legislators raising the state corporate income tax rate from 4.6 to 7.5 percent.

But next-door Wisconsin, with the higher corporate tax rate of 7.9 percent, was ranked 20th from the top.

“Since Gov. Walker was elected we have seen a significant improvement in taxes and business conditions,” one unnamed business executive said.

The executives liked Republican governors such as Walker who took on unions. They gave props to him, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, whose state ranked fifth.

The top three states – Texas, Florida and North Carolina are states where executives don’t have to negotiate as much with unions, as opposed to the surveyed CEOs’ three least favorite states – Illinois, New York and California.

The survey stands in contrast to some other recent surveys such as Bloomberg’s Economic Evaluation of States Index, which ranked Illinois third from the top and Wisconsin eighth from the bottom on personal income tax, tax revenue and employment issues.

David Waymire, a Lansing, Mich., consultant, posted this criticism of the executive survey, noting many of those executives choose to live in New York and California:

“Make your state a place where CEOs like to put their business and you can expect a poor quality of life and low paychecks. Make your state a place where CEOs like to live, and you can expect a better quality of life, higher paychecks and a longer life.”