Illinois Tax Rate Could Lower Indiana's Unemployment

By Eric Shangraw
By Scott Sarvay

February 16, 2011 Updated Feb 16, 2011 at 7:10 PM EDT

ILLINOIS/ INDIANA (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Business leaders in Indiana see the Illinois income tax increase as a major incentive for companies to relocate to Indiana.

Northwest Indiana Forum Pres. & CEO Mark Maassel says, “I suspect that businesses are looking at either an expansion or a re-location because the cost of staying where they are at the moment is frankly higher than the cost of moving someplace else."

Tables published by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation argue their businesses pay less corporate taxes and lower compensation premiums to workers.

But local elected officials say check the fine print.

And Matt Bell, the Executive Director of the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, spoke In-Depth with Indiana’s NewsCenter on the topic at 5:30 pm.

Peoria, Illinois City Council Member Ryan Spain says, “You have Indiana talking about their favorable tax climate. When you dig into some of the details that may not actually be the case. There are a lot of local income taxes in Indiana. And there are a lot of other things that are not as favorable. We have a significant advantages here in Peoria."

Spain says Illinois needs to do a better job of communicating its strengths. The leader of the Heartland Partnership, which promotes the central Illinois business climate, says Illinois needs a statewide economic development effort that regional and local groups can get behind.

Heartland Partnership, CEO & Pres. Jim McConoughey says, “We don't have a big comprehensive strategy that helps all the cities, all the big urban centers and all the rural centers design an economic development program that we think is going to play off our assets and be really targeted to try and generate those jobs both locally and recruit jobs to this state.

Call it a boarder-state skirmish, battle, or war; Indiana leaders see our economic woes as opportunity.

Maassel says, “We just look at this as one of those moments in time where we need to be very honest and open about the advantages of being in northwest Indiana and share that with the people across Illinois."

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