Illinois pays for poor policies

September 26, 2013 

Illinois has a reputation of being unfriendly to business, but let a company threaten to leave and suddenly the state is its best friend.

Power Construction, based in Schaumberg, is the latest example. It's getting $2.4 million in incentives from the state to move to Chicago rather than Indiana. It promises to create 30 more jobs, which figures out to $80,000 in incentives per employee. Sweet -- for the company, that is, not the taxpayer.

This program is bad primarily because it is not sustainable. This $2.4 million break will encourage other companies to play one state against the other. But Illinois can't afford to offer incentives to every company that thinks about leaving.

Instead of doling out incentives piecemeal, Illinois would do better to address the issues that make businesses want to leave in the first place: political corruption, high taxes, costly workers' comp, and the uncertainty of a state government that's buried by pension debt.

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