Magazine: Illinois among worst states for business

Posted May 13, 2010 at 8:28 a.m.

By Mary Ellen Podmolik | The
good news is CEOs don’t think any any less of Illinois’ business
climate than they did a year ago. The bad news is there are only five
states considered to be worse places to do business in than Illinois.

For the second year in a row, Illinois nabbed spot No. 46 on Chief
Executive magazine’s annual ranking of the best and worst states. The
results, derived from a survey of 641 CEOs across the country, looked
at issues like proximity to markets and resources, regulation, tax
policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living
and infrastructure.

Where did Illinois fall short? CEO’s gave the state low marks for its overall business taxes, sales taxes and unemployment insurance tax.

Texas walked away with the No. 1 ranking, for the fifth consecutive year.

Who did Illinois edge out? The five worst states, in descending order, were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, New York and, in last place, California.



  1. Dave May 13, 2010 at 8:58 a.m.

    And yet Quinn wants to raise the state income tax 50%.

  2. Planwell May 13, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.

    Well this is good, right? We’re finally getting rid of those evil corporations who just want to make us all slaves. Soon the evil banks will leave, the evil financiers and the super evil insurance, medical device and pharmacutical companies. We can all work for the State now and get ourselves one of those sweet jobs with a big fat underfunded pension. But wait – who’ll generate the wealth to pay the taxes to fund our big fat undefunded pensions?

  3. rj chicago May 13, 2010 at 9:39 a.m.

    Um……DUH!!!! State is bankrupt – all business leadership sees on the horizon is more taxes and more regulation!!! You would have to be a fool on a fools errand to start a business in IL with the debt piling up to the sky!!!

  4. Charlie May 13, 2010 at 9:50 a.m.

    You two are right. All this and Pat Quinn wants to raise taxes. The pols here really don’t get it. Quinn, Daley, Stroger, Madigan and all the other coronie are only in it for their own or for their friends/families pocket books. I am sad to say that these guys actually understand the pension mess and the high cost of government but are poloitcally unwilling to do anything about it.
    Their golden goose will soon get cooked but the majority of taxpayers still vote these guys in- it’s amazing.

  5. Mario May 13, 2010 at 9:55 a.m.

    No more big government. No more taxes!!

  6. C May 13, 2010 at 9:56 a.m.

    Guess what the bottom 6 states have in common? All are controlled by the Democrats.

  7. ForFarkSakes May 13, 2010 at 10:14 a.m.

    “The good news is CEOs don’t think any any less of Illinois’ business climate than they a year ago. The bad news is there are only five states considered to be worst places to do business in than Illinois.”
    When an article starts off with such appalling grammar, I don’t bother reading the rest. If a so called journalist shows such a disregard for grammatical quality, and neither the journalist not any editor or sub-editor even bothered to proof read the article, how can any reader trust the content?
    Shame on you Mary Ellen Podmolik, and shame on your editors.

  8. ME May 13, 2010 at 10:18 a.m.

    Yah guess what republicans do? 7 of the top 10 states for business are the most toxic to people. Here is the top 5 that contribute the most chemicals to the environment.
    Rank State Pounds
    1. ALASKA 547,987,529
    2. NEVADA 496,783,772
    3. ARIZONA 328,676,277
    4. TEXAS 244,460,108
    5. OHIO 209,090,481

  9. LotBoy25 May 13, 2010 at 10:18 a.m.

    Illinoins cannot be a worse place for business than the People’s Republic of Vermont.
    I lived in Chicago for 40+ years before moving to the PRV.
    Businesses leave the PRV daily. Ben & Jerry’s & Simon Pierce just to name a few.
    Why, taxes, taxes and taxes. Oh, if you’d like to add on to your building or if you’re a “capitalist pig slave driver business owner” and want to build a new building, the PRV will tie you up for years with the permit process. At least in Chicago hold ups (sic) with the permit process were mostly due to your bank being closed when the inspector cam by and you had to wait till the next day for your permit.
    In the PRV, it’s all about “saving the land”.
    As the population of the PRV continues to delcine, the last few “comrades” left will have all the grass to cut, er, sm*ke themselves.

  10. Max May 13, 2010 at 11:33 a.m.

    Lotboy, your story is cute, but not factual.
    Ben & Jerry’s is still situated in Vermont; its Headqtrs is still in Burlington and the plant is in Waterbury. In 2003, Unilever (now the parent company) downsized the workforce and closed some plants there. Cottage industries are doing quite well in addition to maple syrup production, Cabot Cheese, Vermont Teddy Bear, King Arthur Flour, etc. People from other states are moving in – population has increased 2.1%.
    To ME, thanks for reminding us of how other states handle toxins. From my experience, Ohio, while under Gov Taft, had little regard for the health and well-being of its citizens. It allowed conglomerates to pollute land, air and lake freely. Compare that to Illinois where the govt and populace speak out loud and clear against polluters….which could anger some CEO’s. Cry me a river.

  11. reasonableman May 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Big freakin’ surprise. CEOs don’t like Illinois because they have to pay to rape the land and the workforce. Still the tea party extremists go on and on about the “jobs” the CEO class provide. Let’s remember that this criminal class sees no problem with moving jobs offshore to places where employees live Dickensonian lives enslaved to corporate dictators.
    Lets remember that these CEOS, with their bought and paid for GOP lapdogs, are fully responsible for killing off manufacturing and the middle class.

  12. alex May 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    either the CEO’s or this methodology is busted.
    The list comprises of education resources and quality of labor force.
    If a place like Boston, which has MIT, Harvard, Tufts, NOrtheastern, Boston College and Boston University and if you include UM at Amherst, there’s no freaking way the state falls in the bottom 5. No way.
    And there lies the problem with this totally absurd list. Taxes are just one issue, but not the central issue to a good business climate. These lists are heavily tilted to pressure states to pass the tax burden from business to people. And I wish Americans would realize this, regardless of their political leanings.

  13. Everyday American May 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Meh, I really couldn’t care less what CEOs think. These are probably the least-hard working people in our society. These lazy bums are just whining because they don’t want regulation. It’s as simple as that. It’s harder to rip people off, destroy the land and exploit your employees when there is more oversight. Anyone with even half a brain can see through this cop-out excuse. The rest are your typical “conservative” wage slaves who are too simple to realize that they are being exploited.
    The reason they don’t like Illinois is because they aren’t allowed to get away with a lot of the subversion that they are allowed to in other states.
    Executives are the bane of our society.

  14. jsbkk May 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    One of the responsibilities in my job is locating a place for my overseas company to establish a local branch for manufacturing/assembly of our product for the North American market. I live in Illinois for now, but I agree 100% with this listing and would not consider starting a company here or the other states listed in the worst five. So it’s not just fat cat CEO’s who rate these states as unfriendly to SME’s, it’s anyone who has to work under the strain of taxes, inefficient big government, and union regulations. We like what we see in Texas.

  15. The Truth May 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Alex, if it can’t be summed up in a rhyming soundbite or a dumbed-down quip, the average American is not capable of understanding it. Look at this “Lotboy” guy…can’t make a sensible, relevant statement, so he has to resort to stupid (and incorrect) hyperbole so it’s dumbed down for not only his understanding, but also that of like-minded simpletons. Unfortunately, it’s people like him who have turned conservatism from being a legitimate political ideology into being a cop-out excuse.

  16. RomanB May 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Why not conduct a real survey, like what state they prefer for their pool of available “illegal” immigrants to work their factories, or what 3rd world country is best to open up sweatshops where they can enslave 10 year holds for a buck a day?

  17. Kbow May 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    A shining example of our public skool system, no doubt.

  18. Den C May 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Years of Democrat, liberal, socialist policy have destroyed Illinois. It is time to throw out Quinn, the Democrats, Burris and Durbin.

  19. Manual Landmark May 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I downloaded Grand Theft Auto IV last week and, even though its a”dusty” game, its the best Nintendo DS game in my opinion ;-)

  20. Jerry H May 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I love the people who respond to this article with the sour grapes response, “who cares what a bunch of company executives say?” (Frankly, I suspect Gov. Quinn and the other hacks in Springfield feel the same.) Well, seeing as how these are the people who decide where factories, plants, offices, etc., will be opened or shut down, I suspect people looking for jobs care about what these people think. That short-sighted mindset is one of the biggest reasons why the unemployment rate in Illinois has been well above the national average for a long, long time.

  21. JOHN C May 13, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Workmans comp and unemployment insurance are way to high in swillinois. The unemployment rates are reaching levels of 25%. Quinns solution is to charge more.

  22. kevin May 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I had to laugh out loud when I read your comment:
    “These lists are heavily tilted to pressure states to pass the tax burden from business to people. And I wish Americans would realize this, regardless of their political leanings.”
    You do realize that when you tax businesses, its ultimately passed onto the people, in one form or another, right? Businesses don’t just swallow the tax and say “thank you.” Rather that cost is pushed down. Either employees are paid a lower wage, the price of the product increases, or other measures are taken. In the end, while the tax won’t be itemized out in the product you buy, its there. You’re ultimately paying for it.
    In the case of Illinois, you’re paying for corporate taxes by not only having this cost passed onto you, but you’re also paying for it by having less employment opportunities as companies shy away from opening up shop here.

  23. Mean Joe May 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    The five worst states, in descending order, were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, New York and, in last place, California.
    And what do these Statews have in commmon?
    Democrats and Unions.

  24. Jim May 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Well, Greece and the EU just got introduced to the bond market. Illinois will have an introduction to the bond market when they are done in California and New York. The most amazing part of the last 24 months is the realization that the Illinois politicians (both parties) have no earthly clue how jobs are created. Not a single idea.
    What is really sad is the education we are all going to get very, very soon. The Governor in California just got a glimpse of the cuts in California to close a $20 billion and growing gap in the budget. The description of the cuts was “terrible” but that is an understatement. And guess what. The government employee unions cannot make money appear out of thin air whatever lies they might have told you.
    My father in law was union, but smart union. He said “Do not kill the goose that laids those golden eggs, kids”. I am afraid we have killed all the geese and the eggs just ran out here in Illinois. The benefits of having a state or federal job or pension will get redefined in the coming weeks. Think pain and lots of it.
    The rooster is finally home to roost.

  25. Bones May 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Please… are these the same CEO’s that make hundreds upon millions of dollars per year while shaving work forces and squeezing the life out of their employees? I would trust a politician before I’d trust a CEO. At least Politician start off with good intentions, most CEO’s are driven by one thing. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    And the overuse of the term socialism is ridiculous. It wasn’t even in any of your vocabulary 2 years ago but ever since the Healthcare debate took place you’re all spouting it off like you know what it means. It’s amazing how predictable we are as a society. This is just like the “flip flop” fiasco from 2004. You’re all sheep, you hear one talking point over and over and next thing you know all the know-nothings are reciting it. That’s how I train my dog – repetition.
    Riddle me this repugs – if socialism is so bad then why is this country financed by a socialistic/communist country? Why do we get most of our products from a communist country and why is it the fastest growing economy in the world?
    I’m not praising China because of I disgaree with just about all of their social policies, but explain why they’re thriving in a system that you all denounce as failed?

  26. RomanB May 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    How about a list of the best 3rd world countries these CEO’s have no problem setting-up in their sweat shop labor camps so kiddies can make all sorts of goodies while working 60 hours a week at a buck a day? I’m sure Chief Executive magazine will do a follow-up survey so when I become a soulless capitalist teabagger it will narrow down the countries I do my exploritory visits. Also, throw in a list of the best kiddie bordellos an executive can find entertainment in.

  27. Tired May 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Does anyone see a pattern with all the states listed? Yes, that’s right. All Democratic and union controlled.
    I’m tired of the hacks running this state into the ground and I hope that the people of Illinois wake up and change things in November. That goes for all you in Chicago and Cook County, too.

  28. Dave May 13, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    An income tax increase would effect the employees. Taxes on the business, I believe, fall under another code.

  29. Jimez May 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm
  30. reasonableman May 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Red states = highest poverty rates, lowest standard of living

  31. jkf May 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    for all you college kids writing in about “raping the land and people”, wait until you look for a job. The blue states are losing them fast, Illinois’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average.
    For you union clowns complaining, hope that unemployment check runs out fast. You and your unions are the cause of the loss of manufacturing jobs in the midwest. Congrats.
    For you idiots that believe that higher taxes are the answer, well, you are just plain hopeless and stupid.

  32. reasonableman May 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    jkf, You are absolutely right. We should have cut our workforce wage expectations to that of Bangladesh. How exactly did you think we should have responded?
    And you feel businesses should be free of any regulation, able to do and dump as they please?
    Your teabagger rhetoric is old and transparent. Move out of your mom’s basement and get a clue.

  33. Ron May 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    One thing in common for those last place states:
    They all are overwhelmingly controlled by Democratic Party, and guess who elected them ? You.
    So who should get blame – YOU people !

  34. Jim May 13, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    What CEO’s? The people that ran ENRON, EXELON(see Three Mile Island), AT&T, BP, CITGO, Lehman Brothers, and the newest entry Midwest Bank? These guys couldn’t organize a one car funeral! Why are they still doing business here? Because I’ll answer for you with one word. TALENT! If they think doing business in Alabama, Mississippi,Indiana is conducive to their company, then I say, have at it! Do they understand why it costs more? Education and talent! For that my dear “droogs” you have to pay!

  35. D Foster May 13, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Not a accident that, New York, New Jersey, California, Michigan and Massachusetts along with Illinois are at the bottom of this list.
    All, pro Labor Union, High business Tax Rate, Liberal Democrat,
    Large Illegal Immigrant population, Low graduation in Public School System.
    All of these states were once leaders and wealthly States,
    loss of Manufacturing Jobs and increase of Government Workers jobs, have contributed to the demise of these once leading States. Now, we see a excedus out of these states to Texas, Tennessee, Nevada and Florida. Too Bad.
    Loved living in Chicago of old. Not the Chicago of today,
    Cannot afford to park a car.

  36. Dale Ter Haar May 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Bones,the reason China leads in production is because they have a billion people willing to work for pennies a day because their only other option is starvation. China’s economic policy is designed to keep their people at a subsistence level so they can continue to drain developed countries of cash.
    The communist leaders by the way are as highly paid as our CEO’s.

  37. Jack Steen May 13, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    And WHY would the Captains of Industry say such bad things about Illinois ?
    Probably because Illinois has strong UNIONS that protect workers from abuse and guarantee high standards of living thru high wages and good benefits, negotiated thru fair and impartial bargaining and ultimately awards by government-appointed labor relations boards.
    Silly cornpone HillRods in South Carolina and Tennessee would rather keep unions out because they’re stupid and they believe their Republitard politicians when they tell them gun hugging is all right, abortion is bad, and unions are socialism on the march.
    You silly Republitard really need to go out to the garage and blow your brains out against the wall – do your family a favor !

  38. nancy May 14, 2010 at 11:02 a.m.

    It’s unfortunately true – our state is way too heavily controlled by Democrats and unions, have way too many illegal immigrants and entitlements that are running our taxes into the sky. That’s why most businesses don’t want to relocate here.
    Oh, Jack Steen – Your post says it all about why unions are a bad thing. Seriously, listen to the way you speak!

  39. Dan May 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Criminal class!? That’s the bums who live off us working people’s taxes, and use all the government resources and court system. I’ll take the corporations over you and your bum friends.

  40. caribbean workout May 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Also Pay Close Attention To This: