In Gov. Pat Quinn’s State of the State address, he said, “In our Illinois, small business means big business. Driving economic growth for small businesses requires doing all we can to make sure government is not in the way.”
Quinn is right. Illinois’ economic future depends on a vibrant economy where entrepreneurs can start and grow businesses, create jobs and compete.
Unfortunately, Quinn’s policy solutions contradict his rhetoric.
Quinn has been fighting for more government involvement in business, not less.
Despite the fact that Illinois already has $9.3 billion in unpaid bills, in his State of the State address Quinn advocated more government involvement in job creation and business activity: spending for roads, bridges, construction, high-speed rail, water infrastructure, technology, manufacturing and clean energy. More money for government projects requires higher revenues – this leads to calls for higher taxes, on top of the state’s highly regulated business climate. These factors explain why Illinois has one of the least competitive economies in the nation.
Illinois ranked 45th in gross domestic product growth from 2000 to 2010. Illinois’ combined federal and state corporate income tax is the fourth-highest in the industrialized world. And entrepreneurship in Illinois consistently lags behind the rest of the nation.
Illinois’ exploding government debt is crowding out business investment. Need evidence? Illinois has been downgraded 11 times since Quinn took office. The state has the worst credit rating in the nation.
The driver of Illinois’ disastrous business climate is a government that embraces corporate welfare, and continually increases taxes and burdensome regulations.
Illinois can lead the nation in economic output and job creation. But it must start by balancing the state budget, reining back out-of-control spending and taking government handouts off the balance sheets of politically connected businesses.
Ben VanMetre is Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst at the Illinois Policy Institute