Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb showed up in Gary recently wearing a hard hat and holding a shovel ... doing two important things: welcoming a trucking company from south suburban Chicago Ridge, and taking a dig at Illinois.The editors are finding it hard to be boosters, with Illinois in the fiscal and political morass it is.
“We are thrilled to welcome HMD Trucking to Indiana, home to balanced budgets, a AAA credit rating and a low cost of doing business,” Holcomb said. “It is clear why HMD Trucking decided to move from Illinois to Indiana. We have become the best state in the Midwest to start, get and grow jobs.”
Indiana is in fine fettle, while Illinois is a basket case, with more than a $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, an unbalanced budget and $15 billion in overdue bills. Illinois has higher taxes, too, which would need to be raised even higher to right the ship. We have no idea what that would cost taxpayers, given that the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, ruled by House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, has resisted Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on his turnaround plan. This constitutes a major roadblock to future job growth and prosperity.And that rate is with Illinois losing population, particularly productive population, to other states.
Employers don’t want to pay for someone else’s dysfunction. They want to grow in a healthy, stable environment. They want trustworthy government, simplified regulations and the lowest costs possible. So things keep looking worse in Illinois, and better in Indiana. Chief Executive magazine ranks Indiana No. 5 in the country for business, with Illinois at No. 48. US News & World Report has Indiana as the No. 1 “best state for government,” while Illinois is No. 47. The major credit rating agencies all give Indiana a top score and put Illinois at the bottom.
As for the proposed Toyota/Mazda plant, we’re rooting for Illinois, of course. But the precariousness of this state is a big red flag. The only negative comment we’ve seen about Indiana is that its 3.1 percent unemployment rate could be too low. “The job market is so strong that automakers might have a hard time finding enough employees,” USA Today reported. Illinois’ jobless rate is 4.8 percent, higher than the 4.3 percent national rate.