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Indiana Becomes First Right-to-Work State in Rust Belt

3:31 PM, Feb 1, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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According to the Associated Press, Governor Mitch Daniels just signed legislation making Indiana a right-to-work state:

Indiana has become the first Rust Belt state to enact the contentious right-to-work labor law prohibiting labor contracts that require workers to pay union representation fees.

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill Wednesday after it passed the Senate following weeks of discord that saw House Democrats boycott the Legislature and thousands of protesters gather at the Statehouse.

Tellingly, Pat Quinn, governor of neighboring Illinois, is already criticizing the move:

As Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels prepares to sign right-to-work legislation into law, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said he's not worried about the move driving companies out of Illinois and to Indiana.

Before Quinn presented his State of the State address Wednesday, he told CBS Chicago that most Illinois businesses are happy with union labor, and that prohibiting unions from requiring representation fees is a bad policy.

“That ain’t gonna happen, I’ll tell you that," Quinn said, when asked by CBS whether businesses will leave Illinois for Indiana.

Anyone want to place any bets on whether businesses suffering union headaches aren't going to pack-up and relocate to Indiana—parts of which are in commuting distance to Chicago? (Of course, businesses were already leaving Illinois thanks to Quinn's massive tax hikes.) Oh and before Quinn criticizes Daniels further, we should note the critical distinction between the two when it comes to dealing with unions. Unlike Quinn, when Daniels was running for office he didn't sell out:

In the run-up to a tough election, the state’s Democratic governor Pat Quinn gave 40,000 state workers a two-year 14 percent raise, at a total cost of $1 billion in a state that is facing a $15 billion deficit and lagging $6.8 billion behind in paying its creditors. Quinn also agreed not to lay off any of the state’s 50,000 unionized employees for two years. The deal was unveiled just days after Quinn received the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Quinn, who had assumed the governorship after the impeachment of Governor Rod Blagojevich, narrowly won election with full-throated union support. One of his first acts upon taking office was to push through a 67 percent increase in the personal income tax and a 46 percent hike in the business tax.

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