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Will High Taxes in Illinois Scare Businesses Away?

2:52 PM, Feb 4, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Republican New Jersey governor Chris Christie is in Illinois today to try to convince businesses to leave that state for his. Christie’s argument is simple: Come to New Jersey for lower tax rates; stay in Illinois for higher taxes. 

The Star-Ledger reports:

The governor will travel to Chicago today, he said, as part of his efforts to recruit more businesses to the state.

"Both New Jersey and Illinois are providing business leaders with certainty," Christie said at a business symposium in Newark. "In New Jersey you can be certain taxes are going down over the next three years, and in Illinois you can be certain they are going up."

The governor’s office would not provide details of the trip.

"The purpose of the trip is for the governor to meet personally with Illinois business leaders about the current economic climate, challenges and obstacles they are facing," said spokesman Michael Drewniak. "This is not a grandstanding or media event. He wants to be able to have frank but private discussions with business leaders."

After tax rates skyrocketed in Illinois last month, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker also tried to poach business from the Prairie State. Walker said:

Wisconsin is open for business. In these challenging economic times while Illinois is raising taxes, we are lowering them. On my first day in office I called a special session of the legislature, not in order to raise taxes, but to open Wisconsin for business. Already the legislature is taking up bills to provide tax relief to small businesses, to create a job-friendly legal environment, to lessen the regulations that stifle growth and to expand tax credits for companies that relocate here and grow here. Years ago Wisconsin had a tourism advertising campaign targeted to Illinois with the motto, ‘Escape to Wisconsin.’ Today we renew that call to Illinois businesses, ‘Escape to Wisconsin.’ You are welcome here. Our talented workforce stands ready to help you grow and prosper. 

In January, at the eleventh hour, Illinois legislatures voted to increase taxes by 66 percent.

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