After Tax Hikes, Illinois Bribing Companies To Stay In The State

Earlier this year states bordering Illinois were “gleeful” at proposed tax hikes intended to close the “Land of Lincoln” state’s huge budget shortfalls. The glee was based on predictions that the tax hikes would drive businesses out of Illinois and into bordering states.

It turns out that the glee was well justified, as Illinois now tries desperately to bribe businesses to stay in the state with huge economic development packages.

Motorolla just got a $100 million bribe, and now hardware giant Sears and sandwich restaurant chain Jimmy Johns want bribes too.

But this begs the question: Wouldn’t it be easier to keep these companies in the state, and even attract new businesses and thus jobs and economic activity, by just lowering taxes? Or at least keeping them lower in the first place?

Raising taxes and then turning around and trying to bribe these businesses into staying in the state seems like the height of lunacy. Not to mention a recipe for graft and corruption. After all, who gets to decide which businesses get an extra special incentives package to stay in the state and which don’t?

The moral of this story is that the best “economic development” policies any given state or community could have is lower taxes and limited government.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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