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Does Wisconsin or Illinois have better governor?

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Greg Peck
April 25, 2012

I read an interesting story from the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday that compares Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. Walker opened that door when he spoke in Illinois last week and stated that the state’s businesses will keep fleeing for Wisconsin as long as Illinois keeps raising taxes.

The story pointed out that even with the tax hikes, Illinois has corporate taxes that are lower than Wisconsin’s 7.9 percent rate. Personal income taxes for Illinois business owners also are lower. Only the poorest of Wisconsinites pay less than the poor in Illinois.

Wisconsin has lured FatWallet.com from Rockton, Ill., to Beloit and Catalyst Exhibits from Crystal Lake, Ill., to Kenosha. Quinn says Nippon Shayro, a railcar builder, will move from Wisconsin to Illinois after Walker rejected federal money to build high-speed rail from Milwaukee to Madison. Also, American Aluminum Extrusion went from Beloit to Roscoe, Ill., and Hotel Compete has moved from Glendale to Chicago, the Sun-Times reported.

The newspaper asked both governors’ offices to provide lists of poached businesses, but neither responded.

The Sun-Times also noted that from February last year to February this year, Wisconsin lost 16,000 jobs while Illinois gained 37,000, according to federal labor statistics.

The story on the front page of today’s Gazette says Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs from March 2011 to March 2012, making it the only state with “statistically significant” job losses during that period. Of those, 17,800 were government jobs. Wisconsin’s loss of 6,100 private-sector jobs was more than any other state.

The Walker administration, however, points out that other economic indicators are positive, including that the state’s unemployment rate has dipped from 7.6 percent to 6.8 percent in that March-to-March time frame.

How much do you fault Walker for our woeful job creation numbers? Are you holding him to his campaign goal of creating 250,000 private-sector jobs during his four-year term? Do you blame protesters and the pending Walker recall election for creating political uncertainty that might be holding back our state’s economy and job-creation efforts?

Wisconsinites will be hearing a lot more spin about these numbers as recall election advertising swamps the airwaves now and in the coming days.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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