Who’s got the better gov?
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter email@example.com April 22, 2012 3:54PM
Updated: May 24, 2012 8:04AM
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker opened and closed last week speaking in Illinois about how his budgeting in his state — including killing public unions’ right to collective bargaining — has helped his state more than the Democrats’ approach in Illinois.
Illinois’ Gov. Pat Quinn, who raised the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates to plug the state’s budget holes, responded Friday, “Since the recovery began, we’ve created 142,000 private-sector jobs. Wisconsin has created none. They’re dead-last. Whatever they’re doing up there is not working for the economy.”
So who’s right? Which governor’s approach has helped his state’s economy more?
The public record so far would seem to back up Quinn on most points, but Walker on a few.
From February of last year to February of this year, Wisconsin has lost 16,000 jobs while Illinois has gained 37,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Quinn inherited a state with the worst deficit in the country when it comes to funding state pensions and it retains that dubious dishonor. But a far-reaching plan Quinn introduced Friday with bipartisan support would fix that if it can pass court challenges.
Walker has slammed Quinn and the Democratic legislative leadership in Illinois for hiking the state’s personal income tax in Illinois from 3 percent to 5 percent and the corporate tax rate from 4.8 percent to 7 percent.
Walker said in Springfield on Tuesday and in Chicago Friday that businesses will keep fleeing Illinois for Wisconsin as long as taxes here keep going up.
But even with the hikes, Illinois’ corporate taxes are lower than Wisconsin’s 7.9 percent rate. And personal income taxes are lower in Illinois for business owners. Wisconsin has a progressive income tax ranging from 4.6 to 7.5 percent. Only the poorest Dairy State residents pay less than their Illinois counterparts.
At a Tea Party rally in Daley Plaza April 16, Walker’s Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch boasted of luring FatWallet.com from Rockton to Beloit after Illinois passed an internet sales tax.
Catalyst Exhibits moved from Crystal Lake to Kenosha.
But Quinn said he is looking forward to welcoming Nippon Shayro railcar builders from Wisconsin to Illinois after Walker spurned federal matching dollars to build high-speed rail from Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison to Minneapolis. Illinois got that money and is using it to upgrade rail service to St. Louis.
American Aluminum Extrusion Co. went from Beloit, Wis., to just south of the Illinois border to Roscoe to build a new plant, and Hotel Compete moved from Glendale, Wis., to Chicago.
The Sun-Times invited both Quinn’s and Walker’s offices to provide a list of businesses they have poached from each other’s states, and neither office responded.
Walker and Kleefisch say local governments including school boards around Wisconsin are realizing savings because of his controversial decision to end collective bargaining rights for public sector unions.
Wisconsin boasts a lower unemployment rate — 6.9 percent — than Illinois, where the rate is 9.1 percent, according to a Bloomberg story last week which nonetheless gave Illinois a much higher ranking in its Economic Evaluation of States Index. Illinois was third in the country on that gauge of personal income, tax revenue and employment; while Bloomberg ranked Wisconsin at 42nd in the country.
Walker faces a recall election June 5.