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Caterpillar Staying in Illinois, CEO Tells Quinn

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After a meeting with Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman at Par-a-Dice Hotel, Gov. Pat Quinn talks about the Fortune 500 business' committment to the state of Illinois.

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Caterpillar's CEO says the Peoria-based, heavy machinery company doesn't plan to leave Illinois after all.

Doug Oberhelman met with Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday at Par-a-Dice Hotel to discuss the Fortune-500 business, which employs more than 23,000 in the state, and the company's future in Illinois.

The outcome? "Caterpillar is here to stay,” Oberhelman said after the meeting.

In late March, Oberhelman caused something of a media stir when a letter he had sent to Quinn, bemoaning the record Illinois sales tax increase and its potential effect on Caterpillar employees, was leaked.

"I want to stay here. But as the leader of this business, I have to do what's right for Caterpillar when making decisions about where to invest," Oberhelman had said. "The direction that this state is headed in is not favorable to business, and I'd like to work with you to change that."

Many inferred that Caterpillar was threatening to leave the state if the governor didn't do something to save the business. But Quinn said he didn't think Caterpillar was looking to take its business and the 23,000 employees that comprise it anywhere else.

Last week Oberhelman said his company had no plans to leave the state.
 
"The headlines were sensational -- they said things like, "'Cat leaving Illinois,' which isn't what the letter said," Oberhelman said in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in late March. "I actually said I'm looking forward to finding ways to invest more in Illinois."

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