Gov. Pat Quinn and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker attacked each other's economic management this week. Walker visited Springfield on Tuesday, where he told the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, “When you raise taxes on business and individuals, it drives away wealth.”
Quinn responded the next day with a press release that claimed, “Since Governor Walker took office, Wisconsin is dead last among the 50 states in job growth.”
Who’s right? According to Bloomberg News, Illinois outperformed Wisconsin in job creation in the year after we raised taxes and they inaugurated Walker.
Illinois ranked third while Wisconsin placed 42nd in the most recent Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States index, which includes personal income, tax revenue and employment. Illinois gained 32,000 jobs in the 12 months ending in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found. Wisconsin, where Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs with the help of business-tax breaks, lost 16,900.
According to Edward Hill, an economist at Cleveland State University, Wisconsin has trouble competing for jobs with Illinois because “it does not have the economic engine of Chicago.”
Which suggests that success or failure of Quinn and Walker has less to do with their governing philosophies, and more to do with the 1818 decision to move the Illinois border from a line level with the southern end of Lake Michigan to a spot 55 miles to the north, thus placing Chicago within Illinois. That ensured that we would become an urban, industrial state, while Wisconsin would become a rural Dairy Republic, prone to electing such lying, right-wing politicians as Joe McCarthy and Scott Walker.
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