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Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Quinn To Walker: "I Know You Are, But What Am I?"

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Pat Quinn reacted to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's speech in Illinois yesterday.

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker addressed the Illinois Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Showing off the abrasiveness and combativeness that has caused him to become the third governor in American history to face a recall election, Walker devoted most of his speech to attacking the governor of his host state. (Walker likes to brag about his courage, but he seems not to know the difference between “courage” and “picking a fight wherever you go, with everyone you meet.”)

    Walker never referred to Pat Quinn by name, referring only to Illinois’s “Democrat leadership.” But he criticized Illinois for raising its income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent, failing to balance its budget, cutting Medicaid payments and reducing the number of state employees. He also chortled about bringing an “Escape To Wisconsin” bumper sticker to Chicago, in an attempt to lure businesses to the other side of the Cheddar Curtain.

    Quinn and Walker aren’t very friendly. Quinn held off for months on settling an 2011 NFC Championship game bet that required him to wear a Packers jersey and work in a Wisconsin food pantry, not wanting to visit the state while pro-labor demonstrators were occupying its capitol. Yesterday, Quinn’s office was so cheesed off at Walker it sent Ward Room a complete rebuttal, which we’re publishing below:

    Wisconsin has one of the ten worst business tax climates in the nation, according to the bi-partisan Tax Foundation. In its 2012 report, the foundation ranks Wisconsin a dismal 43rd among the 50 states for business-friendly tax environments. Illinois is 28. (Tax Foundation, 2012 State Business Tax Climate Index, January, 2012, Number 62)‬
    Governor Walker’s budget calls for raising local property taxes in Wisconsin by nearly a half-billion dollars ($ 483.8 million).‬
    Since Governor Walker took office, Wisconsin is dead last among the 50 states in job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics).‬
    Wisconsin lost 21,000 jobs in 2011, the worst performance in the nation. During the same period, Illinois added 32,000 jobs (BLS).‬
    Private-sector job growth in Wisconsin ranks 36th in the nation and lags far behind its Midwestern neighbors, including Illinois (BLS).‬
    Illinois exports grew by 28.98 percent in 2011, leading the Midwest with exports growing at nearly double the national average of 16 percent among the 50 states.‬
    Wisconsin’s export growth of 11.41 percent was well below the national average, placing it 5th among Midwestern  states.
    Walker’s budget actually increases state spending by $1.1 billion.‬
    The Walker budget increases taxes on seniors and working families by reducing the Homestead Tax Credit.‬
    Wisconsin has cut the Earned Income Tax Credit, raising taxes on low-wage workers with children.‬
    Walker has pushed taxes down to the local level with massive property tax increases.‬

    ‪‬Jobs FACTS in Illinois‬

    Illinois added 6,500 jobs in February.
    Illinois has added 130,700 private sector jobs since January 2010 when job growth returned to Illinois. Since January 2010, leading growth sectors are Professional and Business Services (+67,800); Educational and Health Services (+31,300); Manufacturing (+28,600); and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+12,800). Government has lost the most jobs since January 2010, down 25,900. This includes federal, state and local government.
    Since the recovery began in January 2010, Illinois has averaged 4,000 new jobs each month. During the recession, Illinois lost, on average, 18,000 jobs each month.
    The Feb. 2012 unemployment rate is 9.1 percent. In January, it was 9.4 percent. The data is seasonally adjusted. The last time the Illinois rate was below 9.1 percent was March 2009 when it was 9.0 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in February, unchanged from January.-Feb is the sixth consecutive month that the unemployment rate fell.
    Historically, the national unemployment rate is lower than the state rate. Only six times since January 2000 has the Illinois rate been lower than the nation’s. That period includes times of economic expansion and contraction.
    In February 2012, the number of unemployed individuals fell for the sixth consecutive month, decreasing -21,500 (-3.5 percent) to 598,600. Total unemployed has declined 154,200 (-20.5 percent) since January 2010 when the state unemployment rate peaked at 11.4 percent. The rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. There are 5,990,700 people working in Illinois.

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