Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rick Perry Wants To Move Your Job To Texas

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry is coming to Chicago next week, on a mission to poach local businesses for his state. Perry (who will be played in the movie by Josh Brolin) will be here on April 23 and 24 to meet with business leaders in the biotechnology and financial industries, and to speak at the 2013 BIO Conference. His arrival was preceded by this open letter to Illinois businesses:

If you’re a business owner in Illinois, I want to express my admiration for your ability to survive in an environment that, intentionally or not, is designed for you to fail.
 
With rising taxes and government interference on the upswing, your situation is not unlike a burning building on the verge of collapse. If you’re thinking of “just riding it out” you might want to reconsider.
 
There is an escape route to economic freedom… a route to Texas. The Lone Star State has proven that limited government, low taxes, and a pro-business mindset work wonders when it comes to job creation and a robust economy. If you’re ready for a fresh start in a place that appreciates job creators like you, it’s time to check out Texas.
 
Perry also provided a fact sheet, comparing Texas’s labor practices to Illinois. Forget about the “race to the bottom.” Texas is the bottom.
 
Unemployment rate
Illinois: 9.5 percent
Texas: 6.4 percent
 
Union membership rates:
Illinois: 14.6 percent
Texas: 5.7 percent
 
Workers’ compensation benefits (per $100 of covered wages)
Illinois: $1.10
Texas: 39 cents
 
Average hourly earnings, manufacturing
Illinois: $24.72
Texas: $19.66
 
Those statistics may be useful to the owner of steel processing plant, or an appliance manufacturer, but not to the businesses Perry is trying to attract. Biotechnology and finance require skilled, educated professionals, not blue-collar workers willing to accept low wages and benefits. Here are more pertinent comparisons between Illinois and Texas.
 
Percentage of adults with college degrees
Illinois 30.7
Texas 26.1
 
Percentage of adults with high school degrees
Illinois 86.6
Texas 80.8
 
Nobel Prize winners affiliated with Illinois universities: 121
Nobel Prize winners affiliated with Texas universities: 23
 
Illinois hospitals on the U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll: Northwestern Memorial.
Texas hospitals on the U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll: None
Daily volume on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange: 13.4 million contracts
Daily volume on the East Texas Livestock Exchange: 705 head
 
        Cabinet departments President Barack Obama of Illinois wants to close: None
 
        Cabinet departments would-be president Rick Perry of Texas wants to close: “Commerce,                 Education, and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see.The third agency of government I             would — I would do away with, Education, the . . . Commerce and, let’s see . . . I can’t. The third           one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
 
         Wars overseen by presidents from Illinois: Civil
         Wars overseen by presidents from Texas: Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq
 
         In all those categories, we are the clear winner.

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