The Times of Northwest Indiana

Topinka says Illinois’ financial situation driving business to surrounding states

Thursday, September 12, 2013

TINLEY PARK, Ill. | Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Monday the state's financial problems are scaring businesses away from locating in Illinois.

Topinka used a luncheon gathering of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce to praise local business interests that stay in Illinois despite the multimillion dollar deficit in the public pension programs and the more than $5 billion in unpaid bills.

“Why would any business executive seriously consider coming to Illinois, knowing that they would wind up inheriting these problems and having to help pay for them,” Topinka said.

“It’s hard enough for a business to start up, and (Illinois government problems are) a lot of extra baggage for an aspiring company to take on,” she said.

The comptroller said state government finance problems overcome Illinois’ advantages, which she defined as Chicago’s cultural amenities and the infrastructure that makes Chicago the nation’s transportation hub.

“Who would want to live in Indiana in their right mind,” Topinka said, while adding, “Illinois should be a destination state. But it has developed all these problems that is causing people to consider other states when doing business.”

Topinka said the development of a new Chicago-area airport in rural Will County near Peotone along with construction of the Illiana Expressway would give significant boosts to the south suburbs.