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The first tax hike casualty

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011

* Jimmy John Liautaud, the founder of the Jimmy John’s sandwich store chain headquartered in Champaign, has rented a house in Florida and enrolled his students in school there because he’s furious about the state tax hike

“All they do is stick it to us,” he said, adding that the Legislature and governor showed “a clear lack of understanding.”

“I could absorb this and adapt, but it doesn’t feel good in my soul to make it happen,” Liautaud said.[…]

Liautaud said he has been contacted by “multiple pro-business states” that made him feel “wanted and important.”

“I enjoy being courted and the process,” he said.

The company employs 100 people at its Champaign headquarters. The board of directors will decide later whether to move the company. Liautaud told the News-Gazette that he plans to commute from Florida to Champaign during the interim.

The tax hike was apparently the last straw. He was picketed by local unions for using non-union labor to build a shop not long ago. He wasn’t happy about that…

He said he’s sick of being “pummeled.”

“I’m not sophisticated enough, smart enough or politically correct enough to absorb it all,” he said.

* And while other states are scrambling to create maximum fear and loathing among Illinois business owners, our state’s economic outreach program took it on the chin when its top guy got popped for a DUI

The director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in his personal vehicle last week.

Warren C. Ribley, 53, of Pajim Lane was taken to the Sangamon County Jail following a traffic stop at MacArthur Boulevard and Wabash Avenue.

Great. Just great. This state can’t buy a break. Just when we need him most, Ribley gets himself in trouble.

* Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker is using Illinois’ tax hike and a proposed Minnesota tax hike to gin up the locals and keep the story alive

Governor Scott Walker traveled around the state today to unveil additions to the signs that welcome people as they cross the state borders. Laura Podgornik reports from Superior.

Construction workers placed red “Open for Business” plaques onto the four “Welcome to Wisconsin” signs in Beloit, Dickeyville, Hudson, and Superior. Walker says he hopes the signs will attract businesses to move into Wisconsin and help bolster the state economy.

“The biggest issue is jobs I hear that all the time when I’m up here in Douglas County and really in the Northwest in Ashland, in Bayfield, in Burnett and surrounding counties. It’s about jobs. It’s about getting the economy going again. So what we’re talking about not only with the sign but is making it more attractive for job creators to continue to grow and invest here and for that matter, for those from other states to find it attractive to bring their jobs here.”

Walker says he is unveiling the signs in light of tax hikes in Illinois but he hopes to attract businesses from all bordering states including businesses based in Duluth.

* And it’s no different in Indiana

Chicago business leaders still smarting over Illinois lawmakers’ decision to raise personal and corporate income taxes were greeted Tuesday by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s smiling mug in their morning newspaper. A full-page ad purchased by a city economic development group in the Chicago Tribune — and two other downstate newspapers — extolled our fair city’s friendlier business climate.

Soon, business execs might see billboards hyping the Hoosier state’s lower tax rates while they sit in Chicago traffic.

But as state and city economic development leaders compete with surrounding states to capitalize on Illinois’ tax mess, there is one line that Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob says he won’t cross as the state contemplates its own ad campaign.

Slapping ads on the side of Chicago city buses — well, that would just be unseemly.

I’m not sure I’d sell them a blog ad, either. Although, if the price is right…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:50 am:

    I’m still trying to figure out why someone would move to the cheese-head state where they would pay a higher income tax in order to oppose our lower one.

  2. - N'ville - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:50 am:

    I think your headline should be “The 12,910,410th Tax Hike Casualty”. The first 12,910,409 were the citizens of Illinois.

  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:52 am:

    ===where they would pay a higher income tax in order to oppose our lower one. ===

    It’s about domestic politics as much or more as it is about poaching our businesses.

  4. - dave - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:53 am:

    Jimmy John Liautaud

    This guy has given a ton of money to Republicans in IL, including McKenna, Cross, Rutherford?

    I am not convinced that this guy is not attempting to make a political statement rather than an economics/business statement.

  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:53 am:

    Anyone else think Jimmy John is bluffing to get a sweetheart deal from Champaign/Springfield?

    This anti-tax hysteria is a fad, and will fade soon enough. We shouldn’t be calling attention to these few isolated, knee jerk anti-government reactionaries.

  6. - Bill - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:55 am:

    Seeya, Jimmy John. I have no problem with you peddling your salmanella laced junk food from your new base in Florida.
    I’m sure you will be able to find a lot of scab labor down there too. Just make sure you and your minimum wage employees pay all of their Illinois sales tax and income tax.

  7. - SLICK NICK - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:56 am:

    Mr. Warren C. Ribley was probably out with some big business leaders showing them a good time. Just watch all of the big businesses moving to Illinois because of Mr. Ribley’s night out on the town. Come on, who does not need a drink, with the State running as smoothly as it is, and with all of the companies wanting to move to Illinois, great times are here to stay. We have Big Business right where we want them, moving out of the State. Just think of the upside, we can tear down all of the vacant commercial property, take them off of the property tax rolls, and turn them into parks, so people can set up tent cities in them. Fantastic.

  8. - dave - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:56 am:

    This guy has given a ton of money to Republicans in IL, including McKenna, Cross, Rutherford?

    And I should add… $110,000 to Brady.

  9. - Deep South - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:58 am:

    I won’t be spending money at Jimmy John’s anymore. Plenty of other places sell the same stuff they offer. Why go to Jimmy John’s…what a quitter!

  10. - Mex Girl - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:59 am:

    Ugh. Good riddance. Jimmy John’s sandwiches should go with him. The food was not fresh the first time I ate there. The 2nd time it was the same.

  11. - mz - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:59 am:

    How awful, a guy who started in a garage giving money to another small businessman…someone who might understand that making it harder to business isn’t going to attract business.

  12. - lincoln's beard - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:00 am:

    Well, here they come, the representatives of business, lining up to extort the state for a little corporate welfare. Threaten to move, add in some nonsense about how much you “love” the state. Then hit up the legislature for a tax break, a loophole, an “incentive”.

  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:01 am:

    –“I enjoy being courted and the process,” he said.

    When asked whether Illinois could do anything now to change his mind, he said “the state could say they made a mistake” and “apologize.”–

    It’s nothing personal, Jimmy, it’s just business.

    Sounds like someone’s angling for a handout from DCEO to help with those headquarters’ expansion plans.

    He’s not the first guy who got rich building a business from nothing in Illinois to take a house in Florida. That’s kind of the point of the exercise, isn’t it?

    He’s not shutting down those Illinois franchises, is he? I take it they still make money. Hopefully, that will help soothe his hurt feelings.

  14. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:03 am:

    Someone might point out to Mr. JimmyJohn that if he earns money in IL he pays tax in IL no matter where he stores his kids…btw where they in a public school before the escape? Does he vote or just donate?
    BTW-2 GOV Cheesehead must feel bad that he did not snare the biggondola.

  15. - Anon - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:04 am:

    But does he plan to continue to sell sandwhiches in Illinois or is he going to close up all the Illinois shops so he doesn’t have to pay any Illinois tax? If so, I think Subway would stand to benefit.

  16. - Jo - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:04 am:

    So he is renting a house in Florida……

    But where does he keep his underwear!?!?!

  17. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:05 am:


    Businessmen look at the future, 5-10 years down the road. Perhaps they look at the total tax burden a state has (WI is higher than IL, though not by much) and what they think will be predictable stability in state finances. For this, one would look at not only the tax burden now, but down the road a piece.

    Illinois has built in a 2% increase in spending, and has a much worse pension funding problem than WI. Workers Comp in Illinois is about the worse mess in the US. These alone may open the door to future revenue enhancers in Illinois, and detract from the stability that business owners seek.

    We now have an opportunity to see if the Keyensian approach launched by Quinn is the way to go. On a cautionary note, this approach has been tried numerous times in the past, and usually results in abject failure. Perhaps Quinn will beat the odds on his bet. But for the next couple of years (at least) the risk of failure to fix Illinois finances makes Illinois a risky bet, which is unfortunate since we have an extremely well educated labor pool and a great infrastructure for businesses to utilize.

  18. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:06 am:

    Rich boy feels bad in his soul to have to pay the taxes that educate his workers, pave the roads his delivery drivers use, pay the cops that chase the stickup men, provide inspectors who keep his food safe. Oh so sad.

    How you gonna like that Florida cost of living? How you gonna like those sales and property taxes? What? Do you think living in Florida is free? Crybaby.

    I’m going only to locally owned sub shops from now on.

  19. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:09 am:

    Wordslinger and lincoln’s beard are correct…anyone who’s read Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers sees the shakedown for what it is.

    Meantime, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, Illinois Chamber, and Illinois Retail Merchants need to thing long and hard about what their end game is.

    They created this hysteria, but they have the most to lose if a true stampede ensues.

    Retailers, manufacturers, and other businesses that move out of state have no reason to maintain their membership in Illinois associations, and thereby fund their staff and executive directors.

  20. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:10 am:

    Personally, I buy my subs from Head West in Springfield. Local folks and they’re always playing jam band music in their stores.

    I can understand some anger at Jimmy John, but let’s not get carried away here. Eye on the ball and all that.

  21. - phocion - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    “salmanella laced junk food”
    “The food was not fresh the first time I ate there. The 2nd time it was the same.”

    Seriously, Rich? I’m surprised you left these posts up. The first one could actually being actionable. You must be feeling magnanimous today, Rich. Usually posts of this nature would be gone and the commenters banned.

  22. - piling on - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:23 am:

    How about ol Jimmy offer to reimburse the state for all the Illinois taxpayer resources used to try to sort out the salmonella episode. That’s a service the state provides when there’s a public health outbreak.
    At least he knows where his tax dollars are going … to investigate the safety of the food his business serves. Funny, seems like the kind of thing his business should be paying for rather than everyone else in Illinois.

  23. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:24 am:

    phocion, Jimmy John’s was in the news recently for a salmonella problem. As for the freshness of the food, who am I to judge what somebody experienced? Actionable? Hardly.

  24. - MikeMacD - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:24 am:

    Jobs related to the manufacture, transportation and intstallation of signage in Wisconsin have been created or maintained by Governor Walker’s actions.

    This is my take away.

  25. - sal-says - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:24 am:


    Betcha I won’t being going to any Jimmy Johns in the next while.

    Also, isn’t this the guy with this problem: ‘Dec 21, 2010 … Jimmy John’s stores have stopped serving alfalfa sprouts because they may contain salmonella.’? (from WGN). He’s got more problems than IL.

  26. - Bitterman - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:32 am:

    Most posters here have never signed the FRONT of a paycheck so should lay off the big bad business owners, such as Jimmy John Liautuad. Yeah, he’s probably blowing off some steam but what you don’t know is that the tax deal is just one more thing (the final straw in some cases) that make running a business here a very tough row to hoe. This guy’s sub shops and yes Head Wests too, employ lots of peeps. And no, most of the workers are not heads of households, most are young and in there first jobs. And why does he contribute to R’s? Probably cause they support business friendly policies. Why do unions support D’s?

  27. - Vito - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    Jimmy John did not like the super freaky, super fast way that Mike Madigan and John Cullerton passed the tax increase in the legislature and Governor Sub signed it.

  28. - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    Most of you have your heads in the sand. Of course the franchises will stay. But, moving the headquarters will cost jobs. Do you guys not see the trickle effects? When one business owner moves, he brings a trail of jobs. He doesn’t just bring his employees, but he brings jobs for people who provide goods and services to him and his employees. Mechanics, Restaurants, Construction workers, etc all benefit when a company moves to the area. Go ahead and keep bashing business owners. Act like it does not matter. But it does.

  29. - Wally - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    Good luck to Jimmy John. With all of the criticism here in this thread, I see no one praised him for giving $5 million to the U of I system. You know, the university system that is still waiting for all of its funding from the state.

    Way to go Dem leadership. I hope the guy moves to Florida and takes his HQ with him. Maybe some people will wake up!

  30. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    Rich, there is also Monty’s can’t go wrong at either one!

  31. - S - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:47 am:

    I don’t believe Jimmy John is putting on airs.

    He’s not going to pull his kids out of school in IL, enroll them in FL, then pull them back out and return to IL.

    FL has no state income tax (lots of $ when you make millions), lower gas prices (according to the AAA daily fuel gauge report), better weather and a weaker real estate market (= better land deals).

    He’s actually backing up his words with actions. Respect, Jimmy John. We’ll miss you.

  32. - K3 - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:49 am:

    Let ‘em leave. The sandwiches are crappy anyway. Around here, there are 2 franchises owned by a guy who is a cookie cutter cut-out of Liautaud. Uses scab labor on everything he does. And the food is never fresh.

    I’m getting real sick of all these people trying to score political points off the tax hike. I have yet to hear or read any real solutions proposed by any of these people. Have they thought about what would have happened if the tax increase had failed? What about the tens of thousands of people who work at not-for-profits that would have shut down? What about small time pharmacies and small businesses owed hundreds of thousands by the state? How many people would they have laid off? All fewer people that can buy Liautaud’s sandwiches.

  33. - S - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:50 am:

    Just ran the cost of living calculators on bankrate and bestplaces… if he moves from Champaign to Orlando (just a hypothetical), the cost of living is cheaper in Florida.

    Not to mention the money saved on no state income tax.

    Good luck, Jimmy John. Glad your sandwiches are staying.

  34. - sylvia - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:51 am:

    The morning’s commentaries seem to find little to no impact on business by increasing taxes and suggests hysteria is the culprit causing any concern.[9:53] I respectfully disagree and I’m not hysterical.Certainly the moving vans won’t be clogging the highways,but states enticing future offers,[or as we call them in Illinois,”Deals”],could well hurt our economy.That may be the long term price for us allowing our nearsighted and/or corrupt executive branch and legislature to mismanage our government for many,many years.They approve increasing our burden,with no demonstration or intent to cut spending,and we just let them do it.If there was any indication of cuts,it would be more palatable-there wasn’t.For instance,you’ve heard of the cost cutting by ISP through retiring ranking officers.Well new promotions that negate much of the touted saving went into effect 2 weeks ago,and more promotions are due next month.That type of business as usual is probably common throughout most state agencies.Hysteria?..NO Frustration?…YES

  35. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:53 am:

    ===there is also Monty’s===

    Good place, but not close to my house. Head West is close and they deliver.

  36. - dave - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:57 am:

    Head West is close and they deliver.

    How do you then get the jam bands in the background if they deliver? Do the drivers turn up their car stereos really loud?

  37. - Fed up - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:58 am:

    Wow a buisnessman builds a succesful company based in Illinois and expresses his frustration with being lied to by Quinn and have his taxes raised twice the announced amount. So he gets blasted in a blog this is still America he has every right to speak up and declare his displeasure with the states mismanagement corruption and constant lies. I still don’t really thunk we will lose alot of existing business’s. I do however believe the state will lose out on start ups that are needed to create jobs.

  38. - Jo - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:59 am:

    I wonder what the economic impact would be on Champaign if the University of Illinois no longer received state funding…

  39. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 10:59 am:

    ===this is still America he has every right to speak up===

    Yes, he does. But so do the commenters.

  40. - Wally - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:00 am:

    K3, don’t blame Jimmy John for the things you have listed. Blame the Dem leadership for giving us a 13-15 billion dollar hole. They raise taxes, kill businesses and business people, but will secure votes from the entitlement recipients.

  41. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:00 am:

    dave, I’ve never used their delivery service. My house is very difficult to find, by design.

  42. - reformer - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:01 am:

    Running a business in IL would get easier if the worker’s comp bill had passed. Earlier this mont, three of the four Republicans in committee voted NO on the reform bill that was so strongly embraced by the Chamber and IMA.

  43. - K3 - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:03 am:

    Wally, Dems and Republicans can share responsibility for kicking the can down the road and creating that $15 Billion hole

  44. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    ===If there was any indication of cuts,it would be more palatable-there wasn’t.===


    I get that people are not happy about the tax hike. I’m not happy about it either. But please for the love of God, do a tiny bit of research before claiming there haven’t been any cuts.

    Almost every single diatribe here lately railing against the tax hike claims there were no cuts. These same people can’t be bothered to open a budget book and read. Lord knows most reporters aren’t doing the job of getting the info out to the public and the Governor’s team is apparently curled up in the fetal position under a desk somewhere.

    We’ve been cutting the budget for two years. You can look it up.

  45. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    Actually, my favorite thing about Jimmy John’s is that they sell their day old bread for about 50 cents a loaf. I’ve used it for everything from sandwiches to French toast to homemade stuffing.

    I suppose the cost of living in Florida is lower not only due to lack of income tax but also because you don’t need to heat your home in the winter; however, the cost of air conditioning may cancel that out. On the other hand, isn’t homeowners insurance sky high there due to all the hurricanes?

  46. - Trusth Seeker - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    We need to understand that the folks are truly at their wits end with government spending and the taxes associated with that spending. This movement just gains more momentum when we get more of the same.

  47. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    If only Jimmy would have put all of his money toward getting marijuana legalized, his increased revenue would more than make up for the tax increase.

  48. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    SS, they have a service tax down there, on just about everything.

  49. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:09 am:

    The ad hominem attacks here on Jimmy John’s read like unfiltered reader comments on a newspaper website. So much for intelligent discourse.

    Seems like if JJ had gotten the DUI and put the lives of others in danger, he’d have more respect or at least no derision for reckless actions.

  50. - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:13 am:

    More cuts, and “freezes” were possible. I can’t believe that everyone forgets about the tax increases in 2009 for the Capital Bill. Read this article:

  51. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:14 am:

    standonprinciple, it’s forgotten because it had bipartisan support.

  52. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:17 am:

    Using Low Observable Technology, Rich’s hard is indeed hard to find. Rich’s house uses a series of different defenses to make it hard to find.

    Instead of a typical box shape, Rich’s house uses a series of re-entrant triangles and other tri-hedral shapes. While providing stealth, it does present a problem with interior decorating, and further explains Rich’s lack of hair because he keeps scraping his head on the ceiling-walls.

    Rich uses nothing but radar absorbing materials such as ferrite embedded carbon composite materials, or in many places, wood held together by nails. Painted with a radar absorbing paint using the latest digital camouflage patterns provides almost complete invisibility to the casual delivery boy.

    As a last resort, chaff dispensers surround the perimeter of the property and are only used sparely because Rich does not like picking bits of aluminized mylar out of his teeth.

  53. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:21 am:

    lol, Cincinnatus.

    Don’t forget the anti-aircraft weapons.

    In all seriousness, though, there are three different streets with the same name within about a half mile of each other, making it very difficult to find. And GPS leads you to my neighbor’s house. So if that truly lovely couple next door ever gets whacked, I know it’s time to move.

  54. - Wally - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:21 am:

    Rich, what was the state deficit when Blago took office?

    The feds decrease taxes with hopes people will stimulate the economy. The Illinois Dem leadership just took that pay increase and more, so that little plan went up in smoke.

    My wife and I will make little changes to overcome the tax increase, such as not eating out as much. Being more prudent with our purchases, etc. But, how does it help the economy.

    I love how Jimmy John is getting ripped when he is just saying what all business people are thinking. I don’t blame him one bit. Rich boy??? He has the true rags to riches story. He created a huge success! I have a feeling most posters being critical of him accomplish little in their lives. Pretty sad.

  55. - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:22 am:


    In Illinois it’s not bipartisan, it’s colussion.

    There were solutions other than raising taxes - again. People need to stop saying there was no other option. Maybe a realistic alternative was not presented by either party, but there were options.

    If Illinois is dumb enough to spend $500 Million on things like “weatherization”, we will continue our march towards becoming Michigan.

    If we don’t start fighting the waste, fraud, and corruption WE WILL ALL LOSE.

  56. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:22 am:

    ===Rich, what was the state deficit when Blago took office?===

    $5 billion.

  57. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:23 am:

    ===but there were options. ===

    Yeah. Eliminating a third to a half of all state government.

  58. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:23 am:

    Well, Rich, you did say it was hard to FIND. I thought it better to not reference your Tier II defensive systems…

  59. - Wally - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    Thanks Rich. So, in 8 years, the budget deficit has nearly tripled, under Dem leadership. Hmmm, economy was good in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, much of 2008. And, unemployment was low.

    Wonder how that happened????

  60. - S - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    1.) Flordia’s service tax was repealed the same year it was implemented according to:

    There may have been a new service tax implemented since, but couldn’t find anything indicating that’s the case. Rich would know better than I.

    2.) IL general sales tax is higher than FL general sales tax of 6.0%.

    Don’t get how FL funds all their state services, etc. without a state income tax and a lower sales tax than us. Weird.

    The money’s got to come from somewhere…

    Jimmy John could have picked a worse place to move. Buenas suerte, JJL! Adios!

  61. - downstate hack - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    I too prefer Monty’s and Head West to Jimmy John’s, but let’s not forget the small local businesses are more likely to be hurt the most by the Tax hikes.
    Jimmy can move to Florida, they can’t.

  62. - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:32 am:


    Come on. The $31 Billion capital bill is bloated with pork. It is massively larger than any other state’s capital bill. There was more than enough room to pay all the bills AND do necessary improvements to infrastructure. All the schools, doctors, etc would could have been paid without cutting anything.

    But, I deal with government enough to see that there is still other waste to be had.

  63. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    Wally, don’t be deliberately obtuse. When the economy crashed, so did the budget.

    And S, they still have it.

  64. - S - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    Cincinnatus, hilarious!

    I accidentally stepped on his property once while walking my dog and lost a foot… won’t make that mistake again!

  65. - western illinois - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    How about Somalia. There is no government there. Head off foes of government make your fortune. I will stay here and struggle on with the socialists

  66. - How Ironic - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:43 am:

    @ Standonprinciple

    You don’t quite understand how the capital bill works. Your suggestion that ‘there was more than enough room to pay all the bills’ speaks to your ignorance.

    The capital bill is NOT for paying ‘past due bills’. Nor is intended (or able) to pay operating expenses. It’s for CAPITAL projects. You know…roads/schools/bridges etc.

    And love your usage of ‘pork’. As if building a school in an underpriviledged neighborhood is ‘fluff’.

    Using your keen detective skills please give some solid examples of ‘pork’.

    Otherwise your post is simply full of ‘fraud’ and ‘abuse’ of Capital Fax.

  67. - good stuff - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    Warren Ribley’s DUI . . . Believe It or Not.

    Of course I do!

  68. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:48 am:

    “Don’t get how FL funds all their state services, etc. without a state income tax and a lower sales tax than us. Weird.”

    Hmmm, that’s a tough one… maybe it has something to do with the gazillions of tourists coming to Disney World and other sites?

  69. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 11:54 am:

    If raising taxes on businesses doesn’t harm business why didn’t we raise the tax even more? What is the tipping point? Who decides what that tipping point is? Do we depend on folk who have never run a business (PQ, et al) to determine what that tipping point is? Demonize the business owners all you want if it makes you feel better. But that won’t create jobs.

  70. - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:08 pm:

    How Ironic,

    According to Senator Wihelmi, our Capital Bill was $31 Billion. In the last few years the other 49 states have passed $7 Billion in Capital expenditures. Are you telling me that it is appropriate for us to spend 4 times the amount of the other 49 states combined????

    That bill contains money for a railroad museum, a chicago baseball hall of fame, a private golf course community, and on and on. My favorite is the $1 million going to a privately owned and currently closed convenient store. It is called the Jubilee Market. I have read the projects, have you?

    Yes, let’s give $40 Million to Chicago State University when it didn’t ask for the money, didn’t know about the money, has been plagued with accounting scandals, and has a 16% graduation rate. But, you probably think those problems are going to just go away if we give them more $$$’s.

    Who defends that kind of pork when schools, doctors, and others are owed money? People love to think it is all roads, bridges, and schools. It’s not. And even some of that is waste. The town of Plainfield does not NEED a walking bridge, but it is getting one.

    In the future, I would prefer if you would not speak of my “ignorance” before you ask if I have facts to back up my claims.

  71. - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:14 pm:

    I forgot about the $500 Million for “weatherizaion” I mentioned earlier. Is that a good use of money? Is that what is going to get us out of this financial death spiral?

  72. - vole - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:16 pm:

    I wonder how much state spending, via state employee paychecks, bought in box lunches at university meetings and events, etc., made it into the income of Jimmy Johns over the years, and especially during the critical start up years. Republicans sure can cry about this tax increase, but uncover the knee jerk and you will find many Republican businesses getting a portion of their “mine” via the cycling of state tax revenues getting into the economy by way of government spending. That’s about all I got to say about that, except I always wondered by anyone would eat a Jimmy Johns sub.

  73. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:18 pm:

    –financial death spiral–

    That’s also in the capital bill. It’s for a new ride at the Illinois State Fair.

  74. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:19 pm:

    - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:14 pm:

    “I forgot about the $500 Million for “weatherizaion” I mentioned earlier. Is that a good use of money?”

    Absolutely! Especially given by the taxpayer subsidized coal gasification plants that will result in higher consumer energy prices. See now the hidden genius of Pat and the GA?

  75. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:22 pm:

    ===If Illinois is dumb enough to spend $500 Million on things like “weatherization”, we will continue our march towards becoming Michigan.===

    What a stupid thing to say. Not only does that put tons of people to work relatively cheaply, it saves consumers money.

  76. - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:24 pm:

    ==That’s also in the capital bill. It’s for a new ride at the Illinois State Fair==

    Wordslinger, I may disagree with you, but you make me laugh.

  77. - Irish - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:28 pm:

    Wisconsin has a business, it is called tourism. Tourism is when people go to places like Ashland county to see blue water lakes, clear skies, cool forests, and wildlife.

    You go Gov Walker, fill those skies with smokestacks, tear up the forests and fill in wetlands to build the roads you will need to supply those businesses, and then sit at the border to the UP and Minneasota and watch your tourism dollars leave the state. Brilliant!

  78. - Gregor - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:42 pm:

    This thread makes me simutaneously drool and weep for the Grand Moo sandwich from the old Bread Stretchers. Place is not the same under the new owners, not at all.

    As for Jimmy, I think he’s forgotten his roots, and he’s as much as admitted this is about attention to and for himself. You’d think a self-made guy like Jimmy would be over the need for self-validation, but apparently vanity plus politics equals… well.. you know.

  79. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:42 pm:

    If, due to Mr. Liautaud’s tirade, you’d rather skip a meal rather than order a sub from his store, then does the motto become:

    Jimmy Johns - So freaked you’ll fast.

    – MrJM

  80. - How Ironic - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:44 pm:

    @ Stand

    The state has neglected much needed infrastructure work for over a decade. While the few examples you provided are compelling, it doesn’t speak to the larger more urgent need of our roads/bridges and schools that urgently need fixing and upgrading.

    Furthermore, you continue to insist as though some of that $31 Billion can simply be ’shifted’ away from CAPITAL expenditures and applied to OPERATIONAL expenses or better yet, past due Operational expenses.

    Therefore the term ‘ignorant’ still stands. You can’t use CAPITAL funds to pay for operational expenses, much less for services already rendered.

    The bond markets would kill Il forever if we tried that stunt.

  81. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:44 pm:

    I tell you, Walker and these Indy guys are real go-getters when it comes to economic development.

    Walker turned down a billion in fed money for rail and put up some signs (the ones at Dickeyville and Superior, especially, will rake in the business). Hocus-pocus-dominocus, job done. What’s next?

    In Indy, the governor makes some snarky remarks, puts out press releases claiming new jobs (independently verified to be accurate nearly 50% of the time) and the mayor takes out an ad in the paper.

    These are visionaries, my friends.

  82. - S - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:55 pm:

    “Hmmm, that’s a tough one… maybe it has something to do with the gazillions of tourists coming to Disney World and other sites?”

    It’s not that simple, SecretSquare.

    IL actually has more visitors than FL (crazy as that sounds). My guess would be that stems from business travelers, but that’s just a guess. I would also guess that most of those business travelers are staying and spending in/around Chicago, which has some of the highest sales taxes, lodging taxes, etc. (= revenue) in America.

    “In 2008, estimates show Florida received 84.2 million visitors.” - Official State of Florida Tourism Marketing Corporation

    “In 2008, Illinois welcomed nearly 88 million domestic visitors, 20 million for business and 67.8 million for leisure purposes.” IL also received more than 1.4 million overseas visitors. - IL Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Tourism

  83. - Bonsaso - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:56 pm:

    Don’t criticize the sandwiches unless you’ve tried a Pepe, good quality provolone, sandwich bread, and fine thin cut ham. Although, since the salmonella scare I haven’t been back.

  84. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 12:57 pm:

    So many comments, so little time.

    If you do not believe the state has made some serious and significant cuts over the last few years, ask a school board member, ask the remaining staff at the state parks, check out the serious (and dangerous) under-staffing in the state prisons…the list is long.

    Jimmy John’s, and all of us, expect a certain level of services from the state and we need to pay for them. Until someone presents a list of 5-7 billion in cuts, I won’t believe they are serious.

  85. - Shemp - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    DCEO wasn’t likely weakened by he director’s arrest… there was no strength there to begin with. Too many appointees without experience running the regions. It’s not a nimble agency and has been in decline since DCCA became DCEO.

  86. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 1:22 pm:

    S, those Bureau of Tourism numbers are quite misleading. They include every connecting passenger at O’Hare and Midway, and every day tripper who drives in from bordering states to go to a restaurant or see a movie.

    In good years, McCormick Place will bring in about 2-2.5 million show big-hitter visitors who spend money on hotels, taxis, meals, etc. (That doesn’t include the million or so day-trippers who hit the Chicago Auto Show).

    Tourism is a pretty big business in Illinois, especially in Chicago. (It’s biggest market is the Chicago suburbs). But it’s not in the ballpark with out-of-state, big-money, multi-day overnight stays as Florida.

  87. - Formerly Fast & Freaky - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 1:23 pm:

    “Uses scab labor on everything he does.”

    Please. Some jobs are for college kids or people looking for flexible schedules. This comment pointlessly stigmatizes college kids, most of whom work fast food for the right reasons, i.e. so they can invest their meager wages into their own educations and target careers, or at least have a little for beer money while the debt piles up. I know that’s why I delivered subs.

    But hey, if in 2011, we as a society have decided we want to pay $15 for a Turkey Tom made by an IWW lifer, that’s all hunky dory. I’m guessing most of us will adjust and be packing our own PB & J’s though.

    Finally, you can’t be a scab unless there’s a picket line to cross, and you can’t cross a picket line when there isn’t a union.

  88. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 1:41 pm:

    Formerly Fast & Freaky - I hardly think anyone is arguing that the kids working in the actual restaurant need to unionize. I think the main complaint is the use of non-union labor in building and maintaining the restaurants.

  89. - Going nuclear - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 1:58 pm:

    The state’s weatherization program is a good investment in our communities. The program helps reduce energy costs for low-income households by making their homes more energy efficient. Lower-income families typically spend around 20% of their total annual income on energy. By cutting energy costs, these families will be able to more easily provide for other necessities.

  90. - Tony - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 2:01 pm:

    Jimmy John’s quality took a hit when they started franchising, in my humble opinion. I used to enjoy their stuff at the original location in Charleston when I went to EIU, and while I was excited when JJ’s started opening up locations closer to the Chicago region, the quality isn’t the same.

    Anyway, Jimmy John is giving a knee-jerk reaction to a tax hike. He needs eat a Gargantuan and some jalapeño chips and settle down.

  91. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 2:06 pm:

    Wow, those Jimmy John’s commercials are accurate, they do move fast.

  92. - S - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 2:19 pm:

    Going nuclear - agreed! weatherization programs can definitely help people. I worry about the execution of them in our state, though.

    The Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and CEDA will oversee much of this program. They had difficulty handling $242 million for weatherization from the stimulus, how will they handle $500 million?

    “Federal inspectors are concerned that Illinois isn’t keeping a close enough watch on the projects and the money.” - ABC7 2/17/10

    “Illinois’ weatherization program suffers from poor workmanship, inflated material costs and inadequate inspections, according to the Department of Energy’s inspector general.” - NY Times 10/19/10, “‘Substandard’ Ill. Program Undermines U.S. Weatherization Effort, Says DOE Watchdog”

    “Energy-efficiency work on homes in the Chicago area funded by federal stimulus program money was sub-par, overpriced and poorly monitored, an audit released today said.” - 10/19/10 Trib, “Audit says Illinois energy program inadequate”

    Does anyone know whether we have taken any steps to address these issues before doubling down on the money spent on the program?

    I really hope so.

  93. - standonprinciple - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 2:51 pm:

    S, Thanks for the backup info. We call all disagree on what government should provide its citizens, but one thing we should all agree on is that it should be efficient. Until Illinois starts proving it is efficient, I will not support these types of projects.

  94. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 2:51 pm:

    Jimmy John’s delivery guys in Champaign used to stop and get beer and smokes for us on their way when I was in college. Good fellas.

    Their owner, on the other hand, has been enjoying the lowest income tax rate in the country for decades. Now, he wants to cut and run?

    Fine. See you. Enjoy the Sunshine State.

    Oh yeah - Florida has a $4.7 billion budget hole.

    Things are Tough all over.

    I suppose Illinois could have responded as Texas did. They just announced 10% budget cuts. Call it the Brady Plan.

    Including eliminating all financial aid for 70,000 college freshmen and a $100 million whack to Texas A&M.

    You can bet the Jimmy John’s in Texas are gonna take a WHACK when college enrollment falls through the floor.

    That reminds me: Has JJ stopped to consider how much college financial aid flows into his stores from the state?

    Freakin’ Hypocrites. I can’t stand them.

  95. - Going nuclear - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 3:21 pm:

    S, if you read the U.S DOE audit report, you’ll see that the state has taken a number of steps to improve the performance of the weatherization assistance program in Cook County. Some of these improvements were recognized by the auditor, but more work needs to be done to bring the program up to federal standards. The state has been running a weatherization program since 1976. Given that a great number of low-income families have benefited, I believe the state should be given the opportunity to put things right, and I think they will come through in the end.

  96. - formerpolitico - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 3:32 pm:

    Businesses will also leave Illinois because the only consumers left will be poor people , government bureaucrats, and other tax eaters. Anybody successful will leave, like my father-in-law, who just established residence in Florida.

  97. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 3:38 pm:

    @formerpolitico -

    There’s talking about leaving and then there is leaving.

    Florida has a $4.7 billion budget hole - 20% of their budget - and no plan to deal with it.

    If you really think life is better there, stop typing and start packing.

  98. - lincoln's beard - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 3:40 pm:

    Illinois: love it or leave it.

  99. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 3:57 pm:

    –Businesses will also leave Illinois because the only consumers left will be poor people , government bureaucrats, and other tax eaters. Anybody successful will leave, like my father-in-law, who just established residence in Florida. –

    Whoa, a father-in-law moving to Florida? Who ever heard of such a thing? You know, I’m thinking there might be a market for older snowbirds down there….

    Chicago MSA GMP, fourth largest in the world.

    Illinois GSP, fifth largest in the United States.

    Why would you abandon that market?

  100. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 4:23 pm:

    If Illinois was its own country, it would have the 17th largest economy in the world.

  101. - Bill F. - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 4:31 pm:

    I think I should just change my handle to “whatwordslingersaid.” Seems every time I think of something to post, he’s already said it.

  102. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 4:38 pm:

    Check out the website “Strange Maps” and its map of U.S. states paired with nations that have an equivalent GDP. Illinois’ GDP is equal to that of Mexico.

    Meanwhile, Wisconsin = South Africa, Indiana = Denmark, Missouri = Poland, Iowa = Venezuela, Florida = South Korea, and Minnesota (appropriately enough) = Norway.

  103. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 4:43 pm:


    Don’t forget tax parasites, welfare queens and haves.

  104. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 4:51 pm:

    According to formerpolitico, every successful person and all businesses will leave Illinois. Everybody can stand to learn from those comments. Let them be the standard of accuracy here.

  105. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 5:09 pm:

    I imagine that if any of the visiting Chinese delegation is catching the ridiculous trash-talk from Wisconsin and Indy about poaching Illinois business, or who’s moving where, they must be laughing themselves silly.

    The United States has a $227 billion trade deficit with China. The average worker in south China makes 75 cents an hour, less in the rest of the country.

    Folks, “American” corporate plants are even closing down in Mexico and moving to China. Chinese ships hit our ports packed with goods and either load up scrap metal or deadhead back.

    We’re the biggest consumer market, by far, in the world, and we’re allowing our workers and small businesses to get their heads beat in by totalitarian despots exploiting slave labor.

    Anytime “American” big business or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to weigh in on this lunacy would be fine. But they won’t. Because they want the slave labor and access to the growing market that the totalitarians give them.

    Our farmers (a big part of our Illinois economy) didn’t put up with it. They don’t “compete” on the level set by dictators. Why should the rest of our economy?

    Back in the 80s, when Japan was dumping surplus capacity here, Reagan put a stop to it. Big business supported him. The result was Japanese plants employing American workers all over the south.

    The difference today is, Japan wasn’t going to allow American companies to make a buck there no matter what. They already had a mature economy. China will let American corporations in for a price. So big business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sell us all out.

    Walker can put up all the signs he wants and Mini-Mitch can pat himself on the back all he wants, and it won’t mean bupkis until we address the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

  106. - Selene - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 5:28 pm:

    Let him leave — Good riddance….I will be sure to boycott his business.

  107. - Way Northsider - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 5:43 pm:

    Well I won’t be buying Jimmy Johns sandwiches anymore.

  108. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 6:22 pm:

    He may be the first to react tot he tax hike but won’t be the last. My kid and one other person were laid off today from the small business where they worked. The reason given was the tax hike which hits the owner twice, once at corporate level and again at the personal level. This business owner isn’t leaving the Sate, but he is cutting back. So now there are two more people not only not paying taxes but going to be collecting unemployment, and, most likely, other aid from the State …

  109. - Mark - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 6:58 pm:

    JJ has guts. I will buy more sandwiches than I have been.

  110. - Thinkaboutit - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 7:39 pm:

    Not that facts matter to some people, but I think it’s time to re-visit what the term “scab” actually means as it pertains to “organized labor”. A “scab” is a UNION employee that doesn’t honor his or her own local’s picket line and returns to work. Is isn’t a replacement worker or a non-union worker that chooses to accept work in a non-union environment or cross a picket line.

  111. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 7:47 pm:

    Here are some revised and ostensibly more accurate GDP equivalent figures for the 10 biggest U.S. States (as of 2009). Each is matched with the nation that has the closest equivalent GDP, and its ranking worldwide by the IMF:

    1. California-1,801,762,000,000 – #7 Italy
    2. Texas-1,148,531,000,000 – #11 Russia
    3. New York-1,105,020,000,000 – #12 India
    4. Florida-741,861,000,000 – #15 Mexico
    5. Illinois-617,409,000,000 – #16 Netherlands
    6. Pennsylvania-533,212,000,000 – #17 Turkey
    7. Ohio-462,506,000,000 – #18 Sweden
    8. New Jersey-461,295,000,000 – #19 Belgium
    9. Georgia-391,241,000,000 – #22 Poland
    10. North Carolina-390,467,000,000 – #23 Norway

  112. - anonyMiss - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 7:54 pm:

    NBC 5 reported this evening his family is already in Florida?
    While I agree the hit to business is bad, I think in this case it is a convienent excuse.

  113. - Returning Dog - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 8:08 pm:

    So he’s perfectly happy to get rich on the backs of employees working jobs that need subsidized by DHS and HFS - food stamps and medicaid…

    Who does he think pays when one of his employees get an infected piercing?

  114. - Mark - Wednesday, Jan 19, 11 @ 9:05 pm:

    Returning Dog, you have the same opportunity that JJ did to get rich. You just need to take the risk, mortgage everything you have, work incredibly long hours for little pay and you are there. Pretty simple formula huh?

  115. - You Can't Stop What's Coming - Thursday, Jan 20, 11 @ 6:18 am:

    Jimmy Johns — way overpriced and not-as-good as most local Chicagoland deli’s.


  116. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Jan 20, 11 @ 7:43 am:

    @Mark -

    Jimmy John’s built his fortune and his empire on the back of the taxpayers, but he just doesn’t see it that way.

    Charleston, Champaign, Bloomington-Normal…if not for publicly-funded universities, who do you think would have been buying his sandwiches? Whether your talking about college employees or college students, JJ’s franchise was built with taxpayer money.

    But that’s okay — he’s filthy rich now — so its adios.

    JJ is no better than the corporate titans who hide their money in the Caribbean and ship jobs overseas.

    The minimum wage? He objects to the minimum wage?? For god’s sake, who does he think would buy his sandwiches if Wal-Mart was allowed to pay folks 75 cents and hour in Illinois like they do in China?

  117. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jan 20, 11 @ 8:20 am:

    - You just need to take the risk, mortgage everything you have, -

    Except Jimmy’s dad gave him the $25,000 to start the business, and if it failed he had to join the military. I bet every kid finishing second to last in their graduating class wishes they could take that risk with their parents’ money.

  118. - Wally - Thursday, Jan 20, 11 @ 9:46 am:

    Guess he made the most of that whopping $25K! Seriously, no word about the $5 million he gave the U of I system? It was reported earlier today that the U of I is waiting on nearly 500 million dollars from the state of Illinois.

    I have surmised that many posters here have neither run a company or owned a company. Yellow Dog Dem, there are several JJ’s operating in Springfield, none near colleges. Perhaps they are frequented only by state employees.

  119. - MrJM - Thursday, Jan 20, 11 @ 9:47 am:

    @Secret Square - I’ll have a #17 Turkey on wheat.

    – MrJM

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