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Angry Texan moving uncle’s company south

Thursday, Sep 29, 2011

* A small suburban company is moving to Texas, and the CEO is quite angry at Illinois

Directors of an Illinois company that develops and manufactures wound-care dressings plan to relocate the company to Fort Worth from Illinois, citing their pursuit of a more business-friendly home.

Ferris Manufacturing Corp. is negotiating a potential lease on 40,000- to 50,000-square-foot building in the Alliance area of north Fort Worth, company officials said. The privately held company plans to move next spring or summer.

“The taxes are oppressive (in Illinois). The business climate is terrible. Every time you turn around, they’ve got some new regulation or some way to make you uncomfortable,” said Dr. Roger Sessions, Ferris chairman and CEO.


Sessions is the nephew of the company’s founder and was once a football coach at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. I am not making that up. Sessions lives in Texas.

* But Illinois did gain a bunch of new jobs today. From a press release

Governor Pat Quinn today announced the opening of a new FedEx facility in Grayslake that would result in the creation of more than 450 new jobs, including managers, clerical staff, maintenance workers, drivers and more. Local officials, FedEx representatives and Assistant Director of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Dan Seals gathered today to officially open the facility, which was supported by the state with an estimated $500,000 business investment package to strengthen the company’s $38 million private investment. […]

The new 206,000 square-foot highly-automated distribution center is expected to process about 63,000 packages per day between the Midwest and the rest of the country. DCEO is administering the state’s $500,000 business investment package, which consists of Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credits based on job creation and Employer Training Investment Program job training funds that will help enhance the skills of the company’s workforce.

“We are pleased that FedEx Ground has chosen Illinois as the location of their newest distribution center,” DCEO Assistant Director Dan Seals said. “With investments like this, we are continuing to fuel the state’s economic growth, creating jobs and supporting Illinois businesses.”

* In a related story, Republican Congressmen Joe Walsh, Don Manzullo, Bobby Schilling and John Shimkus have sent a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn about our tax situation

As Members of Congress overseeing a vast federal budget that itself is in the red, we certainly understand the difficulty in trying to solve budgetary issues. However, raising individual income taxes by 66 percent will only exacerbate our wider problem and take more Illinois residents off the tax roll when they leave our state. Middle class families are already stretched thin. A family of four earning $60,000 a year right now has an additional $1,040 to pay in taxes each year. We understand this might not seem like much but for the families in our districts this is money that they cannot afford to lose.

The largest employers in the state of Illinois are struggling too. Illinois has the third highest corporate tax rate in the country and this takes away from their competitive edge and ability to create new jobs. Many of our large employers based in Illinois could leave as a result of the new 9 percent corporate tax rate that was raised from 6.8 percent in January. These are critical jobs that must be protected. We are willing to work with you on this issue as similar measures are considered right now in Congress.

That first paragraph almost reads as if the state hadn’t yet passed the tax hike. Kinda weird. Also, our “largest employers” will probably end up getting state aid to stick around.

Ward Room wasn’t amused with the letter

We elect congressmen to run the country. We elected Pat Quinn to run the state. He doesn’t give advice to Congress, and he doesn’t need advice from congressmen, either.

Quinn routinely offers his advice to anybody and everybody, whether they listen or not.

The governor’s office passed on a chance to comment.

* And speaking of Congress and the state, I mentioned in passing yesterday that Congressman Bob Dold was criticized for railing against the stimulus bill and then showing up for an unveiling of a $4.9 million renovation of a Metra station paid for with those stimulus funds. Greg Hinz says Dold just handed his foes some ammunition

Congressman Robert Dold, R-Winnetka, has just given a little gift of sorts to whoever will be his Democratic foe next year. […]

“Jobs are created by small businesses growing and adding employees, not through handouts of taxpayer dollars,” one Dold press release [during the 2010 campaign] stated. The stimulus “handouts” merely “add to the growing federal debt,” another 2010 press release from Mr. Dold read.

Asked how he can celebrate spending from a program he slammed, Mr. Dold’s spokeswoman replies that he “was pleased to accept the invitation from Metra to attend this event in the 10th District. The office regularly works with Metra.”

But it goes farther than that. Dold showed a real enmity toward capital projects in his last campaign. For instance, here’s a press release from his Republican primary race against former state Rep. Beth Coulson

Coulson is a Springfield-Insider who has sponsored tax and spending increases:

Sponsored HB656, the RTA sales tax increase in 2008 that raised sales tax in several Illinois counties by $500 million per year to fund a bailout of the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). The sales tax increased helped Chicago become the highest taxed city in the nation. […]

Voted for the spending portion of the 2009 Capital Bill which included taxpayer monies for special works projects in her district, but voted against initiatives to fund those projects (HB255 & HB312) piling more debt onto Illinois taxpayers. […]

Voted for a $750 million pork spending bill that would have funded projects started by imprisoned former Governor George Ryan. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich vetoed $550 million of the pork spending bill, but Coulson voted to override most of Blagojevich’s line-item vetoes (SB1239, 2003).

As Congressman of the 10th District, Dold will bring small business common sense to Washington by cutting taxes for families and small businesses, ending Congressional leaders’ irresponsible borrowing and spending, and advocating a realistic and balanced federal budget.

The RTA praised that quarter-point press release at the time

“The new funding and reforms will allow us to bring our system up to a state of good repair and ensure that we are operating efficiently,” said Steve Schlickman, RTA Executive Director.

And, of course, the capital bill mentioned above also included transit funding.

So, bash the stimulus, bash the RTA sales tax, bash state capital spending, but, by gosh, don’t miss a chance to cut a ribbon at a subsidized train station with one of those over-sized scissors…

Also, Dold has campaigned often at Metra stops. It’s a requirement for suburban politicians. But I’m wondering if he told those commuters how he felt about funding their rides?

* Related…

* ADDED: Congressman: Don’t tax the rich: Cutting taxes and eliminating restrictions on corporations are the two main pillars of Schilling’s plan to spur the economy… “It wasn’t the millionaires and billionaires that created Obamacare, cap and trade, the over-regulation by EPA and OSHA – it was the administration and the people that he appointed in,” Schilling said.

* Former Belleville mayor Roger Cook will try to unseat Costello

* Emanuel calls summit meeting with top airline execs

* CBOE Stock Exchange plans expansion with New Jersey purchase

* Caterpillar inks deal to develop mobile generators

* Bank of America to charge $5 debit card fee

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - BigTwich - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 1:47 pm:

    Joe Walsh, Don Manzullo, Bobby Schilling and John Shimkus should move to Texas.

  2. - Meanderthal - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    If this is the best “ammunition” Dold’s detractors can come up with, then he is a shoe in for reelection.

  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 1:53 pm:

    –Sessions is the nephew of the company’s founder and was once a football coach at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.–

    Yeah, they like football a little bit in Texas.

    The GOP congressman are really timely in their opposition to a tax increase. What’s next, a letter congratulating the Sox for winning the 1985 World Series?

  4. - Doug - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:00 pm:

    He might have been a football coach and an AD, but not at TCOM, they never had a football team (they don’t exist anymore, were taken over by UNT)

  5. - Shore - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:05 pm:

    Assistant Director of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Dan Seals. Seals!

  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:06 pm:

    Well then, Doug, maybe he made it up.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:06 pm:

    And, yes, Shore, I put that one in there just for you.

  8. - 44 - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:09 pm:

    Glad to see Schilling, Walsh, Dold and Manzullo can cross that off their “Stuff we should’ve done last year” lists. And it makes a fine addition to their “Cheap political stunts to distract from the lousy job we’re doing” lists.

  9. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:12 pm:

    Imagine the the number of jobs that might be created should Walsh pay the $100,000 in back child support he owes.

  10. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:16 pm:

    Thank you Congressman Walsh for continuing to be the voice for the average middle class family of four…

  11. - Ray del Camino - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:16 pm:

    Wonder if he’s related to North Dallas’s angry-crazy Congressman Pete Sessions?

  12. - Responsa - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:20 pm:

    I’ve noted a fair amount of snipe and criticism of Dold from commenters on the blog and in some media. What I have not noticed or encountered is much discontent from voters here in the district. He’s held a number of town halls and conference calls, and his office has good ongoing two way communication via email and mailer surveys with constituents. My sense is that people in the 10th are pretty satisfied with Dold so far.

  13. - walkinfool - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:28 pm:

    Does Sessions even know anything about Illinois?

  14. - walkinfool - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:31 pm:

    What many don’t know, is that Seals was a talented, smart business executive before he got the political bug.

  15. - mokenavince - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:35 pm:

    For the reason of high taxes we lose another company, to Texas. It’s wonder Quinn didn’t lose it China.While the worlds best Carp salesman fumbles, we continue to lose business.I’m sure he will either want to raise taxes or borrow more.

  16. - D.P. Gumby - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:38 pm:

    There was a study some years ago that showed the greatest factor in determining where a company would have its corporate office was where the CEO owned a house. I sincerely doubt that stuff about “Illinois tax and business climate” is anything more than a cover story to move the company to where he owns his home.

  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:40 pm:

    Mokena, did you miss the bit about the new $38 million FedEx facility and 450 jobs?

    And as we all know by now, Mr. Sessions was only paying corporate income tax on product he sold in Illinois.

  18. - mythoughtis - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 2:48 pm:

    It sounds like Mr. Sessions (who lives in Texas) was just looking for a reason to move the company to Texas. Similar to Jimmy Johns’s founder moving to Florida and then claiming he’s moving the company due to the Illinois busines climate

  19. - Lil Enchilada - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 3:02 pm:

    Schilling, a wealthy land owner in Missouri, does not even live in the 17th Congressional district. He may think he is speaking for his constituents, but he never speaks for me.

  20. - formerpolitico - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    And I’ll bet Coulson was not even invited to the ribbon-cutting in Winnetka.

  21. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 3:11 pm:

    Maybe Ferris ought to consider relocating to Kabul. No taxes, no regulation and much closer to their customers.

  22. - shore - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 3:11 pm:

    thanks. In rereading the post though somewhat sad that in 6 weeks flacks can write press releases that use the term imprisoned Illinois Governor to refer to both a democrat and republican. Something jarring about that.

  23. - JP - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 4:26 pm:

    Ed McLelland continues his reign as most addled commenter in the Chicago media.

    “(Quinn) doesn’t give advice to Congress, and he doesn’t need advice from congressmen, either”

    Quinn doesn’t need their advice? Far be it for Congressmen to actually represent their constituents. Better, sez Ed, to just accept what Pat Quinn delivers and keep shut up…


  24. - Wensicia - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 4:35 pm:

    ==My sense is that people in the 10th are pretty satisfied with Dold so far.==

    Well, I’m from the 10th and I’m not satisfied with Dold’s performance, but then he’s never asked for feedback from any in my community that I am aware of. We’re not part of the wealthy North Shore, after all.

    One should never miss taking advantage of a photo opportunity when they pop up, right? Caption:

    “I’m a Hypocrite!

  25. - Happy Returns - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 4:44 pm:

    What town is this company in now? Is it too late to paint “SAVE FERRIS (Mfg Co.)” on the water tower?

  26. - Responsa - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 4:58 pm:

    ==he’s never asked for feedback from any in my community that I am aware of==

    Have you gone to Dold’s House website? Have you left your 10th district residential address and your email addy and checked “yes” that you’d like to receive future communcations from Rep. Dold? That’s what I did.

  27. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 7:06 pm:

    “talented, smart business executive before he got the political bug”

    Who never seemed to hold a good paying job before he got his political bug. Is that at all like the 24 hour flu?

  28. - walkinfool - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 7:37 pm:

    Pluto: Seals held a senior marketing job at GE Capital, and was respected by senior executives in other companies, including my own. Perhaps we need more people in government who have proven business abilities, but less success in politics.

  29. - JP - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 7:52 pm:

    “Seals held a senior marketing job at GE
    Capital, and was respected by senior
    executives in other companies”…someone respectable from GE Capital would be truly unique, much like one of the great tap dancers of DeWitt County…

  30. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 7:58 pm:

    Texas has a Gross Receipts Tax. You know, the one Rod wanted.

  31. - old school Dem - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 8:17 pm:

    lol-some try to be moderate, and it always turns out that one GOP Congresscritter is JUST as hypocritical as the next! Main street Repub, tea party–they’re all the same.

    (can’t forget either, its Bob “Dold with a D” (and not an E)! One of the worse ads last cycle

  32. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 9:01 pm:

    Jimmy John’s website still lists their Champaign Illinois corporate address on the pages in regards to fanchising contact, etc.

  33. - wishbone - Thursday, Sep 29, 11 @ 10:16 pm:

    “The business climate is terrible.”
    On the other hand, Texas, home to Rick Perry and big oil, will be the first state to become uninhabitable because of climate change. Ironic and proof there is a just God.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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