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30 percent of mid-sized biz owners thought about leaving Chicago area, but stayed

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* From the Tribune

A new survey of Chicago area mid-size businesses found 30 percent considered moving to another state in the past 12 months.

The firms weighing exits mainly were manufacturers with $10 million to $25 million in sales, according to Cole Taylor Bank’s first Business Owners Confidence Index survey.

The survey did not ask companies to give reasons for considering relocation, though it did ask them to identify local challenges. Those included taxes, competition, cost of materials, red tape and government interference and local budget crises.

Nearly 80 percent rated Illinois economic policy as poor, while 52 percent gave that assessment of national policy. The survey did not ask for views on specific policies.

Um, not quite. I checked with Cole Taylor Bank and got the exact wording of the poll question…

In the last 12 months, has your business considered relocating outside of the Chicago area? [Emphasis added.]

“Outside of the Chicago area” could mean Downstate.

Also, since those businesses are still located in the Chicago area I’m not sure this is much of a story. Yes, they considered leaving, but they stuck around or they wouldn’t have been polled.

Also, this is an Internet poll, which isn’t mentioned in the article. However, company execs were contacted via e-mail, so it is not a self-selected universe.

* That’s not to say there aren’t problems here. There are. Many of them. This poll result is telling…

What is the most challenging aspect of conducting business in the Chicago area?

Taxes 26%
Competition 12%
Expenses, materials 10%
Red tape, government interference 8%
Government uncertainty, budget crisis 7%

The full report can be found here.

* Meanwhile

More than two-thirds (67 percent) of Illinois business owners plan to grow their businesses over the next six months — up from last fall’s reading of 61 percent.

And more than half of Illinois entrepreneurs — 52 percent — have a positive outlook on the economy, but they’re slightly less enthusiastic than their national counterparts, 56 percent of whom on average are optimistic about the nation’s economic prospects.

These are just a few of the findings in the latest American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, a survey of the nation’s small-business owners released each spring and fall since 2002. […]

More than 4 in 10 Illinois business owners (41 percent) are planning to hire within the next six months, up from last fall (34 percent). More than 1 in 10 (11 percent) are currently recruiting for an open position. As for the economy, more than one-third of Illinois business owners (38 percent) would say we are still in recession, nearly one-third (32 percent) would say we are recovering and 25 percent say the economy is stagnant. Nearly 8 in 10 (76 percent) Illinois business owners say the economy stresses them out, down from last fall (83 percent). Sixty-three percent of Illinois business owners report having cash flow issues, down from last fall (70 percent).

More here.

* Related…

* Caterpillar CEO’s pay package grows 42 percent in 2011: The CEO of heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. saw the value of his compensation jump 42 percent to $14.8 million last year as the company’s global sales grew nearly as much. An Associated Press analysis of a document the company filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment gave Doug Oberhelman $1.4 million in salary plus stock options worth $8.3 million and incentive pay of $4.9 million.

* Industry lobbying for Illinois to extend life of enterprise zones: Illinois’ system of enterprise zones, a set of incentives extended to businesses aimed at stimulating economic growth, are set to expire within the next couple of years, but lawmakers and industry groups want an extension. Groups such as the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association are pushing for passage of Senate Bill 3688, which would increase the lifespan and number of enterprise zones. Mark Denzler, IMA vice president and chief operating officer, said that without action by the governor and the General Assembly, eight of the zones will expire next year. The enterprise zone in Springfield expires Dec. 31, 2014.

* Taxed by the boss: Across the country more than 2,700 companies are collecting state income taxes from hundreds of thousands of workers - and are keeping the money with the states’ approval, says an eye-opening report published on Thursday.

* Report: Few states effectively track tax breaks: Most states are doing a poor job tracking whether their tax breaks for businesses are actually spurring job growth, including some that have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into corporate incentive programs even while grappling with record deficits, according to a new report. The report released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States found that no state regularly takes a hard look at the effectiveness of all of its tax breaks. Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C., do little if any evaluation, including Illinois, which is among the states facing major budget struggles.

* Solar proposal shines new light on East St. Louis brownfield

* Rahm to tweak plan for infrastructure bank

* Ald. Tunney is player to watch in Wrigley rebuild drama

* Cook County wages silent battle against IL cottage food: But the Cook County Department of Public Health isn’t taking registrations, citing an ambiguity in the Illinois Local Food Entrepreneur and Cottage Food Operation Act, which requires “a unit of local government” to take registrations, not necessarily the local health department. “It’s not our responsibility to take on additional work unnecessarily,” said Sean McDermott, spokesman for the health department and a county alderman.

posted by Rich Miller
Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 10:27 am


  1. The Trib story is kind of weird. I consider bailing to Hawaii twice a day for reasons that have nothing to do with the Illinois business climate, but have yet to do so.

    I’m sure Oberhelman thinks the climate in Peoria is pretty sweet.

    Comment by wordslinger Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 10:46 am

  2. The governor and mayor’s wife go to Brussels to sell diplomats on chicago but the people who actually work there are considering leaving in large numbers. Yet another example of a disconnect between government officials and their spouses more interested in enjoying the perks of their job than doing their job for their constituents. Good thing with all these problems we have we’re not going to spend the next month worried about whether some punk might break a window on michigan avenue or if the french defense minister’s wife needs tickets to a show.

    Comment by Shore Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 11:12 am

  3. Despite all of the doom and gloom spilling out of the Tower onto its pages every day for the last several years, 70% of Illinois’ midsized companies never considered leaving.

    The Tribune should try harder.

    Comment by 47th Ward Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 11:24 am

  4. How’s this compare to business owners in Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Quad Cities and Toronto?

    This kind of survey seems more like a club to advance the idea government needs to give more money to business than a serious discussion of policy.

    Comment by Carl Nyberg Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 11:26 am

  5. It’s an Internet poll?

    Once again I’m reminded that the Chicago Tribune is a worthless piece of trash.

    Using an Internet poll is dubious. Using an Internet poll without IDing it as an Internet poll is basically lying to the audience.

    But it’s the Trib. Not surprising.

    Comment by Carl Nyberg Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 11:29 am

  6. I’d like to point out that despite all the senseless harping about how awful things are that 70 PERCENT OF CHICAGO MID SIZE BIZ DID NOT CONSIDER MOVING ANYWHERE… we think anytime you score 70% in a poll is strong number.

    Now, Capt Fax, if you are still awake call them back and ask if the poll was done in other markets….Hmmmm….Meanwhile it shots for everyone on DaddyCat ….we think he just mentioned how life in IL is gettin’ better …especially when there is a fresh bed of C Notes sprinkled around.

    Comment by CircularFiringSquad Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 11:38 am

  7. A survey of Chicago-area married couples found that 60 percent of them had thought about divorce in the past year, but did not divorce. This shows that there are serious problems with matrimony that must be addressed immediately through reduced taxes and rollbacks of business regulations.

    Comment by soccermom Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 12:49 pm

  8. That “Taxed By the Boss” story is something. But I’m not sure whether to be relieved or disturbed to discover that Illinois is not alone in letting employers steal their employees’ wages through the tax system. I’m leaning toward disturbed.

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Friday, Apr 13, 12 @ 2:01 pm

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