In his [April 28 Viewpoint], Shaw Friedman apparently tried his hand at fiction writing. I prefer non-fiction, and I’m confident my fellow Hoosiers will join me in celebrating the factual victories Indiana has earned that other states are noticing—especially Illinois.
Friedman mentions Illinois’ allegedly superior economic development, but the numbers just don’t add up. Indiana outpaces its neighbor with a dramatically lower unemployment rate (5.9 percent versus Illinois’ 8.4 percent)—bolstered in part by more than 40 Illinois companies that have relocated to Indiana.
Furthermore, the Site Selection Magazine study Friedman mentions paints a different picture of Indiana than he alleges. It named Indiana the 10th-best state business climate, while Illinois lagged at 19th.
Beyond that, our overall competitiveness ranked second. Illinois fell to the middle of the pack at 22nd.
The most striking evidence is how Illinois leaders have proposed reforms similar to Indiana’s initiatives. Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan recently called for a corporate income tax cut. He’s not alone. President Barack Obama shared that sentiment in his recent State of the Union speech.
But if you really want to know how Illinois residents feel, just ask. According to a recent Gallup poll, one in four Illinois citizens said their state is the worst place in the nation to live. Illinois also had the highest percentage of residents who did not trust their state government “at all.” When Illinois’ own residents can’t take pride in their home, something is wrong.
That makes Indiana shine out all the brighter. Our policies have created a $2 billion budget reserve, triple-A credit rating and an all-time-high graduation rate. The fruits of our labor will continue to spur investment and solidify our reputation.
As evidence of that future, the non-partisan Tax Foundation recently promoted Indiana from 10th-best business tax climate in the nation to eighth-best. When companies look for locations to expand, we’ll continue to be at the top of the list.
I am confident Indiana’s future is bright. In fact, as we continue to build economic wins and secure business development, I believe that future is beginning now. It’s just unfortunate that Friedman can’t see it for himself.
State Sen. Brandt Hershman