Religious act has Chicago mayor wooing Indiana businesses

March 30, 2015

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked Indiana businesses to consider moving to Chicago after Indiana's governor signed legislation that's been criticized over concerns it could foster discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Emanuel's office said Monday that the mayor sent letters to about a dozen businesses in Indiana. The letter cites Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the measure last week and defended it during a television appearance Sunday. The act prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs.

In the letter, Emanuel says the act is wrong and urges Indiana business owners to "consider Chicago as a place to move and grow." Emanuel writes that businesses can't "succeed in the global economy if you discriminate against your residents."

Competition for economic development isn't unusual between Indiana and Illinois. In 2011, Indiana erected “Illinoyed by higher taxes?” billboards near the state border after Illinois passed a major increase in corporate taxes.


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