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After Ill. Tax Hike, Wisconsin Cold-Calls Chicago Businesses

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Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch calls Illinois businesses Friday in the wake of an unpopular tax hike. (CBS)

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch calls Illinois businesses Friday in the wake of an unpopular tax hike. (CBS)

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(CBS) Wisconsin officials are turning up the heat, now that the Illinois income and corporate taxes are going up.

Across the state line to the north, the lieutenant governor is working the phones to try to convince Illinois companies to “escape to Wisconsin.” CBS2’s Mike Parker has been listening in.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch was on the line from her statehouse office in Madison Friday, cold-calling on Illinois firms to try to sell them on the idea of moving north.

“When we hear a state like Illinois is not putting the needs and priorities of their job creators as their priority number one, I know a state that will – it’s called Wisconsin. We’re open for business,” she said. 

One of the calls was made to the head of the Blitz Group, a media public relations firm headquartered in the John Hancock Center.

Before Trish Hoffman got the call, she said she’d been talking with colleagues about the new Illinois taxes.

“I mean they’re a double whammy for anyone who’s doing business and also personally,” she said.  

But it turns out she was not a prime candidate for the Wisconsin sales pitch.   

“I’m not going to be a deserter,” Hoffman said. “I love this town. I love what Chicago is all about. It’s been great to me and my family.”     

A similar call went to Coupon Cabin.com, a Chicago-based Internet operation that distributes online coupons.

“Chicago has been an amazing home for more than seven years,” the company said in a statement. “The last thing we want to do is relocate to another state.”     

Hoffman said the Wisconsin lieutenant governor never got into specifics during her call, only to say that the state wants to create 250,000 new jobs. She did not mention that Wisconsin’s personal income tax is higher than that of Illinois. She also did not mention that some counties in Wisconsin also impose a local income tax.

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