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

(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, 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.

  • jim r

    Ha theyre no better than illinois ! Quinn is still a lier though, he pulled a bait and switch on voters ! Didnt we pass a recall???

  • Randall Poshek

    WI vs Chitown, no comparison… WI appears to be ready to become the next redneck (GOP) state… please di

  • ron

    Really…Who in their right mind wants to move to Wisconsin just to save a few dollars. I’d rather move to Detroit.

  • James

    wisconsin is moving in the right direction. illinois continues to move in the wrong direction. the voters are too stupid and lazy to learn any lessons. want to argue with me? try explaining why this state is in the worst fiscal condition of ANY state in the US. Didn’t think so.

    • Roberta Waker

      Actually, aren’t we close to California in money owed and other states that cater to ILLEGALS? They cost us MILLIONS of dollars each year for their free medical, free education, free housing, free social services, free, free, free. If we send them back to their countries and make them come here LEGALLY, we could save BILLIONS of dollars overall in tax money.

  • elias

    let s see who many business il will lose
    for the politician greedy .
    this call for tax hike must be repeal

  • elios

    nothing good chicago bring to the world.
    chicago machine give you a lot or reject radical persona s
    the worst thing happing is that the white house going with the chicago stupid way .
    where is bark obama bark wher is he like nothing happing here in chicago.
    we elect him and now he don t care about us.

  • elias

    rahm is you time to speak out, or no raham is in the same gang. as quinn

  • B.Cornejo

    The reality is that the taxes in Wisconsin are still higher than in Illinois, so why move at all. Also no increase in taxes usually means cutting of services, so Wisconsin can brace itself for that. The money is either raised (taxes)to run a state or your services will be cut. No possibility of escape either way.

    • Roberta Waker

      I have lived in both states. Wisconsin may have some higher taxes, but overall their taxes are lower as they don’t charge for everything Illinois charges for. There are NO tollroads in Wisconsin, insurance is usually cheaper, property taxes are cheaper; if you compare tit for tat; you will find Illinois is a rip off state.

  • Cal

    Of course Wisconsin has higher taxes than Illinois does, so moving there to protest our taxes would seem to be a bit of a mistake…

  • ERIC


  • john

    Thanks for nothing ! Quinn ,you cannot ever be trusted again with the way you decieved voters . Your lying will come back to haunt you .

  • JR Sal

    How about wisconsin charging a bed tax at nursing homes, $5.00 a day which comes out to be $1.500 a month when thes poor people already pay monthly $6,000 what a bunch of Nazi’s

    • Roberta Waker

      And what does Illinois charge for their rooms in nursing homes??? And how many abuses have we had in Illinois nursing homes? Wisconsin may not be perfect, but I would rather be in a nursing home in Wisconsin than Illinois when I am old enough and need a nursing home, that is. Of course, Obamacare and the new Illinois Medicaid laws will kill us well before we go to a nursing home.

      • Barack

        That Obamacare s#@t really bothers you huh?

    • Debbie Baldwin

      Um, $5.00 a day times 30 isnt $1,500 it is $150.00

  • sally

    She kinda looks like Sarah Palin, and sounds like she also has nothing upstairs!
    Wisconsin could eliminate her job and save money, She has nothing else to do but make phone calls all day so she must be bored!!

    • SE

      It’s not personal phonecalls… Duh! AND BTW – Wisconsin tax rates are higher BUT everything is a multiple…. WISC allows deductions so although the rate is higher, it’s being multiplied with a lower taxable income. ILL is almost a straight tax on gross income. Comparing rates alone is like comparing a McDoanlds hamburger to a filit mignon at a fine restuarant. Yeah, they’re both beef – but it’s not just about the one ingrediant. RATE versus taxable income.

  • Beo Cornejo

    Wisconsin’s other plan is to ask retired people to return to this State, so they can get a deal on taxes. I can see thousands of Florida retirees leave sunny States to return to ice and snow.What a deal. And what about the retirees who were nice enough to stay here. Do they get a deal to ?

  • ron

    Only fat lazy cows who moved here from Iowa and the other midwestern states will leave Chicago/IL for Wisconsin and I think that’s a good thing.

  • CM

    Now we know WI income tax is higher than IL, but not much. What about corporate tax though? I think sale tax in WI is a lot lower than in Chicago, I used to shop in Kenosha and Gurnee Mills because sale taxes there are lower than in Chicago. What about property tax in Milwaukee?

    • Roberta Waker

      You’re on the right track, CM. You need to compare apples to apples and Wisconsin will win on most comparisons. The Lt Gov is smart for doing this and I would be willing to bet there will be a LOT of companies moving out of Illinois over the next year or two. Iowa, Michigan and Indiana are very competitive and they are probably calling Illinois companies too. This tax hike will kick Quinn and his cohorts in the teeth, but ultimately it’s the taxpayers that will lose.

      • SE

        FYI – Jimmy Johns – who’s home office in southern IL hires 1200 employees told Quinn up front – if you raise the taxes we’re out of here…. I can here the moving trucks now. And that’s just ONE company.. we will be seeing an exodus on any company who can feasably move. And, little known fact – while we are all tightening our belts to bring down IL debt – what did these same fine lawmakers do just before this tax increase? Now act surprised… they increased their spending by 10%. I am so glad to see our politicians leading by example and tightening their belts and acting responsibily too.

  • M.

    Actually since the tax deal the only business that has announced its leaving is a business in WI announcing they are leaving WI (not over the tax deal but over their decision to not be a part of the high speed rail line). No business is going to want to go to a small market, with higher taxes, who is in the process of cutting basic services and infrastructure projects.

    In fact the only state with lower taxes in the area is Michigan (how’s that working out for them), Iowa has lower taxes as long as you make under 12K. Or hey maybe they can move to Las Vegas, they have NO taxes, but also the highest unemployment in the country… and who’s 3rd? Oh yea that’s right Florida another state with no taxes.

    Can we stop with this moronic debate over taxes. No business is going to move over the tax increase

    • SE

      See comment above – JIMMY JOHNS is just the start. In these modern times many people can work from anywhere.

  • Wayne

    If I owned a business I would have left years ago. This state is non-business friendly for a long time. Crooks in charge will take everything that employers and employees have and than some.

  • Mr Voter

    hope business and tax payer leave in the thousands….let them (corrupt hacks in office) stracth their heads as the ship sinks deeper in red….hire more family and friends, lame ducks who voted for the tax raise all of a sudden get a state job at $86k !///why was this not posted on the net to find the best person why #86K…for the yes vote thats why…..just more corruption, can’t wait till Quinn is led off in cuffs just another thief with a bald head this one ( no blago haircut) …chicago…who ever gets in…god help you move, sell before your house, factory will be worthless…..
    IL. Land of Corruption………….

  • Overdrawn

    Quinn is a liar and a crook, why doesn’t the state employees take pay cuts
    like all of the rest of us.

    I’m sure they get a 3-4% increase every year, its about time the state quits spending more than they can afford and quit using the tax payers as an
    unlimited funding source.

  • eliminateCIT

    Why Illinois’ CIT increase will raise prices, lower wages and force companies to relocate…

    There have been some articles and comments this week suggesting that Illinois will not lose employers because of the hike in their CIT from 4.8% to 7.0%. The math shows otherwise…

    Suppose I am a company located in Illinois with all of my manufacturing and employees located right next door to my major customer, Caterpillar. I have 20% pretax margins, pay my full 35% Federal and 4.8% State income tax which puts my after-tax margin at 12.0%. Because Illinois raised the State tax rate to 7.0%, I will need to raise my prices by 3.8% to earn the same after tax profits. If Caterpillar rejects my 3.8% price increase, then I must cut wages and other expenses to maintain my same profits. Either way, there will be wage pressure on my employees and price pressure on my customers.

    And since companies with no facilities in Illinois must also pay taxes on the profits that they derive from sales inside of Illinois’ borders, they must also raise their prices to all Illinois customers. Suppose my company is based in Texas where there is no State Corporate Income Tax and I sell to Caterpillar plants in Illinois and Texas. To generate the same level of profits on each sale, I must charge the Illinois customer 12.0% higher prices than my Texas customer. Said another way, Texas customers get to buy my products at a 10.8% discount to Illinois customers.

    This helps to explain why Caterpillar recently put a new operation in Texas and not Illinois. Expect the decisions to not put new operations in Illinois and to move them from Illinois to accelerate. I wonder how long it will be before one of the major trading floors moves from downtown Chicago?

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