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Jimmy John’s Considers Leaving Illinois

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Jimmy John’s founder, Jimmy John Liautaud (Credit: CBS 2)

Jimmy John’s founder, Jimmy John Liautaud (Credit: CBS 2)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s been a rough couple of months for sandwich maker Jimmy John’s. First a salmonella outbreak forced them to get rid of their alfalfa sprouts. Now Illinois’ increased corporate income tax is forcing the company to consider leaving the state. CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports.

The gourmet sandwich guru isn’t exactly in an Illinois state of mind these days.

Jimmy John’s founder, Jimmy John Liautaud said, “It’s a real bummer because I love it here.”

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But his lack of love for the increased corporate income tax seems to be taking its toll. Now, Liautaud is thinking of moving his Champaign-based headquarters out of the Land of Lincoln.

Liautaud said, “The more they chisel away at what we make, the less compelling it is to stay up at four in the morning doing it.”

Here’s the math: Before the corporate hike, Liautaud was taxed about $7 for every hundred he made. Now it’ll be about $9.50.

“It’s irresponsible financially,” he said.

In the event of a corporate move, you’d still be able to get “subs so fast you’ll freak” at local stores. If you’re wondering what the big deal is then, the CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce explained the trickle down.

“These workers are using local services, they’re going to small businesses, they’re buying homes,” and said Doug Whitley, if the 100 or so corporate employees leave with Liautaud, they take all that wherever they go.

“I’m being courted by lots and lots of places, and people, and the Governor of Indiana,” said Liautaud.

“This action, or even discussion of it by Jimmy John’s, really throws a bucket of cold water on all the politicians who think they can do anything, and the business community will just absorb it,” said Whitley.

We asked Illinois Governor Pat Quinn about it.

“Our state created more jobs than any other state in the Midwest last year, “ said Quinn, “We wanna keep Jimmy John’s here. It’s his choice.”

Quinn also pointed out Jimmy John’s franchises still have to pay taxes. Keep in mind, though, this would be a headquarters move at a time when Liautaud is looking to expand by more than 70 corporate employees.

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce says any loss of jobs just adds to the hundreds of thousands of employees the state lost in the last decade.

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