Cronus, Amazon and Coyote Logistics’ plans to expand in Illinois are a boon for the state, particularly when taking into account the results of two separate studies that placed Illinois in the bottom half of states when it comes to business tax climate and job growth.
According to the most recent edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index, released by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Illinois’ business tax climate dropped two places since last October and is considered by the organization to be the 31st best tax climate in the nation.
To determine an overall ranking, the Index considers more than 100 tax variables in five important areas of taxation including corporate, individual income, sales, property and unemployment insurance tax. A state receives a less favorable ranking for overly burdensome, complex tax codes and high rates. The Index also noted a state’s ranking could change dramatically from year-to-year due not only to its own policies, but in recognition of tax-related modifications or reforms that are made in other states.
The Tax Foundation noted that “evidence shows that states with the best tax systems will be the most competitive at attracting new businesses and most effective at generating economic and employment growth.” While also conceding that “taxes are but one factor in business decision making,” the report noted that compared to reforms in other policy areas that employers pay close attention to, such as healthcare, transportation infrastructure and education, which can take many years to execute, changes to a state’s tax code can be made quickly, and rapidly and dramatically improve that state’s business climate.
Improving the state’s business climate is critical if Illinois hopes to improve its job growth ranking. A report published by Arizona State University placed the state 45th in the nation in job growth using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is drop from the state’s 2013 ranking of 39th in the nation.