Illinois ad targets Wis. business - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Illinois ad targets Wis. business


By Lysée Mitri - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- It's been Scott Walker's mantra since he started campaigning for governor: "Wisconsin is open for business." But a new ad in the Wisconsin State Journal challenges that claim.

A half-page ad lists reasons why Illinois is "better" than Wisconsin. Reasons include a better tax environment for business, a higher quality workforce, and a stronger economy.

Initial reactions?

"That's cute," said Wisconsin's Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

Kleefisch disputes the ad's claims.

She points to Illinois's recent 47-percent increase in corporate income tax.

"I don't know about you but that doesn't exactly represent what they're saying here…lower taxes and a better quality of life," said Kleefisch. " I think for a better quality of life and lower taxes you escape to Wisconsin."

A nonprofit organization called For a Better Chicago paid for the ad. There is a similar ad on the group's website aimed at the state of New Jersey.

Jake Braun, a spokesman for the organization, says the Illinois tax record for individuals and businesses is far better than Wisconsin's.

Proponents of Illinois' business environment cite the Tax Foundation, which ranked Wisconsin 40 for its state business tax climate.

Illinois comes in at 23.

Despite the rankings, Kleefisch says Wisconsin presents a favorable climate for businesses when compared to Illinois.

"Wisconsin has no tax on manufacturing energy like in Illinois," she said. "And Wisconsin has no football teams that collapse like in Illinois."

Braun disagrees… on both accounts.

"Unlike the record between the Bears and the Packers that was kind of split this year, the tax record between Illinois and Wisconsin is pretty clear," said Braun.

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says it's tough to compare corporate income taxes between the states.

A higher tax rate doesn't necessarily mean businesses are paying more in taxes because of differences in tax credits and deductions.

Still, Kleefisch is happy Wisconsin businesses are benefiting from the money poured into the advertisements in state newspapers.

"If they want to spend their money propping up Wisconsin businesses I am absolutely delighted," she said.

And so the Illinois-Wisconsin rivalry continues.

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