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Republican challenges Pritzker’s business speech

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(The Center Square) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is touting what he calls major business expansion during his tenure, but not everyone agrees.

According to the governor, his administration has made the state of Illinois better for business.

“We’ve grown the Illinois economy to over $1 trillion,” Pritzker said. “That makes us the fifth-largest economy among the states in the nation.”

The governor told the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce that billions of dollars in new business investments came into the state in 2023.

“On average last year, a new business moved to Illinois or expanded operations here every single day, in fact, more than that,” Pritzker said.

DuPage County Precinct Committeeman and former Republican primary gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives said Pritzker’s numbers are a product of President Joe Biden’s inflation.

“Of course everything is more costly, so all your Gross Domestic Product is more costly. This is an inflated number,” Ives said. “The truth is, business is suffering.”

Ives cited Chicago’s retail vacancy rates and a City Journal report that stated that Chicago’s tax on commercial properties is twice the average of other major cities.

In addition, the Tax Foundation reports that Illinois imposes the second-highest business income tax of any state in the nation.

In his address to the Chicagoland Chamber, Pritzker said his administration has gotten the state’s fiscal house in order.

“Just last week, my partners in the General Assembly and I passed our sixth consecutive balanced budget,” Pritzker said. He later signed the record $53.1 billion spending plan at a separate event.

Ives said the governor is telling half-truths.

“So nobody actually believes it’s balanced and if it is indeed balanced, it’s only balanced on the backs of taxpayers and more debt, because that is exactly what he did,” Ives said.

The Illinois Policy Institute has reported that the new budget includes more than $1 billion in tax hikes.

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