The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

While Christie Comes to Take Our Jerbs, Quinn and Mitsubishi Announce a New Plant Downstate

By Karl Klockars in News on Feb 4, 2011 8:00PM

As we discussed last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his roving band of job thieves are ridin' through town, a-whompin' and a-whumpin' every livin' thing that moves within an inch of its life. The trip is part of Christie's "this is not a PR stunt" plan to lure Illinois jobs away from the state due to the recent income tax increase. However, Christie himself acknowledges that New Jersey's tax rate, which is higher than neighbor state Pennsylvania's, is not a reason for jobs to leave New Jersey.

According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Christie made that statement at a recent business symposium, where he also discussed his pro-business plans that include keeping appointments with CEOs and making his office directly available by phone.

New Jersey doesn't need to have a tax rate lower than Pennsylvania to attract residents away, he said, because people would prefer to live in the Garden State even if it means paying a little more. But when taxes are too high, the competitive edge is lost, he said.

So, in other words - New Jersey doesn't need to have a lower tax rate than other states because people will prefer to live there regardless of taxation levels. And yet, Illinois tax rates, which are still lower than some of their neighbor states, are too high and worth abandoning the state for.

The trip coincides with today's news that the Mitsubishi plant in Normal has reached an agreement to remain in Illinois and produce a new crossover vehicle, the Outlander Sport. Of course the 1200+ jobs that go with it stay here to build them are a major part of that announcement as well. The state is kicking in tax credits and the employees voted to take a pay cut, but the news is getting Pat Quinn some positive notice around the state.

The Peoria Journal-Star went so far as to call it "a new era" and Crains' Greg Hinz noting that "along with other recent moves, like heavy lifting the Quinn administration and others did to keep Navistar's headquarters here, they are doing something right in Springfield." One would hope that at least one of the CEOs currently being wooed would bring that up in the midst of the Jersey sales pitch - but of course, the only way to really judge Christies outreach is to count the number of companies that close up shop and open their doors on the Jersey Shore. You can be sure the business community in both states will be keeping their eyes open.