Michael Holewinski, president of Ace Industries and chairman of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, opines at the Chicago Tribute that it is Illinois and not Wisconsin that is really the state open for business, and rightly so. Reacting to Scott Walker’s visit and his put-down of Illinois, Holweinski stands up for Illinois.
According to a comprehensive state-by-state analysis by the 2012 Competitiveness Redbook, our state has twice the population of the Badger State and our workers earn 12 percent more than their Wisconsin counterparts — that’s more consumers with more money to spend. [OMG! A Keynesian demand-side argument in favor of higher wages from a business owner! Knock me over with a feather! Someone alert the WMC!]
Our workers are more productive. Wisconsin ranks 46th nationally in worker productivity. We have twice the gross domestic product of Wisconsin and export twice as much. More businesses are started in Illinois and we rank higher in high-tech employment opportunities. As the nation recovers from the recession, Illinois is creating jobs at a rate 10 times greater than Wisconsin. We are spending more on research and development. We have five times the venture capital investment. We are producing more people with science and engineering advanced degrees. While the recession has been brutal, we are working our way out of it. We are investing in our people and our businesses.
Yes, Illinois is bigger than Wisconsin. More people generally means more infrastructure. But proportionally, Illinois is kicking our butts.
Yes, Illinois has a screwed up state government (so does Wisconsin, by the way!). But despite that, Illinois is doing much better than us Badgers in terms of GDP/Capita and in forecasts for growth.
And do you want to know why Illinois workers earn more than Wisconsin workers?
I’ll give you a hint: It rhymes with “spoonions…”
According to the BLS, in 2011, 17.2% of “Illinoisances” were represented by unions. Higher than then national average. But in Wisconsin, that number was only 14.1%, only slightly higher than the US average. As we know from our reading, higher penetration by unions in a state’s workforce means higher salaries across the board for everyone (union and non-union).