Downstate Illinois doesn’t get high marks from foreign trading partners in a report released Tuesday by the governor’s office. The state’s largest foreign trading partners gave Gov. Bruce Rauner their confidential views on how attractive the state can be for foreign businesses. While almost all had the same concerns about the state’s financial condition and needed infrastructure improvements, the state’s positives mostly involved Chicago.
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In the report, the respondent listed as “Nation #3” said “the perception of Chicago (and its suburbs) as an investment location is far more positive than Downstate Illinois. The latter suffers from all of the negative perceptions of Illinois and Chicago, whilst failing to benefit from the positive perceptions of Chicago the city.”
Rauner says he has heard about the difficulty of competing with neighboring states from Downstate businesses. “I’m a governor for the whole state. I work for the entire state, not just a couple of counties,” Rauner told a business group today in Oak Brook.
Perception of the state is a problem mentioned by several of the 10 nations which anonymously provided their views. Those criticisms ranged from Chicago being seen as the “crime capital of the USA” to a lack of direct outreach by the state to attract foreign investment. The respondent listed as “Nation #2” said “Illinois undersells its position as an investment location and is outgunned by less attractive states.”