CHICAGO – Governor Bruce Rauner today joined Hegewisch business and community leaders for a neighborhood tour and roundtable discussion on how to prevent jobs from moving to Indiana because of high property taxes and burdensome regulations.

“Too often in Illinois, employers face death by a thousand taxes, regulations and burdens. Time after time, politicians in Springfield have dictated new hurdles and burdens on hardworking business owners,” Governor Rauner said. “That’s why we continue to work every day to bring lawmakers together to support real, lasting property tax relief and other job-creating changes to grow our economy and create jobs.”

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Hegewisch is located on Chicago’s far south side, and used to be home to a large number of steel mills. In the 1970s, employment in the steel industry began trending downward, and in 1980, Wisconsin Steel closed its Hegewisch mill. Since this downturn, business districts like Baltimore Brandon are suffering with storefronts sitting vacant while property taxes and other burdens continue to increase.

“Hegewisch is a phenomenal community. We have all the qualities to foster small businesses and good jobs right here in Illinois, low crime rate, great housing and a skilled workforce. Unfortunately the current business climate is stifling our economic growth and potential,” said Bob Wisz, President of Hegewisch Business Association and owner of Doreen’s Gourmet Frozen Pizza Inc. “We have to invest in our communities and invest in our people. We’ve got the opportunity, the resources and the transportation here, despite that; we are losing businesses and jobs to Indiana. We hope to work with all levels of government so we can help our community, small businesses and all residents of the Southeast side."

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Hegewisch is two miles from the Indiana border where people and businesses are fleeing for bustling factories, good jobs and a booming economy. Hoosiers pay on average $1,085 in property taxes while Illinoisans are stuck with an average $3,995 in property taxes. The administration is working to make Illinois more competitive for small businesses by cutting the regulatory red tape and easing the burdens that they face.

“Illinois has the potential to be the fastest growing economy in the nation," said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. "If we implement common sense reforms to increase our competitiveness, we can attract investment to communities across the state, create jobs and increase Illinoisans' quality of life."

“Illinois’ central location, abundant water and natural resources, world-class transportation and logistics network, low-cost and reliable energy sources, highly educated workforce, and robust innovation network should make Illinois a clear leader for job creation,” said President and CEO of Intersect Illinois Mark Peterson. “Our business builders are key to fostering a successful ecosystem and it’s critical we do all we can to help them compete globally.”

Video of the event including footage from the tour and roundtable are available here.

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