Todd MaischWhile the governor says the state should be average instead of being near the bottom on a variety of things, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce says the state should strive to be in the top ten.

Announcing the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Competitiveness Study, which the Chamber says will provide policy makers and the public a benchmark for comparing Illinois to other states on a variety of factors, Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch said Illinois has moved up in the rankings.

“Illinois, despite its considerable problems, has actually moved up in the rankings from 46th to 39th,” Maisch said.


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With Illinois still near the bottom for other factors, Governor Bruce Rauner has said the Land of Lincoln should strive to be average. Maisch said the Chamber wants Illinois above average.

“We don’t want to simply get to 25, we want to be top 10,” Maisch said. “But the reality is we’re mired in the 40s, so you’ve got to aspire to 25 before you can aspire to the top 10.”

The study evaluates general macroeconomic environment, state debt and taxation, workforce composition and cost, labor and capital formation and regulatory environment.

Maisch said while Illinois has moved up in the rankings policy makers could end up getting in the way.

“But the things that policymakers can really influence, we continue to lag very heavily and that continues to drag us down,” Maisch said.

Some of those areas include tax policy and workers compensation, Maisch said.

Meanwhile, Maisch said what stuck out to him in the study is the amount of people fleeing Illinois.

“The outmigration of about 760,000 Illinoisans who are now living somewhere else,” Maich said, “that is something I think the general public should focus on.” 

Maisch said the study is meant to be a benchmark for policy makers and the public to better understand how Illinois is competing with other states and is expected to be updated on a yearly basis.


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