Chris Carmen / August 16, 2016
When comparing Illinois and Indiana, one of the first things that may come to mind is each state’s major city. Chicago, the “City of Broad Shoulders,” is famous for its size, culture, business environment and impressive skyline. It’s not unexpected to consider Indianapolis as a smaller, yet developing city. Chicago always seems to trump Indianapolis, but in recent years, the tides may be turning.
With all of the buzz surrounding Indianapolis, the city has received repeated accolades in many areas when compared to Chicago. In recent years, Indianapolis was a centerpiece of Indiana’s economic development campaign targeting Illinois, and specifically Chicago area businesses in an effort to take advantage of Indianapolis’ favorable business environment.
An opinion article was published by Crain’s Chicago Business on the debate between the two states. Willy Shih, a Harvard professor, and Austin Hall, a recent Harvard graduate, shared their beliefs on each in their article, A Harvard professor weighs in on the great IL vs. IN debate.
In an effort to remove the subjectivity of marketing campaigns and hearsay, Shih and Hall used their article to focus on comparing the two states in terms of job creation and the economy. In each point, Indiana seemed to be the favorite.
One case where Indiana excelled in their opinion was its use of private and public funding, mentioning the formation of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The IEDC offers a number of support programs for businesses looking to expand in Indiana. The IEDC’s creation of Certified Technology Parks encourages tech growth, which is a rapidly growing sector in the state.
A huge win for Indiana was its state ranking for taxes. Indiana placed the 8th overall with Illinois at 23rd on the Tax Foundation’s 2016 list. For property tax, Indiana sat at 5th with Illinois at 45th. Indiana ranked 20th for corporate tax and Illinois ranked 36th. However, Shih and Hall noted that tax predictability is more crucial than tax rates. Indiana has made great strides to achieve tax predictability. Shih and Hall point out that legislation was passed in 2011 lowering corporate tax from 8.5% to 6.5%. Ironically, the article was timely with respect to Chicago’s leadership approving significant property tax increase.
Indiana’s leaders, in particular, former governor Mitch Daniels and current governor and US VP Candidate, Mike Pence, have made it a priority to improve Indiana’s business environment. Shih and Hall recognized this when noting that Indiana has grown and succeeded in improving the categories analyzed in their study.
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