AP NEWS

Kentucky is using billboards to lure Illinois companies

October 26, 2019

CHICAGO (AP) — Kentucky launched a marketing campaign to coax Illinois companies to move across the border with promises of lower taxes and better weather.

Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development designed the billboards, which attack Illinois’ taxes and regulations, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The first billboard proclaims, “Illinois isn’t pro-business, Kentucky is.” It went up on Monday. Eight more billboards are expected to go up before the end of the month as part of the six-month campaign.

Kentucky is paying about $87,000 for the billboards and creative costs, said Jack Mazurak, spokesman for the cabinet, said.

“We have had a number of Illinois businesses inquire about doing business in the state,” said Vivek Sarin, Kentucky’s economic development interim secretary. “It’s enough to catch our attention and justify this campaign that we are launching.”

Sarin said Illinois companies are interested in Kentucky because of its so-called right-to-work law, which was upheld by the state’s Supreme Court last year. The measure prohibits requiring workers to join unions and bars private-sector employees who don’t join from collecting fees.

A sign will also target Illinois’ regulations for being “insane” and one uses the first three letters in the word “Illinois” to claim that the state’s tax system is “ill.”

Illinois companies pay a 7% corporate income tax rate and a personal property replacement tax rate of 1.5% to 2.5%.

Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokeswoman for Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, said in a statement that the governor has repealed several taxes.

“Governor Pritzker is a businessman who knows how important it is to create an environment where businesses thrive by investing in education and infrastructure while making it easier to create jobs,” Abudayyeh said. “Chicago leads the nation in corporate relocation and the state’s unemployment rate is the lowest in recorded history.”