Slapping Band Aids on Illinois' Economic Problems

Prairie Gleanings

We've got to make our state more business friendly. This isn't just a Chicago phenomenon. Rural farmers rising up against CAFOs is a disheartening.

Published on: December 20, 2011
I think I’ve figured out why many of our nation’s politicians have law degrees rather than medical doctorates.

Have you ever seen an ER doc slap a Band Aid on a gunshot wound and call it good? Of course not. That wouldn’t fix the root cause. The bullet needs to be removed, lest the body be forced to fight added stress from infection.

On the other hand, our legal system is a complex patchwork of Band Aid upon Band Aid. Many times the lawyer who understands how and why a multitude of “fixes” were layered in on a specific topic is deemed the winner. It seems the same thinking applies for our legislature.

Today, I’m ranting about Illinois tax credits for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ($85 million) and Sears ($15 million). From the looks of it, more credits will follow.

Wait a minute, is this the same state government that wanted to know how much sales tax I may or may not owe them as a result of online purchases? They’re concerned with collecting a paltry $10 here and there from its citizens, but they refuse to dig deep into why our state’s businesses want to get out of Dodge.

For many years, Illinois’ ag sector has recognized that our state is extremely unfriendly to business. The Illinois Ag Legislative Roundtable’s Vision for Illinois Agriculture seeks to make our state more competitive.

Yet, our leaders appear to be unconvinced. Rather than making efforts to make our economic climate friendly for business, we just hand out multi-million-dollar Band Aids to stem a mass exodus.

If Chicago voters do not demand change, they may soon find themselves without a job. I guess they can either follow the company to another city. Or, they could move down state and find work on the farm. Unfortunately, you don’t have the option of moving to a more business-friendly state.

Lastly, this isn’t only a Chicago phenomenon. I’ve heard many disheartening stories of rural farm folks rising up in unison to keep out livestock facilities. In the eyes of one such person I spoke with, milking 100 cows is fine. Milking 5,000 should be a crime. I told this person that I’m a capitalist and would not support such a stance.  

If you’re in the anti-CAFO camp, I challenge you to take a hard look at your opinion. There was a day when milking 100 cows would have seemed outrageous. Plus, with fewer folks wanting to farm, farms must get larger to feed the same number of mouths.