It’s been creating quite a stir – the founder of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches likes to go out of his way to say that he’s leaving Illinois (he lives in Champaign) because he’s offended by Illinois taxation.
He wants to claim that Illinois is so egregious in the way it conducts itself that it is driving poor little Jimmy John out of the state. In his case, he’s going to Florida.
WHICH MAKES ME suspect he really just wants to move there, and is looking for cover – while also trying to score some cheap political points (Jimmy Liautaud himself was one of Mitt Romney’s delegates to the Republican National Convention).
Liautaud has been making these kind of statements for the past couple of years, threatening to leave.
That stink was stirred up this week when Crain’s Chicago Business reported about an Illinois Policy Institute conference at which Liautaud spoke, saying he’s likely to leave come 2013.
He’s headed to Florida, which he wants us to believe is a business-friendly state that will not be as oppressive as big, bad, old Illinois. He wants us to think that we’re all going to be losing out on something significant once he leaves – and takes his company’s corporate offices with him.
IT SEEMS HE has rented a house somewhere in “south Florida” (he won’t be more specific, but I suspect it’s a Miami suburb – the city proper likely would not appeal to someone of his ilk).
I say everybody has a right to live their life as they wish. If he wants to live amongst those people (I have one cousin who does, but I personally don’t find the thought appealing), let him go.
But what caught my attention about this whole sorry saga was when I saw a summary of the issue that was put together by the Capitol Fax newsletter.
For it seems that Rich Miller, the newsletter’s publisher, found a tidbit that I haven’t seen turn up in any of the stories that are being rewritten based off the Crain’s story published this week.
THE TIDBIT IS that Liautaud’s children are still enrolled in schools in Champaign – even though he had hinted they would transfer to somewhere in Florida.
Also, Liautaud’s wife is going to continue to live in Champaign with the kids. Only little Jimmy John is moving.
Now to ensure that the couple doesn’t do anything that could be construed by the Internal Revenue Service and a U.S. attorney somewhere as a federal offense, the couple is going to file separate income tax returns.
Which means Liautaud will lose the tax benefits of having a wife. But I’m sure he figures to gain something from relocating his business interests to a southern state that he will make up for it.
ALL IN ALL, it sounds to me like all this blather is more about Liautaud not wanting to pay taxes, and trying to find the legal way of getting around it. Which may be in accordance with the “letter of the law,” but sounds an awful lot like a tax dodge to me!
More power to him if he can do all this without running afoul of the law. I just wish he would quit all the moralistic handwringing that claims this is an Illinois problem with regards to our behavior – rather than just his hang-up in his dealings with the Illinois Department of Revenue or the fact that he wishes he resided in a “red” state (which is what this whole issue is probably really all about).
Liautaud has the right to say, and think, whatever he wants. I just wish he’d admit that all these rants he has engaged in are nothing more than politically partisan blather that have become quite old from repetition.
Besides, I really think that few people really care where the corporate office, so to speak, is located when they go to a business that is part of a chain.
UNLESS THE COMPANY plans to pull its actual stores out of Illinois, we’re not going to miss Jimmy John himself.
And he’s not about to move the stores – he wants our money. I’m even sure he realizes that if he really did make such a nonsensical move as moving, the bulk of us would have no problem finding a good deli or some other place where we could find a superior sandwich.