Friday, September 13, 2013

Boasting about business? Is Quinn desperate for an accomplishment?

I realize that government officials like to be able to claim they’re bringing business interests to within their boundaries.

Now a part of Chicago economy
It’s a boost for the economy, creates some jobs that can be held by local people and also makes it look like the officials actually got off their collective duffs and did something to earn their share of the taxpayer money that covers their salaries.

YET I COULDN’T help but be amused by the lengthy statement issued by Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday that took great pride in the fact that Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. is now a Chicago-based business.

The company is developing a corporate headquarters just west of the Loop. Some 80 people will be employed there. Although as Crain's Chicago Business reported Thursday, the move actually occurred in April 2012.

Now, every time that someone decides to imbibe themselves with that particular substance, they will be doing their part to bolster the economies of both Chicago and Illinois. While also laughing at us for how ridiculous of an extreme our officials will go to in order to boast about a business accomplishment!

Because getting all worked up over Mike's strikes me as being the equivalent of when a suburban municipality gets all worked up over having a chain ice cream stand or some other fast food franchise develop a location within their boundaries. Or maybe when they get a new gasoline station.

I’M NOT SAYING Mike’s Hard Lemonade should go away. It just strikes me as something miniscule to get all worked up over. Having 80 new jobs in Chicago isn’t going to be the key to revitalizing the local economy.

It strikes me more as a statement made by a governor whose getting tired of hearing all kinds of cheap rhetoric from surrounding states about encouraging businesses to leave Illinois and locate in their boundaries – usually because they charge lesser tax rates.

Although the truth usually comes down to a business gets what it pays for. And many of those surrounding states don’t offer as much in perks or services as Illinois offers.

QUINN: Needs something to brag about
Which is why the lower rates are essential for anyone to consider locating in those spots.

NOW I’M NOT interested in turning this commentary into a regional spat of Illinois vs. Indiana or Iowa or Missouri or Wisconsin or anywhere else.

I just find it odd the way this attitude makes our officials feel compelled to overhype every little move. How else to explain the Quinn statement, “The presence of a dynamic company like Mike’s is the kind of business Illinois needs to advance our vision of becoming one of the most exciting and vibrant business corridors in the nation.”

This is the kind of hyperbole I would expect if Illinois were to attract a business like Boeing within our boundaries. Which we did many years ago – the corporate offices for the airplane manufacturer are in the Second City.

But the business climate has changed since that move occurred about a decade ago.

WHICH IS WHY we now get all excited at the thought of Mike’s Hard Lemonade locating in Illinois! Woo hoo!!!!

I hope this commentary doesn’t come across as a Mike’s bashing session. It isn’t. I’m not a regular consumer of their product. But I don’t have anything against people who do drink it.

It’s just that I’d like to think our public officials are thinking on a bigger scale.

While I realize it is possible to snatch a small business here and there and have them add up to something significant, it also is hard to keep up such a pace. Even though Illinois claims to have added 244,300 private sector jobs since 2010.

IT’S NOT LIKE Anheuser-Busch suddenly became tired of being located in St. Louis and decided to shift their operations to a South Side-based brewery, or anything like that.

It would be nicer if we didn’t have a governor so desperate (just like a Chicago Cubs fan often does, in fact) to tout miniscule achievements on this issue.


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