Another national study shows Illinois struggles with jobs, money

Another national study shows Illinois struggles with jobs, finances

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Yet another national study ranks Illinois as a financial disaster area.

The snapshot from the study shows a state with billions of dollars in unpaid bills, and a legacy of budgets that are completely out of whack.

Additionally, there's another study that ranks the Chicago area below-average in social mobility. It looks at whether people here have a chance to make more money, live a better life than their parents and grandparents did, concluding that in Chicago they may not.

With new unemployment numbers scheduled to be revealed Friday, state government's top job recruiter told FOX 32 Thursday that Gov. Quinn is turning things around.

"Since February, 2010, which is the end of the (recession) we've created nearly 300,000 jobs [in the] private sector. That's this governor working on behalf of the State of Illinois, on behalf of people that work here…We see a lot of trends that are pointing in the right direction. We know there's a lot to do. We know and understand that unemployment is too high in this state. And we want to bring it down," Director of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Adam Pollet, said.

Illinois still has 600,000 fewer jobs than 14 years ago. Perhaps one reason researchers ranked the Chicago area only 32nd among America's 50 biggest cities in social mobility, based on how many here make more money than their parents. Four of the top five social mobility states are our Midwestern neighbors: Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, with Texas fifth.

While Texas also leads the country in new job growth, Pollet said Gov.. Quinn explicitly rejects the Texas economic model based on low taxes and low costs.

"The strategy is not to be bargain basement. We're not going to cut our way to growth and economic vitality. We have to invest in the people of Illinois and in the physical infrastructure. You know, businesses tell us time and again what makes them come to Illinois and what makes them want to be here and succeed and expand here is the ability to move their products in and out quickly. That's our world-class transportation infrastructure; and the fact that we have the people to run their businesses, the work force," Pollet said.

Laurence Msall, President of Civic Federation of Chicago, had a different opinion. "You can't try to convince a business that your financial condition is stable when it's not stable, when your budget from year to year has a continuing gap, when you're talking about raising taxes in double digits."

Laurence Msall's referring there to the General Assembly's plan to vote this spring on higher income tax rates for the "rich," a term supporters decline to define.

Gov.. Quinn has so far declined comment on the proposal, but in the past he's strongly supported the concept of higher income tax rates on higher earners.

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