Illinois also has the fourth-highest minimum wage in the nation.
Illinois’ corporate tax rates ranks, you guessed it, the fourth highest in the nation.
Given these numbers, it’s little wonder that Illinois has the 11th-lowest rate of entrepreneurship in the U.S., according to the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index.
And small businesses are the major job generators in the economy.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small firms employ just more than half of the private sector workforce and created nearly two-thirds of the nation’s net new jobs over the past 15 years.
Please keep in mind, every big company started out small.
Not all that long ago, Apple was an idea of Steve Jobs, who was running the business out of his home’s garage. The same could be said of Amazon, which not that long ago was just a fledgling startup in Seattle.
Small firms are the ones most hurt by the Prairie State’s backward approach to taxes and regulation.
There seems to be a mindset among Illinois lawmakers that business is a bottomless pit from which they can continue to extract money.
According to a 2013 Bradley University/University of Tennessee study, 25 percent of small businesses fail in their first year, and 73 percent go under within a decade.
Those are pretty daunting odds.
Not surprisingly, entrepreneurs look for places to start a business where they are most likely to succeed.
And increasingly they are concluding Illinois is not one of those places.
But the secret to turning things around is pretty straightforward: lower taxes and fewer regulations for all businesses and individuals – not just the politically favored.
With that, more people will be willing to take a chance on Illinois.
Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse reporter and the journalist in residence at the Illinois Policy Institute. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.