Illinois' business climate criticized; U.S. Chamber puts blame on lawsuits

Belleville News-Democrat
Wednesday, March 9, 2005

The courts of Madison and St. Clair counties took another hit Tuesday when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cited them as reasons for Illinois dropping to 46th in the group's ranking of states' litigation climates.

Amber Hard of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a group that gets support from attorneys, said the Chamber "has a political interest in lambasting both these states, each of which is in the midst of heated partisan political battles over their state's legal system and so-called 'tort reform.'"
Hard said a business magazine in 2004 ranked Illinois the third-best business climate in the country. She said Illinois' ranking is "completely unwarranted, unfair and contrary to the opinion of business leaders in the state."
Jim Pennekamp is director of The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, an organization that promotes economic development in Madison and St. Clair counties. He said the region is doing well in attracting business.
Pennekamp said: "We are always concerned about situations which create a disincentive for investing in Southwestern Illinois or the state of Illinois, but what you're pointing to is a study done by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which says, 'OK, here is one issue, and because of the way we rate you on this issue, you are not a good place to do business.'
"I think there's a problem with that because most of the people who are aware of the business development here know we are a good place to do business. Obviously, there is always room for improvement."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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