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Superior Truss and Panels finds Indiana an attractive draw

Published: Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

MARKHAM— Businesses in Illinois are having a hard time resisting the strong draw of Indiana’s business climate, some say.

Citing kinder tax and regulatory codes, one Illinois businesses is packing up shop for Illinois’ eastern neighbor state.

Bryce Welty is the president of Superior Truss and Panels — a company that bills itself as “America’s largest fabricator and erector of light gauge steel trusses and wall panels” — and is moving his company to Indiana because he says the business climate is much friendlier there.

“The short answer is: taxes. Taxes and workers’ compensation rates,” Welty said. “I can make a much bigger profit and grow more quickly and steadily in Indiana than in Illinois.”

Superior Truss and Panel will leave its Markham location and invest more than $2.5 million over the next two years in its new spot in Gary, Ind. Its goal is to open up in the new location in 2016.

Welty said the state of Indiana, as well as the city of Gary, offered Superior Truss and Panels some enticing incentives to make the move.

“They’re offering great breaks on property taxes, as well as reducing a lot of the licensing fees and red tape it takes to start a business in a new place,” Welty said. “We could tell from the start they really want our business. And Illinois is just such a hard place to grow.”

Indiana, for its part, isn’t bashful about trying to convince Illinois businesses to move across the state line. The Hoosier State is even running a billboard marketing campaign directed at Illinois companies that asks “ILL-Annoyed by higher taxes?”

Vincent Vernuccio is the director of labor policy at the Mackinaw Center for Public Policy — a Michigan-based nonprofit think tank — and vouches for the draw states like Indiana and Michigan have on Illinois companies. He argues that the state’s unionization policies play a role in the decision-making processes for businesses owners looking to move, even if they won’t admit it.

“The climate is much better for businesses, workers, and job creators in Indiana and Michigan because both states have right-to-work, and it’s another reason why businesses are moving out of Illinois,” Vernuccio said. “Illinois also has a higher tax burden, which is catering more to the special interests and is making it harder for job creators to provide employment. Right after right-to-work was passed, Michigan became one of the best destinations for new businesses opening up. We’ve seen a lot new businesses coming in, and Indiana is experiencing the same thing.”

Businesses and individual residents are leaving Illinois at a high clip. According to new data compiled by The State Budget Solutions think tank, Illinois has lost nearly 50,000 residents in the past year. Because of this out-migration trend, Illinois is second-worst nationally in terms of income lost.

The loss of Superior Truss and Panel will cost Illinois several dozen jobs.

Illinois News Network is affiliated with the Chicago-based Illinois Policy Institute.

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