I don't usually cede my blog to other writers (in fact, never), but this missive I just got today from the desk of Tim McCabe, chief of the state's economic development agency, challenging Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to an economic duel was just too fun.
Dear Honorable Mayor Daley:
On behalf of all Oregonians, and in particular state business development officials such as myself, I want to thank you for your recent remarks about Oregon's business climate. We truly appreciate your good sportsmanship and sense of humor when you said the recent vote by Oregonians to raise business and certain income taxes was good news for the Windy City. In fact, you went as far as to vow to visit our state to snag a few unhappy Oregon companies and bring them back to the Land of Lincoln.
Let me welcome you by letting you know about a few things you might find upon your arrival. First, in case you have forgotten, we have no sales tax here in Oregon. Second, our property taxes, in particular those on commercial properties, are some of the lowest in the nation. Finally, I am sure you know that the Tax Foundation's recent 2010 Business Tax Climate report found Oregon to be the 14th best state in the nation in which to do business. And, yes, that was after our voters passed the tax increases.
Before you arrive, perhaps you can verify for me some facts about the business climate in your neck of the woods. Illinois ranks 30th in the same 2010 Business Tax Climate report, correct? You have some of the highest property taxes in the nation (12th) and a state sales tax (6.25%) that ranks as the 10th highest in the nation. Of course, Chicago has the highest sales tax (10.25%) of any major U.S. city and parts of Cook County levy an 11.5% sales tax. Illinois also has the 5th highest unemployment insurance tax in the U.S. I just want to make very sure I have my facts straight when Oregon business leaders ask me about the advantages they will enjoy when they join you in Illinois.
We here in Oregon want to thank you for highlighting our state's positive business climate. Did you think Oregon business owners would not realize how much more expensive it would be to operate in Chicago? We are happy to have you draw even more attention to the fact that Oregon is home to more solar manufacturers than any place in North America and was 4th in the nation last year in adding new wind energy capacity.
I look forward to meeting you and buying you a tasty Oregon beer during your visit (yes, the Portland metro area has more breweries than any place in the world) and telling you more of the many reasons why Oregon is a great place to live and to do business.
All the best,
Tim McCabe, Director
Oregon Business Development Department - Business Oregon