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More bad news for Illinois

Madison County Record

Wednesday, September 13, 2017  |  Commentary  |  by Travis Akin, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch

Asbestos (48) , Legal System (27) , Tort Reform (27)
It seems as though whenever there is a list of state rankings, the news is seldom good for the State of Illinois. In fact, it is usually just the opposite.

Chief Executive Magazine released a report earlier this year ranking Illinois the third worst state in the nation for business. In the report, one CEO noted, “Illinois is becoming a worse state to do business in all the time. Other businesses are leaving Illinois, which affects our customer base.”

Businesses are leaving Illinois in large part because of the gamesmanship in our courts and certainly a newly released study bears this out.

The 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey, conducted by Harris Poll, ranks Illinois near the bottom of the nation in terms of its lawsuit environment – 48th worst of the 50 states.

It is time to change course. What Illinois needs is more jobs and more opportunities. Instead, what we get is more of the same. The reality is the status quo is not working. Illinois’ credit rating is near junk status and has a growing backlog of unpaid bills that is spiraling out of control. People are leaving Illinois in droves and still Illinois’ legislative leaders refuse to take the common-sense steps other states have taken to create jobs.

The survey results came from interviews of more than 1,200 corporate lawyers and senior executives at companies with more than $100 million in revenue. In other words, the survey is a glimpse inside the minds of the leaders who make crucial business decisions for successful companies — decisions like where to move or expand their operations.

And what did these business leaders have to say about the impact of lawsuit abuse on the companies they represent?

More than 85 percent of the business leaders surveyed by Harris Poll for this report say lawsuit climate is a “significant factor” in determining where to expand and grow. The reality is companies look to move to states where the legal climate is fair, which is why Illinois’ status as the third-worst state in the country for legal fairness is making it extremely difficult to attract new employers.

We need to create jobs in Illinois, not more lawsuits in Illinois. Unfortunately, lawmakers left Springfield without taking up any lawsuit reform legislation. While surrounding states are making real progress in enacting meaningful lawsuit reforms, Illinois continues to lag behind. Illinoisans should contact their legislators and ask them if they will stand with the personal injury lawyers, who are the only ones who profit from this unfair system, or the small businesses and individual citizens who are far too frequently targets of unfair frivolous lawsuits and are made to pay for personal injury lawyer greed.

Surrounding states have enacted lawsuit reform legislation and have turned their respective states around. We have a blueprint to success.

It is time we followed the lead of other states and finally enacted the reforms we need. The longer we wait, the more bad news we can expect Illinois to have.