Yet another Illinois-based company flees to Indiana

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

Illinois has lost another company to Indiana.

Enjoy Life Foods, a manufacturer of gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods, moved its production and distribution operations out of Chicago, then opened North America’s largest bakery of gluten-free and allergy-friendly goods in Jefferson, Indiana.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation said Enjoy Life is the 50th Illinois-based operation to cross the border since 2005.

Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said many companies here are unhappy with their prospects in Illinois.

“We talk to thousands of businesses over the course of a year, and they tell us very, very frequently that the business climate in Illinois is not suitable for them to be as successful as they need to (be) and that changes need to happen,” Maisch said.

Maisch said Illinois lawmakers need to modify the state’s business regulations, particularly a reworking of the workers’ compensation system, which is much more costly for Illinois employers than the systems in other states—including Indiana.

“We have prominent employers in the State of Illinois who say very similar (workers’ compensation insurance) plans in Illinois can have a cost that’s five to six times as much as it is in the State of Indiana,” Maisch said.

The chamber is calling for a new workers’ comp program “that would protect the rights of employees who are legitimately injured on the job, but takes unnecessary costs out of the system, so that’s first and foremost,” Maisch said.

Even without those requested changes in Springfield, business leaders have had some success with efforts to keep and even attract companies.

For instance, Amazon Inc. has opened several regional distribution centers and created thousands of new jobs in communities surrounding Chicago-proper, as well as the southern part of the state.

The online commerce and cloud computing giant clearly liked what it saw, Maisch said.

“The major reason Amazon chose Illinois is because of our logistics capability, our access to the right kinds of roads and workforce quality,” Maisch said.

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