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No apologies for luring Illinois businesses to Wis., "poaching" works both ways


MILWAUKEE, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin leaders made no apologies this afternoon for luring businesses into the Badger State from Illinois – even though an official in Chicago called it “mean-spirited” and “short-sighted.” It was a main topic of discussion at a conference at Marquette University on ways to get Milwaukee and Chicago to work together, to better compete in the world economy. A seven-county economic development group in the Milwaukee area started a campaign last year to “poach” companies from Illinois. Group leader Gale Klappa said companies move both ways across the border – most notably, Milwaukee’s Miller Brewing which moved its executives to Chicago after it merged with Coors in 2007. The Milwaukee group’s industrial recruiter, Pat O’Brien, said competition is good. But Toni Preckwinkle, who heads the Cook County Board in Chicago, told the conference that Wisconsin’s efforts to lure Illinois businesses were just plain wrong. Governor Scott Walker has publicly invited Illinois businesses to come to Wisconsin to escape tax increases in the Prairie State just over a year ago. Paul Jadin, head of the public-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, said the state does not have a policy to “poach” – but his office will listen to any Illinois businesses interested in moving.