Businesses Flee Illinois to Escape Blue-State Stagflation

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Chicago enjoys well-deserved fame for its restaurants and cuisine. Some of the less-than-healthy eating habits of Chicagoans earned the satire of Saturday Night Live’s legendary “Superfans” skit. In those hilarious bits, exaggerated Chicago Bears die-hards down Old Style brews along with Chicago-style hot dogs and beefs.

Perhaps the most famous purveyor of such fare, Portillo’s, began in 1963 as a humble hot dog stand in Villa Park, IL. It was founded by Marine veteran Dick Portillo and through hard work and terrific recipes, his business blossomed into a successful chain that now thrives as a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq.

Recently the Illinois-headquartered company announced aggressive expansion plans—only, not close to home. In fact, Bloomberg News reports that this “beloved Chicago restaurant chain is looking outside Illinois for growth as population declines drive business elsewhere.”

The CEO of Portillos, Michael Osanloo, got specific on why the company now focuses on states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida: “We’re going to places where the population is growing, where the economies are healthy, where there is a great environment for companies.”

Mr. Osanloo was too polite to directly criticize Illinois’ environment for consumers and businesses, but his indirect slight speaks volumes. Like so many regular citizens of Illinois, companies now “vote with their feet” by choosing to either relocate entirely to red states, or to at least invest forward-looking resources into those states, to the detriment of Illinois.

Stagflation—high inflation and stagnating growth—afflicts all of America, thanks to the exorbitant profligacy of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, plus their radical assault on domestic American energy. But the financial pain is more acute in blue jurisdictions like Illinois.

When it comes to the inflationary component of stagflation, Governor JB Pritzker takes the crisis of his political pal Joe Biden to a new level for Illinois residents. 

By Steve Cortes

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