State Fiscal Crisis

Smells Like Goodbye: Jimmy John's Bails Out of Illinois?


Illinois could be smelling less delicious in the near future thanks to the state's new tax regime. Jimmy John's founder and majority-owner Jimmy John Liautaud is packing his family's bags for Florida and he's thinking about moving his company headquarters out-of-state, too:

Real Huskers get the party platter

"I could absorb this and adapt, but it doesn't feel good in my soul to make it happen," Liautaud said….

Liautaud said he has been contacted by "multiple pro-business states" that made him feel "wanted and important."

"I enjoy being courted and the process," he said.

Liautaud said Indiana was one attractive destination, citing the full-page ad taken out by Indianapolis in Illinois newspapers touting its "Midwestern work ethic and conveniences in a "much more stable, affordable and pro-growth economic environment." 

Losing the Champaign-based company would cost Illinois about 100 jobs and the business of another 190 monthly visitors. Surprisingly, the administration is not ready to apologize:

Spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Marcelyn Love said that the corporate income tax will "help stabilize the budget, making Illinois more attractive to businesses."

As long as Illinois' government sticks to its guns, it should expect an increasing number of goodbyes from its impressive corporate roster.

More from Reason on the state fiscal crises here. 

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  1. I read the headline as “Jimmy John’s Balls Out of Illinois?”

    Knowing nothing of the company, I thought you were talking about a male escort service.

    1. In that case I’ll go without the free smells, thank you.

    2. No, don’t tell us what the fuck a Jimmy John’s is, Reason intern. Just let us keep guessing.

      1. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this new website called…

        1. Fucking writing. How does it work?

      2. you’d think in an article about Jimmy Johns, they could take a few word to explain what it is, without us having to do our own independent research

        I guess “free smells” is a clue, but maybe help us out a bit more:

        “Jimmy Johns, a local strip club…”

        “Jimmy Johns, a well known hog rendering plant…”

        “Jimmy Johns, the 3rd largest chewing tobacco vendor in the tri-state area…”

        “Jimmy Johns, a chemical weapons contractor for the Syrian government…”

        “Jimmy Johns, a specialty frozen yogurt vendor for terminal cancer patients…”

      3. Yeah! And the picture posted with the article didn’t help at all.

  2. “Marcelyn Love said that the corporate income tax will “help stabilize the budget, making Illinois more attractive to businesses.”

    Stupid enough to think that higher taxes actually attract businesses, or just out and out lying?

    1. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    2. War is peace.
      Freedom is slavery.
      Ignorance is knowledge.

      And now…the Illinois corallary!

      Higher taxes attract more business.

    3. The problem is that the statement includes a partial truth. Of course businesses prefer states with more stability. It’s just insanely stupid (or intentionally dishonest) to claim that higher taxes are the only way to stabilize things.

      I grew up in IL and it’s just sad to see what’s happening there.

    4. Only a politician could be stupid enough to believe something so assinine.

    5. Is that how Marcelyn stabilizes the budget at home? So how many jobs is she up to now, since she increases her income to “stabilize the budget” instead of cuts spending?

      This made me think of our own state governor, Gregoire, who got all snippy in front of cameras–yes, mad at the electorate–for voting a straight anti-tax ticket last fall. Excuse you, beeyotch, but whose fault is it we’re $5 billion in debt anyhow?

      I’ve never tried Jimmy John’s. They look like such a fun place from the outside, I was disappointed to walk in one once and find that all they served were boring subs.

      1. True, but those boring subs are fucking delicious.

        1. Don’t listen to this guy, they are worse than Subway. And my company insists on using them to cater us lunches ever since they came to town. We used to get Famous Dave’s and Fudruckers, oh the inhumanity! Fuckers!!!

  3. Surprisingly, the administration is not ready to apologize

    An apology is not what’s really needed. What’s needed is an understanding of economic reality. If high taxes drives businesses out of the state, the state is less likely to get the revenue it seeks. They can caterwaul about evul capitalists all they want. They can’t change economic law no matter what edicts they issue.

    1. “It’s a law. We amend laws all the time.”

  4. I’m not Rick Scott’s biggest fan, but this would be a huge media coup for him if this guy brings 1000 jobs. He’ll be 1/700th of the way to his goal.

    1. Doh 100 jobs not 1000. Reading fail.

  5. “help stabilize the budget, making Illinois more attractive to businesses.”

    “Illinois: “State Insolvency, Plundering Union “

  6. Voting with his feet.

  7. Here is the history lesson they never learned in IL from MD.

    1. People have Irsayed from Maryland before.

  8. If a Potbelly were to start burning out of control, would the folks at the nearest Firehouse come by to put out the flames?

  9. This just illustrates why we need a single, oppressive tax regime for all 50 states.

    1. I’d say we already have that–in the form of our federal taxes.

    2. Don’t give the beltway thugs any ideas, they just might with the commerce clause.

      1. Great, I always hoped to see the Union disintegrate in my time.

    3. I think a Solar System tax will be sufficient for the foreseeable future.

    4. That’s exactly the point of the EU and OECD tax harmonization regimes: to protect high-tax jurisdictions from being poached by low-tax ones.

  10. Jimmy Johns sucks ass. It’s basically a shit-load of iceberg lettuce on a

    1. Roll?

    2. Well, stop buying the Veggie Sub if you want something besides lettuce.

      PS Yes, I love Jimmy Johns – LOVE IT, I SAY!

      1. Jimmy John’s is not bad, but when I can get a Potbelly’s sandwich, that’s the way I go.

    3. JJ’s is the fastest sandwich ever, and tastes great. Was my favorite place to eat during grad school in Champaign, IL. Had no idea it was HQ’d there, though.

  11. There’s probably some Illinois pol who is already thinking, “Jimmy John’s operates in interstate commerce. That is subject to Federal control. Allowing companies to move where they please is disruptive to local economies and labor.Let’s get our guy in the White House to ban
    companies operating in interstate commerce from leaving the state where they are domiciled.”

  12. Lets just mandate business move to IL. There, budget problem solved.

  13. Lets just mandate business move to IL. There, budget problem solved.

  14. And lets mandate the server squirrels post everything twice.

    1. Excellent idea.

    2. Excellent idea.

  15. I applaud his contemplation of telling Illinois to fuck off. I dislike his comment about states courting him, nothing like giving a ton of tax breaks and setting up barriers to get companies to move in.

  16. “As long as Illinois’ government sticks to its guns, it should expect an increasing number of goodbyes from its impressive corporate roster.”

    More right-wing incitement of violence. /s

  17. Did anyone pass this on to pro-tax “libertarian” McArdle?

    1. I have a funny feeling someone on the staff let her know. Now if only he could just make her listen.

  18. Guess Citizen Liautaud didn’t get the President’s message re: “spreading the wealth around”.

    Typical selfish, capitalist prick. If I didn’t love Jimmy Johns subs so much, I’d stop eating there to protest his self-centeredness…

  19. I, too, think Jimmy Johns’ subs are awesome. I wish there was one out here.

  20. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity


  21. As long as Illinois’ government sticks to its guns…


  22. When they move, I will stop by my local franchise for lunch regularly.

  23. Yet one more reason not to live in Illinois. Jimmy Johns is the best. Subway is revolting in comparison.

    1. Subway’s is the worst of a diverse lot, though. You’ve got Potbelly, Firehouse and Jimmy John’s, and even Quizno’s and Jersey Mike’s are fair.

  24. My wife has been working part time every Saturday for years helping her friend who owns a small beauty salon. A nice $100 or so per week little side job washing hair, answering the phone, sweeping, and getting paid to gossip. Her owner friend had already concluded a year ago that with all the bullshit that goes with running your own business it MIGHT not be worth it for her to stay open vs. plying her trade in someone elses venue (hotel, nursing home, renting a chair somewhere, etc). Well, this recent Illinois tax hike did it. She told my wife last week she is not going to renew her lease because she will end up making about the same money working for others (without all the headache).

    So, now I’d just like to say a big FUCK YOU to all you people in Illinois who keep electing these Democrats. Do you know how many good times I’ve had all these years on Saturday while the wife was out “working” with her friend? The only consolation I have is that now all you assholes know without any doubt how badly you fucked up. Hope you all die young and go to hell.


    1. your wife is cheating on you

      1. Yeah, but it gets her out of the house.

  25. Jimmy John’s became my favorite sandwich place the first time I walked in to one and saw a sign that said “Bread so French it must be liberated”

  26. Illinois could go with the Michigan plan: legalize medical marijuana, then robs everywhere that sells it.

    1. ….then rob Jimmy Johns when you get the munchies

    2. Wouldn’t it be easier to just conduct armed robberies of all businesses?

  27. Bikerider|1.20.11 @ 5:36PM|#
    “The problem is that the statement includes a partial truth. Of course businesses prefer states with more stability. It’s just insanely stupid (or intentionally dishonest) to claim that higher taxes are the only way to stabilize things….”

    I’d argue that higher taxes *de*-stabilize a given government. Never, but *never*, have I seen the supposed increased revenue go to balancing a budget, let alone paying off some of the debt.
    In *every* case, the increase has led to a further increase in spending, thereby further de-stabilizing the given budget.
    Starve the beast.

  28. You do realize that one major liberal goal is to eventually create a country where there are no pro-business states left….right?

  29. The success of Illinois’ increased tax plan in raising revenue rests on the assumption that there will be the same number of tax payers in Illinois over the next 4 years. I predict that the number of taxpayers in Illinois will decline over the next 4 years as more higher wage earners move out and fewer new wage earners move in. Taxes will have to raised again when tax revenue fails.

    1. whoops! meant to say “falls” instead of “fails” but either word will do.

  30. Sears, Boeing, McDonalds, Walgreens…

    Still think Boeing was stupid to move to Chicago.

  31. Since Jimmy John’s is now trying to avoid paying taxes, they are doing a disservice to the government. Denial of tax revenue is a form of political violence towards the government, as it will effectively deny government officials enough money to live. In order to preserve our democracy, moving in order to avoid taxes should be prevented and/or severely penalized.

    1. they’re obviously racist

  32. Hm, uninformed posturing by a business owner?

    I can’t help but wonder just how much the increase is actually going to cost them – I suspect that after doing the math & taking out expenses, etc. that it’s going to end up being less than most people would expect and almost guaranteed to be less than the cost of relocation.

    And that’s ignoring the fact that Indiana has a higher corporate tax rate than Illinois, even after the IL increase. I can see the claims now: “Those bastards in Springfield raised my tax rate from 4.8% to 7%! I’ll show them by moving my business to a state with a corporate tax rate of 8.5%!”…..-Wisconsin

    1. The owner of Jimmy John’s has moved his personal residence to Florida, which has NO personal income tax. He is considering moving his Corporate headquarters to Florida, not Indiana or wisconsin. Florida has a flat 5.5% corporate income tax. Illinois’ corporate rate is 7 percent, but the state also charges a personal property replacement tax ? on top of the corporate rate ? of 2.5 percent. The two taxes combined make Illinois’ effective rate 9.5 percent for corporations.

      1. Alan is pretty sure that rich people don’t even notice tax rates. They are rich so why would they care? That and someone has to fund his government checks!

  33. I come from the future to tell you all that you have no idea how stupid shit can actually get.

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