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Indiana Groups Work To Lure Business From Illinois

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) - Economic development groups in northwest Indiana are taking steps to recruit businesses from Illinois including an advertising campaign highlighting the area's transportation infrastructure, proximity to Chicago, work force and facilities.

Karen Lauerman, marketing and communications director of the economic development group Northwest Indiana Forum, told The Times of Munster that a number of area groups are cooperating on the campaign, which began before Illinois decided to raise its income taxes.

``We're working with our partners to focus on the advantages of Northwest Indiana and the rest of Indiana,'' Lauerman said. ``We'll be using a variety of mediums for this significant public relations effort - everything from billboards to social media to specific advertising.''

Last week, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. also launched a new advertising campaign to place billboards in Illinois border communities and buy ads online and in newspapers in Chicago, Peoria and Springfield.

``We'll also be knocking on doors,'' said Mitch Roob, Indiana secretary of commerce and CEO of the IEDC.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has said the income tax increase is something the state needs to pay its bills, but has stressed it is intended to expire in four years. Quinn signed legislation raising both personal and corporate income taxes to help address billions of dollars in government shortfalls.

Rex Richards, president of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, said the Porter County Alliance recently produced new printed materials to highlight the business opportunities in such areas as Duneland, Chesterton, Valparaiso, Hebron and Kouts. He said the results of relocation efforts won't be known for a while.

``Any time a company decides to make capital expenditures, it's generally 12 to 18 months,'' he said. ``What makes it tricky is when a company decides to move 40 to 50 miles away, it affects the work force. How far will employees be willing to travel?''

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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