Marquette Law School Poll: Support growing for cooperation in the Chicago “megacity”

MILWAUKEE -- A new Marquette Law School Poll of the Chicago megacity region, from southeast Wisconsin through the Chicago area and into northwest Indiana, finds a majority of residents saying that political leaders in all three states should work together to promote economic development throughout the region instead of competing with each other.

The poll says 70 percent of northeast Illinois residents, 72 percent of northwest Indiana residents and 61 percent of southeast Wisconsin residents said that leaders should work together. Twenty-eight percent in Illinois, 26 percent in Indiana and 35 percent in Wisconsin said that political leaders should look out for their own state first.

Nearly 60 percent in each state supported putting money in a common fund for coordinating planning for airports, railroads, highways and Lake Michigan shipping, with 63 percent in Illinois, 60 percent in Indiana and 58 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. Fewer than 40 percent in each state said that the states should go their own way on transportation planning.

Majorities in each state thought it would be better to have a single license in various trades and professions across the region than to require people to be licensed in each state with different state standards. Sixty-four percent in Illinois, 62 percent in Indiana and 54 percent in Wisconsin would support a single license, while 34 percent in Illinois, 36 percent in Indiana and 44 percent in Wisconsin thought that each state should set its own licensing requirements.

That support for regional efforts disappeared, however, on the subject of attracting large companies or tourism. A majority in each state said that states should go their own way in trying to attract large companies, with 51 percent in Illinois, 53 percent in Indiana and 60 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. Forty-three percent in Illinois, 41 percent in Indiana and 35 percent in Wisconsin would support a common fund for business recruitment. For tourism, even more respondents said that the states should go their own way, with 59 percent of Illinois, 58 percent of Indiana and 65 percent of Wisconsin supporting independent efforts by the states. Only 36 percent of Illinois, 38 percent of Indiana and 33 percent of Wisconsin would support a common fund for tourism promotion.

Respondents also said that they would be willing to move across state lines, if their jobs were nearby, in order to have lower property and income taxes. Sixty-five percent in Illinois, 67 percent in Indiana and 62 percent in Wisconsin said they would move to a lower-tax state if their job were near the border. In Illinois 28 percent said they would not move, as did 29 percent in Indiana and 31 percent in Wisconsin.

Respondents were asked whether they would strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: “The most important thing to me is how well things are going where I live and I really don’t care what’s happening elsewhere in the region.” More than 60 percent of respondents in each state disagree with the statement that the most important thing is how well things are going where they live. By a two-to-one margin, they say they care about the wider region.

CLICK HERE to read more results on this poll