Midwest Memo: Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sears once seemed synonymous with downtown Chicago.

But the landmark skyscraper once called the Sears Tower name officially changed its name in 2009. Now, Sears may disappear from Illinois entirely. A tax-incentive agreement with the state expires next year, and parent company Sears Holding Corp. is exploring the possibility of relocation.

“We do owe it to our associates and shareholders to consider options and alternatives and intend to be very thoughtful and thorough in our deliberations,” spokesperson Kimberly Freely told the Akron Beacon Journal. Changing Gears reporter Niala Boodhoo examined the future of Sears in March.

Sears has been around since 1893. (Niala Boodhoo)

Today, multiple reports indicate Ohio may in contention to land the company and its 6,000 jobs. That’s a problem, according to Midwest economic expert Richard C. Longworth, who lamented the inter-state poaching of cornerstone businesses yesterday on Urbanophile.

“It would seem impossible for Midwestern states to get any sillier and more irrelevant, but they’re trying,” he writes. He says states should find competitors overseas, not among each other.

In a related note, our partner Michigan Radio reported today Ford will create 300 new jobs … in India.

Elsewhere across the Midwest:

The Detroit Food Policy Council is holding its first conference this week, and a writer for The New York Times believes that local food movements and urban gardens can be a central part of self-reliance and growth in the Motor City. Likewise, a food cooperative in the Mahoning Valley is strengthening the relationship between local growers and restaurants.

Our partner WBEZ.org in Chicago reports today the Illinois Supreme Court could soon decide the fate of $31 billion earmarked for infrastructure construction. A lawsuit contends the way the bill is funded violates the state’s constitution.

Photo courtesy of Ohio Public Radio.

A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University reveals a majority of Ohio residents want to see SB5 repealed, according to Ideastream. Respondents said they oppose the law’s provisions barring strikes and preventing health-care negotiations, but they support other parts of the bill. Here is some background about SB5.


Under Gov. Rick Snyder, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. will stop touting ‘indirect’ job-creation numbers, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

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