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Caterpillar threatens to leave Illinois over taxes

By Dow Jones Newswires-Wall Street Journal

Caterpillar Inc., suggesting that it could shift jobs out of Illinois, is prodding its home state to cut government spending and roll back tax increases.

Doug Oberhelman, chief executive officer of the giant Peoria-based maker of construction and mining equipment, protested against the state’s tax and spending policies in a March 21 letter to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who took office in January 2009.

“I want to stay here,” the letter said. “But as the leader of this business, I have to do what’s right for Caterpillar when making decisions about where to invest. The direction that this state is headed in is not favorable to business, and I’d like to work with you to change that.”

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