First it was Boeing, which announced a few weeks ago that it was moving its headquarters from Chicago to the Washington DC area. Boeing had moved to Chicago from its long-time home in Seattle 20 years ago to “be closer to its customers.” So this move to DC makes sense as the federal government is increasingly a primary “customer” of Boeing products—not just defense material, but its commercial aircraft and other product lines for which the FAA and NASA are now de facto managerial partners.
Today, heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar announced that it, too, is pulling up stakes and moving its headquarters from Chicago to Irving, Texas. As the Wall Street Journal reports:
The maker of construction and mining equipment said Tuesday that its existing office in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, would serve as its new global headquarters. Caterpillar said that the move from its current base in suburban Chicago would help it grow and that the company wasn’t getting any economic or tax incentives related to the headquarters move.
The move—expected to affect the roughly 230 corporate employees at Caterpillar’s headquarters—is the latest in a series of recent relocations that have drawn major manufacturers closer to corporate and government customers, and tech giants from Silicon Valley to Texas.
I like the sentence that Texas wasn’t offering any tax incentives to Caterpillar for the move. Texas doesn’t need to. Having no personal income tax is tax incentive enough, and that’s available to everybody, not just favored companies. Even the Journal’s conventional (meaning mostly liberal) news pages can’t really conceal this, noting: “Manufacturers have increasingly turned to the Southwest as a destination for new factories, drawn by available space, appealing tax policies and an expanding technology workforce.”
I wonder if it will occur to anyone in Illinois to ask: “Gee-I wonder if it was something we taxed?”
Alternative formula: What do you get when you keep your taxes and Democrats down? Prosperity.