Normal Sees 'State Farm Effect' On Sales Tax Money, Home Values | WGLT

Normal Sees 'State Farm Effect' On Sales Tax Money, Home Values

Jun 5, 2018

Mayor Chris Koos said State Farm's recent job restructuring will likely have its biggest impact locally on home values.

The insurance giant is cutting nearly 900 information technology jobs in Bloomington-Normal as part of a major realignment. Koos said he expects higher-end homes costing $275,000 or more could become tougher to sell and their values could drop as many well-paying State Farm jobs move to its locations in Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix.

"We have been complacent in economic development because for years and years and years we didn't need it ... or so we told ourselves."

He added sales tax revenue will likely remain flat or could drop in the coming year, though he said that economic indicator is typically about four months behind. He said financial uncertainty will cause many consumers to delay major purchases.

"Of course, they are buying groceries every week and things like that but, 'Can we really get another year out of that car? Do we really need to remodel that bathroom? We can hold off two years on that,'" Koos said on GLT's Sound Ideas. "I think that's the impact you are going to see."

Koos acknowledged that State Farm's history as a major economic engine in the community had largely been taken for granted. 

"(The job losses) have had a negative impact on our community, but I don't think it's been a deadly impact on your community," Koos said. "I agree (with Councilman Jeff Fritzen) that we have been complacent in economic development because for years and years and years we didn’t need it ... or so we told ourselves."

Koos pointed to the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, BN Advantage and Illinois State University as key components in helping to train and find jobs for McLean County's workforce left behind by State Farm's realignment.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.