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Caterpillar to stay in Illinois after all

By Charles Riley, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Looks like Caterpillar won't be leaving the state of Illinois, even after the CEO suggested the company might depart due to a hostile business environment.

"Caterpillar is here to stay," CEO Douglas Oberhelman said Tuesday after meeting with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to discuss the state's fiscal policies.

Last week, Oberhelman sent a letter to the governor saying he wanted to talk about how to move the state toward real fiscal reform. He also hinted that the company might leave for greener pastures.

"I want to stay here," Oberhelman wrote. "But as the leader of this business, I have to do what's right for Caterpillar when making decisions about where to invest."

Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500) is headquartered in Peoria and employs 23,000 people in Illinois. The state recently passed a controversial budget that raised taxes on companies and individuals.

Oberhelman wrote that he received letters from governors all over the country that would welcome Cat with open arms. Their arguments are "compelling," he said.

Presumably, Oberhelman's chief complaint is the tax hikes enacted by Illinois lawmakers in January.

But all that was forgiven Tuesday, after the two parties met for about an hour.

"We've got a lot of good things going for us in Illinois," Oberhelman said at a press conference in Peoria.

"We are invested heavily here," he said. "And we are going to work together to find a way we can invest more here and continue to be proud of our state."

Oberhelman specifically praised Gov. Quinn for being out in front on workers compensation, exports and infrastructure projects. To top of page

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