A LionC electric school bus in the process of being assembled in the Lion Electric plant in Channahon on June 5, 2023. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)

John Atkinson and Dan Seals: The naysayers have it wrong. Illinois is the place to be for businesses.

The makers of Pringles and Pop-Tarts, a leading maker of electric vehicle batteries, the first cultivated meat company to receive federal approval, an all-electric truck manufacturer. What do these companies have in common? They all announced plans to set up shop or expand in Illinois in the past year.

And they’re not alone. They join hundreds of new companies making billions of dollars in investments and creating tens of thousands of jobs in the Land of Lincoln. In fact, 382 companies relocated or expanded in Illinois in fiscal year 2023; that’s an average of more than one company every single day.

The Illinois naysayers and doomsday predictors are increasingly out of step with the reality here on the ground: Illinois is back and open for business.

It’s not hard to figure out why. Illinois offers a unique combination of must-haves on the checklists of corporations looking for a new home: competitive incentives, leading infrastructure, unmatched transportation options to ship goods around the world, and most importantly, an abundance of highly skilled and educated workers.