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World Business Chicago meets with Indianapolis companies

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The economic battle between Illinois and Indiana continues following the Religious Freedom fallout.

The president and CEO of World Business Chicago made the trip to Indianapolis on Monday to meet with several local companies. World Business Chicago is an economic development agency. Mayor Rahm Emanuel just happens to be the chairman.

A spokesperson for the agency says they sent out a batch of letters to companies in Indiana, but ended up only meeting with three.

Lawmakers may have fixed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but that’s not stopping Chicago from attempting to lure away businesses from Indianapolis.

“There’s a part of me that’s almost flattered when other cities and states come here and try to talk to our companies,” said CEO Michael Huber, Indy Chamber.

Huber says he doesn’t mind a little friendly competition from across the border.

“The bottom line is if a stronger Chicago and a stronger state of Illinois makes for a stronger Midwest it is going to make us better in Indiana,” said Huber. “Because we need to think about how the rest of the country and the rest of the world views us not just as a city and a state but as a Midwest region.”

World Business Chicago sent out a one page letter to companies asking them to consider the Windy City as a destination for operation.

“Our diverse economy rivals nations and we are consistently ranked in the top ten global cities and economies in the world,” said Jeff Malehorn, World Business Chicago.

This happened just weeks after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made his own case.

“The kind of competition that would seem to try to poach each other doesn’t make you better it’s probably not good for the Midwest or good for the region,” said Huber.

Huber says competition or not, the fight following the RFRA controversy is far from over.

“We need to continue to put out a positive image to sort of rebound from some of the damage that was done from the national media fallout,” said Huber. “It also had the effect issues of non-discrimination on a state wide level are going to be much more significant for our members.”

Now the Indy Chamber will release a new regional economic development plan in the next coming months.

Huber says the new strategies will focus on how to keep and attract business talents from around the world to Indianapolis.

24-Hour News 8 reached out to WBC for an interview, but the president was unavailable. Malehorn told Crain’s Chicago Business Newspaper that the three companies included a digital mobile phone, a health care company, and the third is in transportation logistics.