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HomeIllinois NewsNationally, Manufacturers are optimistic. Not so much in Illinois.

Nationally, Manufacturers are optimistic. Not so much in Illinois.



2014-07-21 09.51.10

SPRINGFIELD – Friday in Washington DC, the National Association of Manufacturers met with President Donald Trump to share what they found after surveying the group's 14,000 members. Ninety-three percent of NAM's members reported being optimistic about their industry's future – more than they had been in 20 years. 

Within hours of that announcement from the nation's capital, Caterpillar doused Illinois manufacturers' simmering enthusiasm when they announced yet another downsize coming – this time, the closing of an 800 employee plant outside west suburban Aurora. 

Caterpillar's announcement was a painful reminder of the struggle Illinois manufacturers are facing with Democrats controlling the General Assembly for over three decades. Trial lawyers and public sector unions control Illinois Democrats, and their willingness to seriously consider reforming the state's workers' compensation system and its budget-breaking pension system.

Thus, the state legislature either can't or won't balance its budget.

As a result, Chicago area manufacturers, who pay heavy property and corporate taxes already, brace for the state to take more as they work hard to keep up with current demands. At the same time, manufacturers with two to 1000 employees deal with state mandates and regulations that demand higher minimum wages, paid sick leave, mandated health care insurance and more. 

In the meantime, neighboring states are recovering from the 2009 recession with accelerated growth in manufacturing, as a graph released yesterday by the Governor's office shows. Michigan's manufacturing numbers have spiked by nearly 40%, Indiana's by a little over 20%, while Illinois' numbers have stayed flat.

Anyone with common sense would look at Illinois – which was once the nation's manufacturing mecca – and its numbers, and see that something is terribly, terribly wrong and call for drastic measures of reform.  

Sadly, not in Illinois…

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