Governor Bruce Rauner talks state of manufacturing in Illinois

By Blake Schnitker on October 9 at 6:11am

Wrapping up our coverage of manufacturing week in the Jacksonville area, a special guest joined us to provide a broader scope of the industry throughout the state.

Governor Bruce Rauner joined WLDS’ AM Conversation Friday to discuss the state of manufacturing, as well as the future of the industry, across Illinois.

Governor Rauner says a vital part of Illinois becoming a top manufacturing state is the industry’s ability to incorporate itself into other business sectors.

“Manufacturing is integrated throughout every element of our economy, it’s in the tech sector, it’s in the food and agriculture sector, it’s in healthcare…it impacts every aspect of our lives. And it’s so wonderful that Illinois continues to be one of the largest, most important manufacturing centers in the United States, and it’s key for our future economic growth. We need to go everything we can to advance the success of our manufacturers,” says Rauner.

Rauner believes the key to sustaining and attracting a quality manufacturing workforce comes down to providing an environment of reasonable taxes and free of unnecessary business regulations.

“The whole key is making sure that we’re competitive and attractive in our environment so that manufacturers want to come here, they want to stay here and they want to grow here, and the key is to create an environment where they can be competitive and thrive. And that means keeping our tax burden reasonable: keeping taxing low and fair and simple, and balanced, so we’re not cutting special deals. It also means keeping our regulatory environment competitive. We’ve got to remove as many unnecessary restrictions and regulations and red tape and requirements on our businesses so they’re not all blocked from being flexible and competitive to grow. That’s what we’re working to do every day in our administration,” Rauner explains.

While he says businesses love Illinois for its workforce and location, Rauner believes many of them are turned off by the state’s taxes and regulatory climate. Rauner says his administration has formed a council geared towards addressing those fears.

“I formed an Illinois Competitiveness Council, and we are looking at all the ways we can cut our red tape and regulations. We’ve reduced them by almost 15 percent already through administrative actions, and I’ve asked the General Assembly to work with our administration to try to get through the regulations. For example, on the workers comp insurance cost, ours are some of the highest in the country, but I’ve asked for change so that we have some of the fraud and abuse out of ours so we can maybe take our rates to national average so we can compete. If we can do those sorts of things, we will improve many, many manufacturers here and get a lot more good paying jobs,” Rauner says.

In 2016 alone, Illinois is reported to have lost just over 37,500 residents, more than any other state in the U.S. As one of just eight states to see significant out-migration, Illinois’ population entering 2017 sat around 12.8 million, the lowest mark since 2009.