SPRINGFIELD, IL – There’s an urgent need that exists in Springfield to improve Illinois’ manufacturing climate and to revitalize the middle class. The numbers are striking: Illinois lost 304,900 manufacturing jobs since 2000. Since the recession ended in 2009, only 4,600 manufacturing jobs have been created in Illinois compared to neighboring Michigan with 171,300, Indiana with 83,700, Ohio with 75,900 and Wisconsin with 44,100. Even Idaho, a state more known for potatoes, created 9,100 manufacturing jobs during this time frame. Even so, this past August the Illinois manufacturing industry lost 4,400 additional jobs according to an Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) report. Drawing attention to this dilemma is Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) who is addressing this topic statewide.
When the state’s industry that contributes the single largest share to Illinois’ GDP – 12.4 percent – loses nearly a quarter of well-paying, middle class positions, it becomes apparent that an Illinois manufacturing and middle class jobs revival is long overdue. On average, an Illinois manufacturing job, including benefits, pays $74,000 annually, adding to the importance of why manufacturing jobs, and not lower-wage service sector positions, need to be created.
In Baise’s statewide remarks, he unveils the IMA’s “Middle Class Manufacturing Agenda” that focuses on five key points:
· Get the state’s fiscal house in order. We need to restrain spending, balance the budget and adopt pension reform.
· Enact permanent workers’ comp reform. It’s time to push back union leaders, trial attorneys and special interests to say no more feeding off this system.
· Reform the state’s tax code. Start broadening the tax base and reinstating vital tax credits.
· Overhaul property taxes. Stop shifting the tax burden onto commercial and industrial taxpayers.
· Strengthen the education and workforce development system to ensure a pipeline of qualified workers for our economy.
“Since 2000, politicians have added 4,709 pages of laws and thousands of additional pages of rules and regulations for businesses to comply with in order to trade in Illinois and the result – a state that cannot run itself has become the expert on how to run a business, and it’s closing the manufacturing industry,” said Baise. “Dictating wages, an unnecessarily high cost workers’ compensation program, high taxes and irresponsible spending puts manufacturers in a challenging position and many of them won’t take it anymore.”
The immediate and long-term solutions put forward in the Middle Class Manufacturing Agenda aim to challenge Illinois’ existing state of affairs and bring industry back to the state. The IMA urges lawmakers to prioritize a manufacturing rebirth in Illinois in order to revitalize the middle-class and help jumpstart the state’s economy.