Today (Feb. 15), Governor Bruce Rauner addressed the General Assembly and outlined his budget proposal. Illinois lawmakers have failed to enact a state budget for the past two years creating a lack of stability for families and businesses. During that time frame, the state’s budget debt has ballooned to nearly $11 billion while the pension obligation has spiraled to more than $130 billion. The IMA has been actively engaged with the Governor and leaders on both sides of the political aisle. Following is the statement we released this afternoon . . .
“The canaries in the coal mine are dying. Rating agencies have been warning leaders on both sides of the aisle for years about the spiraling debt and need for fiscal stability, including the most recent announcements. The IMA has continually shined a spotlight on the horrific job losses manufacturers have suffered over the last decade including nearly 11,000 good, high-paying manufacturing jobs last year alone. The manufacturing sector in Illinois cannot afford further inaction resulting in the continued loss of the middle class. Manufacturers employ 568,000 workers and contribute the single largest share of the state’s economy. When manufacturing is strong, Illinois and America are strong.
The IMA believes a final budget solution must address the root of the state’s problems with structural reforms addressing our pension obligations and debt while restoring fiscal discipline and enacting real reforms that will create a vibrant business climate by attracting jobs and investments. Illinois must address the high cost of workers’ compensation, burdensome labor regulations and reform the tax code to encourage manufacturing production. However, as leaders consider revenue enhancements, we strongly believe that the best tax structures are broad-based with low rates and should not single out an individual sector.
We applaud Governor Rauner for introducing a balanced budget today focusing on the future and the Senate for demonstrating leadership in recent weeks. The time for action is now.”
Tough decisions will be required in the coming weeks and months. We cannot allow the politics of 2018 stop us from making progress on the state’s economy in 2017. The IMA is the only trade association advocating exclusively on behalf of manufacturers. We continue to advocate for our five point agenda that includes:
Restore fiscal stability and reign in pension costs
Enact meaningful economic development reforms including workers’ compensation changes
Reduce the property tax burden
Pass tax reform that is broad based with low rates that includes R & D Credit, Manufacturers Purchase Credit, and Graphic Arts exemption
Strengthen education and workforce development
We appreciate your investment in the IMA and we’ll continue to communicate with you as the negotiations continue. As always, please contact the IMA if you have questions. Visit ima-net.org for more news.