BLOOMINGTON — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner touted flexibility for businesses during a visit to bopi on Tuesday.
“Our lawsuit abuse and insurance costs are too high. That hurts companies like bopi. Our tax burden is too high. That hurts companies like bopi,” he said. “We’ve got to change those things, and we’re committed to changing those things until bopi is growing and companies like bopi are growing.”
The Bloomington printing company, though, recently added a new German press capable of printing 18,000 sheets per hour that represented a multi-million dollar investment.
Rauner was vague Tuesday on which business regulations need to change. He has promoted making parts of the state “right-to-work” — an arrangement in which unions can’t make employees of a specific business pay union dues — which he calls “economic opportunity zones.”
Rauner recalled a controversy during Gov. Pat Quinn’s tenure in which then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry recruited companies from Illinois. Rauner said Perry “was doing his job,” and Rauner plans to do the same in Texas and states neighboring Illinois if business friendly measures like right-to-work are passed.
“I will travel the nation and the world — I’ll do it on my nickel — recruiting companies like bopi to come to Illinois — to come to Bloomington, to come to Normal, to come to McLean County — to invest and grow and create great careers,” he said. “That’s the whole key to our success, and that’s our number-one priority.”
Rauner also pledged to cut government bureaucracy, including unfunded mandates and conflicts of interest, and redirect wasted funds into business growth and social service programs.
“Government in Illinois is corrupt,” he said. “To get the tax burden reasonable, for bopi and you, we’ve got to reform our government.”
Part of that, he said, is cutting down on regulation for public employees including mandatory union membership, including in teachers’ unions.
“Government unions control how much you spend. You should control how much you spend,” he said. “You should decide what gets collectively bargained. You should decide who has to join a union or not join a union to work for you. Same thing in your schools.”
About 40 employees attended the speech, but reporters were not permitted to talk with them.
Rauner encouraged local residents to contact their legislators to help sway them to his side.
“My job is to make Illinois the greatest state in the greatest nation on Earth. I’m going to do that on a bipartisan basis,” he said. “You should decide whether your economy in McLean County can compete with Indiana or not.”