Manufacturers: Combining Workforce Development With Deregulation Will Help Illinois Grow

Manufacturers: Combining Workforce Development With Deregulation Will Help Illinois Grow

SPRINGFIELD (IRN) — Legislators will be back next week to begin spring session and there’s a lot of work expected in balancing the state’s budget, but Democrats and Republicans are likely to continue to clash over taxes and regulations for businesses.

Illinois is a good place to do business, but more can be done to help employees, state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, said.

“We have to make sure that it’s a climate that is inclusive and welcomes all comers, and makes sure that we’re supporting folks across the state of Illinois starting businesses, growing businesses and bringing employees along and making sure everybody succeeds,” he said.

Guzzardi, new Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other Democrats support more rules on employers, including increasing the minimum wage or requiring parental paid leave, measures that will cost employers more.

“We want strong families, but we have yet to embrace more robust policies supporting paid parental leave and affordable child care that will sustain them,” Pritzker said in his inaugural speech last week.

New state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Louisville, said his constituents are feeling overtaxed, over-regulated and out of work.

“Our district that borders Indiana, so a lot of out-migration has taken place,” Bailey said. “People are looking for lower taxes and better job opportunities.”

Republicans and business groups have for years pushed for property tax relief and workers’ comp reforms without much movement from Democrats in the legislature.

Illinois’ leading manufacturers’ group said combining Pritzker’s already announced plans to evaluate workforce development with business groups’ proposed tax and regulation reforms could energize the state’s economy.

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President and CEO Mark Denzler praised Pritzker’s move last week to invest in workforce development for emerging green, information, medical and agriculture industries. Denzler said manufacturers play a role in all of that.

“Ninety-three percent of all Illinois exports are manufactured goods,” Denzler said. “The scope [for Illinois’ manufacturing sector] is very wide and broad.”

Denzler also said expected discussions of a capital bill will also bring much-needed upgrades to the state’s infrastructure, which is crucial for getting manufactured goods to the marketplace. But, he said policymakers need to go a few steps further.

“If we can address workforce and capital [infrastructure] and we can responsibility regulate business without making it unneeded or unburdensome or costly Illinois certainly could really grow,” Denzler said.

Denzler regularly highlights how there is a greater rate of manufacturing jobs growing in neighboring states because Illinois’ high property taxes and workers’ compensation costs don’t attract or maintain business development.