Op Ed

Op Ed

As a member of the “small manufacturers who are the bedrock of the Rockford-area economy”, I was disappointed when I read the endorsement of Governor Quinn in Sunday’s Register Star Editorial Board’s Endorsement. After all, we do comprise 22% of the areas workforce. Any economist will say that the additional jobs we support add another 1 to 1 multiplier or 22%, so in total, manufacturing and their supporting cast accounts for 44% of the areas workforce. The manufacturing business climate here is pretty important.

Leading the rationale of the editorial boards reasons were several big ticket investments that Quinn is credited that saved us from turning into cornfields. I should think that these large scale investments would have caught the eye of any sitting Governor, just as we had competition from other states. So my question would be “what unique assistance was provided” and wouldn’t any Governor have jumped in to help? This lead-off rationale almost feels like “buying our endorsement”

I know there have been plenty of factual data that ranks Illinois at near the bottom of any ranking by state; economic growth, jobs created, working conditions, etc., etc. To me, the big picture is all about the economy and jobs and making Illinois a business friendly place to be.

Here is a sampling of what is being said about the business condition in Illinois (for the complete rundown, see here):

Economy and jobs

Worse (now 48th, was 46th in 2010): Illinois is among the worst states for business, says Chief Executive magazine. The Wall Street Journal on March 20 listed Illinois “near the top of any fair survey” for worst-run state in America.

Worse (now 31st, was 30th): The business tax climate also is going in the wrong direction, according to the Tax Foundation. Illinois has dipped from an already below-average ranking in 2010.

Still 48th: No surprise, then, that employers are steering clear. The American Legislative Exchange Council says Illinois’ rate of job creation trails 47 other states, leading only Ohio and Michigan.

Worse (now second-worst, was ninth): The latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data — for January, seasonally adjusted — rank unemployment rates from a high of 9.2 percent in Rhode Island to a low of 2.6 percent in North Dakota. At 8.7 percent, Illinois ties with Nevada for second-worst. Illinois now has 376,099 fewer nonfarm jobs than in January 2008 — a drop of 5.9 percent.

Worse (now 47th, was 38th): Our overall economic performance, based on broad variables such as gross domestic product, has declined sharply and now ranks among the very lowest of the states, ALEC calculates.

Worse (now 48th, was 47th): Worse yet, the same study says our economic outlook is miserable and dropping — due to factors such as burdensome taxes and a high number of public employees as a share of the population. Illinois ranked a somewhat better 43rd in 2008.

Worse (now 17th, was 16th): Median household income of $55,137 — the amount of money coming in — has fallen.

While the editorial says that not enough detail is given by Rauner as “do the math” on budgets, etc., I think Rauner realizes that he must work with a Democratically controlled legislature. Negotiations and compromises must be made. Governor Christie had the same issues; he being a Republican and having a Democratic legislature. Yet, he has been successful in getting his budgets in line. As have Wisconsin and Indiana. So I find this argument a bit weak as well. Rauner has plenty of experience in company start-ups, managing and growing businesses. Isn’t that what will make for a strong economy? I think so. Managing businesses is a lot different than making rosy sounding speeches.

Today was a big day for newspaper endorsement and they included papers from Springfield, Decatur, Bloomington and Quad-City. that follows 8 other state newspaper endorsements including that of the Chicago Tribune.

As this is written, the Dems are coming to town. VP Biden, Senator Durbin, Rep. Bustos. Where are they meeting? A manufacturing facility? No, at a union hall! How does that create jobs?

Why should we not be disappointed?





  1. Ben Johnson

    I too found the RRS endorsement to be both confusing and disappointing. This Governor (and most other politicians in this state…) have done nothing to improve the lot of the people and have only pandered to those necessary to get elected / re-elected. That’s how it works, but it certainly doesn’t mean they’ve “earned” the position in any way at all.

    Rauner isn’t perfect (nor is any other candidate in any race…) but he’s an improvement over the single-party rule we’ve suffered under for far too long and that has brought us to being the worst state in far too many categories!

  2. I, too am perplexed by the lack of recognition of the editorial board of the value of manufacturing to the Rockford community. Each manufacturing job supports up to six other. Making something that others value and wish to purchase brings true wealth back to Rockford. It is a stated position that we wish raise the reputation of our city and one of the best ways is to attract high technology businesses here. Yet the business climate under Governor Quinn and his predecessors has achieved the opposite with our manufacturers fleeing to Indiana and Wisconsin due to taxes, Unemployment compensation rates and the general malaise in our State. It seems the Quinn administration believes government jobs create wealth rather than deplete it. Illinois is the laughing stock of the nation with our unfunded pension liabilities and reputation for corruption and fraud.
    I believe a business man like Bruce Rauner would understand what needs to be done to improve our state financial health.

    Fred Young

  3. Thanks Fred, we need to get Rauner elected!