|Illinois manufacturers themselves are ready to up their game, but politicians are not. Any proposals that would help make Illinois manufacturing more competitive, such as workers’ compensation reforms, a property-tax freeze, or Right-to-Work laws, have been dismissed by Democrats in the General Assembly as “an attack on the middle class.”
That’s simply not true. If Illinois embraced these reforms, its blue-collar workers would find manufacturing opportunities once again. These reforms would mean an end to Indiana’s easy poaching of Illinois manufacturers just by laying out the benefits inherent in the Hoosier State’s tax and regulatory environment (coupled with a few tax incentives as sweeteners). It would mean that Illinois’ blue-collar middle class could have a bright future again.
Until the state enacts significant reforms, Illinoisans will answer the same way every time Gallup conducts its polls. No one likes to admit that his state has become uninspiring, short on dynamism, and a black hole for blue-collar opportunities. But nothing will change until Illinois has the policy environment that manufacturers say will bring them back to the Land of Lincoln.