Wednesday 20th February 2019

Illinois’ 2017 legislative session described as one of the worst for business in decades

Illinois’ 2017 legislative session described as one of the worst for business in decades

FILE - auto factory, car, manufacturing
Shutterstock photo


Business advocates say lawmakers in Springfield have been some of the least job-friendly in decades.

Illinois Manufacturers Association vice president Mark Denzler works with lawmakers to pass laws to help the state’s manufacturers. He says the members of the current General Assembly haven’t been cooperating.

“This has been one of the worst legislative sessions for businesses in decades,” Denzler said. “We’re losing jobs here and families are leaving.”

The Technology Manufacturers Association of Illinois released its legislative scorecard for the General Assembly. Some members get high marks for supporting bills that would help the manufacturing industry, but more than three-quarters of lawmakers were seen as hostile.

“We don’t need to be Indiana but we need to be competitive,” TMA Government Relations Committee chairman Zach Mottl said. “They want to say they support manufacturing and middle class jobs, but when I look at their voting record, they don’t.”

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Todd Maisch has seen worse legislative sessions, where the General Assembly not only passed legislation hostile to business but sent it to a governor eager to sign it.

“Fortunately we have a governor in place that’s keeping much of that from becoming law,” he said.

Both Mottl and Denzler point to party politics creating a lack of freedom for rank-and-file lawmakers.

“If you don’t toe the line, you get whacked,” Mottl said.

Illinois is the only state in the Midwest that has been losing manufacturing jobs since the recession ended in 2009. The average manufacturing job pays $82,000 annually.

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