October 7 is National Manufacturing Day, but Illinois has little to celebrate. The Land of Lincoln is currently lagging behind its neighbors in the growth of manufacturing jobs, a fact that underscores the need for essential government and economic reforms that will bring new businesses and jobs into Illinois.
While many Midwestern states are adding manufacturing jobs, Illinois has lost more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs since the turn of the century, according to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. Republican lawmakers are calling for structural and spending reforms in state government, stressing that fundamental change is needed in Illinois to bring fiscal security and much-needed jobs back to the state.
The Senate Republican Caucus firmly believes that job creation is critical to help the state grow its way out of the current budget mess. They support structural and spending reforms that address the state’s pension debt and bill backlog; enact workers’ compensation reform; tax reforms and incentives for employers; property tax relief; and create a skilled workforce through education and workforce development initiatives.
Though legislative Democrats have called for a reinstatement of their 2011 income tax hike as a way to boost revenues, Republican lawmakers and the Governor have resisted that effort without first exploring ways to make government more efficient, reduce waste, boost the economy and help Illinois’ employers. Republican lawmakers have refused to consider revenue enhancements without first passing economy-boosting, job-creating reforms. Senate GOP lawmakers pointed out that though the Democrats’ previous tax increase brought in more than $30 billion, the state’s unpaid bills remained in the billions, the pension debt reached approximately $111 billion and the state’s financial situation remained unstable and unpredictable.