Strick: Business-friendly reforms would stop exodus of jobs, people
The Illinois unemployment numbers for September have arrived, and it paints the same picture that the state has seen in previous months: Unemployment shrank, as did the work force. The state is also losing its manufacturing jobs, which saw a loss of about 800.
Mike Strick, Republican candidate for the District 84 state House seat, said the decline is a reflection of the state’s inability to cater to businesses.
“I see manufacturing continuing to decline,” Strick told the DuPage Policy Journal. “As a small-business owner myself, I’m struggling to make ends meet right now with the economy the way it is. I’m overburdened. My property taxes are sky high, and I have to pay for workman’s compensation umbrella liability insurances, which are extremely high. That’s why so many manufacturing jobs and so many people are leaving the State of Illinois.”
The state saw a net gain of 7,400 payroll jobs in September, but its workforce shrank for the fifth month in a row. The unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent, while 5,500 people dropped out of the workforce.
The state has seen a steady exodus of prime working-age adults ages 25 to 54. Over the past decade, it has lost an estimated 310,000 residents and is losing its millennials, who are migrating out of state to look for better opportunities.
A shrinking workforce means a shrinking source of revenue for the state, Strick said.
“Yes, we still have to pay for assistance when there is no money available,” Strick said. “The only way to pay for the vital services in the state is to raise our taxes. That is not the way to go. We need to be more business-friendly. We need to be the most business-friendly state in the nation.”
Illinois has lost approximately 8,500 manufacturing jobs this year to date -- after losing more than 6,000 jobs in 2015.
Strick said that, as a House member, he would tackle business-climate problems directly.
“I would ask, as a legislator, “What can we do to be the number-one manufacturing state in the nation?” Strick said. “I would try to look at those things and really start enacting legislation to become more business-friendly. It just makes sense.”
Many of the states neighboring Illinois have seen an increase in manufacturing jobs and businesses from Illinois, seeking better business policies and incentives. Just recently, Colbert Packaging moved 65 of its jobs to Kenosha, Wisconsin, because Wisconsin provides a more favorable climate.
Strick said making Illinois more business-friendly will stop the bleeding and afford the state revenue to pay for its programs and services.
“If we have more manufacturing, more people would come to the state, which would be more revenue for the state, which would mean we would be able to pay for these vital services,” Strick said. “So if we become more business-friendly, I believe it would curtail the outward migration of jobs and people from the State of Illinois.”