SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Manufacturer's Association's (IMA) Greg Baise responded to Gov. Quinn's "State of the State" message today saying, "While we applaud Governor Quinn's continued push for pension reform, the time for talk is over. Our pension debt has skyrocketed and our bond ratings have plummeted. The Illinois General Assembly must pass pension reform in the near future because the fiscal instability is not only threatening important state services, it's forcing businesses to look elsewhere for future investments."
Illinois' pension debt is more than $96 billion and growing at a rate of more than $17 million every day. During the 97th General Assembly, the pension debt increased from $75 billion to the current level despite the largest income tax increase in state history.
The manufacturing sector in Illinois today employs nearly 600,000 workers and contributes the single largest share - 12.4 percent - of the State's Gross Domestic Product. Nearly 40,000 new jobs have been added in the last two years and manufacturing remains a pillar of the Illinois economy.
"The new Manufacturing Innovation Laboratory will allow manufacturers of all sizes to partner with the University of Illinois, World Business Chicago and others to help ideas become products," said Baise. "While this new laboratory will be a hub of research and development, Governor Quinn and lawmakers should work with the IMA and business community and take the additional step of modernizing and making the Research & Development tax credit permanent in Illinois."
Additionally, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association is also calling on the Governor and General Assembly to look at what other states are doing proactively to create good manufacturing jobs, including approval of common sense regulations that will allow hydraulic fracturing to flourish and creation of a tax credit rewarding companies for manufacturing production that occurs in Illinois.
"Hydraulic fracturing has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in new revenue for Illinois. It's a golden opportunity to create good, high-paying jobs, lessen the dependence on foreign oil, and create a low-cost source of energy for years to come," said Baise.