If Illinois sounds like a bad place to be, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association chief executive says, it’s because it’s the truth.
“Our higher cost of workers’ comp. Our inability to get regulation red tape out of the way, as the fracking example shows,” Greg Baise says, pointing to the months of inaction on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas deposits in Southern Illinois. “The ability to encourage business to stay here is frustrating, when we do have the enormous amount assets that Illinois has: transportation, Chicago’s financial center, the educational institutions. But we are going to hear this Gallup poll repeated over and over and over: 50 percent of the people say they would go somewhere else, and that’s not just because of the weather.”
Calling 2014 “a placeholder year,”Baise is looking forward to a better Illinois with Republican Bruce Rauner as governor. “His background in the investment world and buying companies” is key, Baise says. “He’s a transaction guy. He knows he can’t do this all alone. He knows he is going to have to come in here and work with” the legislative leaders, two of whom are powerful Democrats who currently hold supermajorities in their respective chambers.