Local business leaders call for better business climate

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Local business leaders joined Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Doug Whitley today to call for reforms to improve the state’s ailing business climate.

“We need our elected leaders to commit to making fiscal responsibility a reality and reduce the high cost of doing business in Illinois,” said Whitley, speaking at Philippi-Hagenbuch, a Peoria-based company that designs and develops heavy-duty equipment for the mining industry. “If we want to set our state on a path toward a brighter future, the time for action is now.”

Whitley presented the Illinois Chamber’s 2012 Jobs Agenda, calling for reductions in overall state spending, additional reforms to the workers' compensation system, improved educational outcomes and investment in Illinois’ infrastructure.

“The Illinois Chamber published its Jobs Agenda a year ago. Gov. Quinn talked about a jobs agenda this year in his State of the State speech. It’s clear what the top priority is for Illinois businesses, workers and families. Now let’s make job creation a reality,” Whitley said.

Today's news conference followed recent public comments from the business community about how the state's fiscal problems discourage employers from coming to Illinois.

“We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and watch jobs and economic opportunity pass us by,” said Roberta Parks, president of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. “We need companies to feel good about investing here in Illinois.”

Whitley said other key factors in spurring job creation include improving the state's workforce readiness through partnerships between employers and educators, investing in infrastructure and restoring fairness to the courts.

“We need every candidate for public office to talk about these issues, pledge to improve our state’s business climate, and ensure it happens in this term,” said Whitley. “We can’t kick the can any further down the road.”