SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW: Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 2017
Waterloo, IL. -- With recent reports revealing a mixed bag on employment rates in Illinois, state leaders continue their efforts to improve the economy and prospects for jobs growth in the coming year, which included an important visit during the week by the General Counsel of Japan in Chicago, according to State Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo).
Senate Republicans remain committed to revitalizing Illinois’ business/jobs climate by passing property tax relief, approving workers’ compensation changes that lower hiring costs, and reducing government and business regulations that divert financial resources away from business expansion.
Employment Reports Mixed
A recent Illinois Department of Employment Security report indicated a slight drop in the state’s unemployment from 5.0% to 4.9%, which represents an increase of 3,400 non-farm payroll jobs. Jobs growth varies according to region, however.
Non-farm jobs increased in eight metro areas from October 2016 to October 2017, with the largest increases in Carbondale-Marion (up 2.1 percent, adding 1,200 jobs), Kankakee (up 2.0 percent, adding 900 jobs), and Lake-Kenosha (up 1.3 percent, adding 5,300). The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division saw the largest jobs growth in raw terms, adding 20,800 new jobs, an increase of 0.6 percent.
However, not all metro areas posted gains. The largest losses are in Danville (down 1 percent, losing 300 jobs), Springfield (down 0.9 percent, losing 1,100), and Champaign (down 0.5 percent, losing 600).
Without Chicago-area gains, the state would have suffered a net loss of 2,600 jobs over the year, instead of adding 18,200 jobs.
In the District
Strengthening Economic Ties With Japan
I spent Wednesday, Nov 29, touring manufacturing sites in Southern Illinois with Mr. Naoki Ito, the General Counsel of Japan in Chicago. The Jefferson County Development Corporation organized the visit, which was a great way to showcase manufacturing potential in our region. I thank them for their efforts to promote our region of the state.
Consul General Ito also met with key educational and manufacturing leaders in southern Illinois. We toured Aisin Manufacturing campus in Marion. The company’s footprint has grown from one plant to three since the Japanese firm’s first Illinois groundbreaking in the fall of 2001. Before the tour, business, government, and educational leaders gathered for a working luncheon at Rend Lake College in Ina.
Jonathon Hallberg, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Corp., said Marion and other southern Illinois communities have benefited greatly from the Illinois-Japan connection, which dates back more than 140 years. Gov. Bruce Rauner also traveled with the Consul General, and noted that Japanese companies have driven economic development throughout the state.
Filing Suit Against Taxpayer-funded Abortion
On Thursday, Nov. 30, a lawsuit was filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court by the Thomas Moore Society to halt the implementation of a new law that requires taxpayer dollars for abortion on demand.
I am one of eight legislators who joined the lawsuit. The new law is a radical departure from long-standing Illinois public policy not to use taxpayer dollars for ‘elective’ abortions under the Medicaid assistance program. Some estimates indicate that if the law is allowed to stand, Illinois taxpayers will be paying for 20,000 to 30,000 additional abortions each year. If the life of one unborn baby can be spared, this effort will be worth it. I believe the legislation also has constitutional problems. Our suit argues that the law also violates state constitutional provisions because the General Assembly has not specifically appropriated tax dollars for these services. And, despite efforts to make HB 40 effective January 1, 2018, the measure didn’t pass out of the Senate until September, so it fails on constitutional requirements for an effective date before June 1, 2018.