During a town hall meeting with businesses and community leaders in Wheeling, Gov. Bruce Rauner discussed Illinois’ dire economic situation and stressed the need for the state to try “to be average.”
Rauner toured facilities at IcarTeam, a Wheeling company that deals in industrial controls and repairs, before engaging in a town hall with guests U.S. Rep. Bob Dold and Lt. Gov. Evely Sanguinetti.
During the meeting, Rauner said Illinois needs to bolster its economic growth and referred to Texas as an example of how to improve the state’s business climate.
“Texas is growing, Texas now pays their factory workers what they’re supposed to be paid,” Rauner said. “We’re supposed to be the pro-employee and pro-union state. Texas is kicking our tail.”
Illinois has upwards of $100 billion in unfunded pension liability and has been without an official budget since July of last year.
John Melaniphy, Wheeling’s Director of Economic Development, worked closely with the governor to bring Richelieu Foods Inc. to the suburb. According to Melalniphy, Rauner recruited the company personally.
“This is the first time the village of Wheeling worked with the governor’s office to recruit a business here,” Melaniphy said.
Richelieu Foods makes pizzas, said dressings and sauces. Their new 115,000-square-foot Wheeling manufacturing plant is slated to open later this year.
Rauner stressed the need “free up the resources to balance the budget” by creating economic growth through government efficiency, not bureaucracy. Sanguinetti echoed these sentiments, promoting the consolidation of local governments.
“Illinois has more units of government than any other state, and that’s a problem,” Melaniphy said.