Illinois Republicans are blasting Gov. J.B. Pritzker after Caterpillar announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Texas, but the governor is firing back, saying that the state is still seeing increased job growth thanks to his administration’s policies.
The company announced Tuesday that it will move its global headquarters into its Irvin, Texas location, leaving suburban Deerfield after decades of being headquartered in Illinois.
“We believe it’s in the best strategic interest of the company to make this move, which supports Caterpillar’s strategy for profitable growth as we help our customers build a better, more sustainable world,” CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised the announcement, saying that Texas is now home to more than four dozen Fortune 500 corporate headquarters.
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“Caterpillar’s global headquarters relocation is a major win for the people of North Texas and the entire state, now making Texas home to 54 Fortune 500 corporate headquarters,” he said.
The announcement immediately led to criticism from Illinois Republicans, who said that the Pritzker administration’s policies helped lead to the company’s decision.
“Caterpillar’s decision to leave Illinois after calling it home for many decades is a devastating loss to Illinois’ business community,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said in a statement. “The reasons for this decision could not have been more clear – Illinois’ business climate no longer works for this company.”
Pritzker says that the announcement is “disappointing,” but reminded Illinois residents that more than 17,000 employees will still remain in the state in five different manufacturing and operations facilities.
“We will continue to support the 17,400 Illinoisans who work for the company in East Peoria, Mapleton, Mossville, Pontiac and Decatur – which remains Caterpillar’s largest manufacturing plant in North America after the company’s recent expansion,” Pritzker said in a statement.
According to a joint statement from Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as 17th District Rep. Cheri Bustos, lawmakers will continue to work with Caterpillar to support their employees in Illinois.
“While in terms of jobs impact for Illinois, this transition will only directly affect about 1.5% of Illinois’ 17,000 Caterpillar employees, we will do everything we can to encourage Caterpillar to not only preserve these jobs, but also follow through on its promise to continue hiring even more Illinoisans in the weeks and months to come,” the trio said in a joint statement.
Some of Pritzker’s opponents in the Illinois’ governor’s race say that the move is another example of why Republican leadership is needed in the state.
“This is yet another reminder that Illinois is desperately in need of change in Springfield. Self-serving career politicians have sold us out,” candidate Jesse Sullivan said in a statement.
Pritzker, whose campaign has focused on a budget surplus and improvements in credit ratings, says that his administration is still succeeding in generating job growth.
“My administration will continue to drive job growth throughout the state, making it clear to the world why Illinois is the best state in the nation to live, work, play and do business,” he said.