Business advocates say Illinois could land a massive new car manufacturing plant that would employ thousands, but the state’s policies aren’t helping their spot in the race.
Japanese car-makers Toyota and Mazda announced this month that they plan to build a massive new facility, spanning more than 800 acres and employing more than 4,000 people. States are jumping to offer incentives and Illinois is said to be one of the final states still in consideration.
The companies are considering the Rochelle area as a potential landing site. Area state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, says the local infrastructure and the area’s educated workforce is a real draw for business.
“Our region has a lot to offer,” he said. It has “significant strengths that other states can’t throw enough money at to replicate.”
Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Todd Maisch says the state needs to reinstate its Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credits, or EDGE credits, to put them closer to what nearly all other states are offering.
“Virtually every other state has some kind of economic development tool that’s on par with EDGE,” he said. “Right now, we don’t have one.”
He said Gov. Bruce Rauner is likely to reinstate a form of EDGE credits soon. Critics say the tax credits aren’t a real driver of new employment and should be replaced with other means of policy reform that doesn’t pick winners and losers. Furthermore, Maisch said the state is at a disadvantage to others in the running due to policies like forced-unionization laws that none of Illinois’ surrounding states have.
“It is frustrating that we have so many self-inflicted wounds that makes it harder for us to land a plant like Toyota,” he said.
In a statement, Toyota said, “We are just beginning the discovery process and working to quickly outline our priorities, criteria and other metrics to help define a cohesive strategy for this project.”
Toyota is using site selection firm Jones Lang LaSalle in its prospecting efforts.
Story by the Illinois News Network. Visit ILNews.org