Illinois doesn't do enough to promote business, Kasiar says
A new workforce report shows Illinois continues to lose workers to other states, with losses in major industries like manufacturing, construction, education and health services, among others.
The August report by the Illinois Department of Employment Security showed the Illinois workforce shrank by 22,000 people — the fourth month in a row of recorded losses.
"Illinois residents continue to drop out of the workforce at a concerning rate, driven out by the steady loss of jobs and anemic growth," Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Sean McCarthy said in the report. "If our state enacted the structural reforms necessary to get Illinois growing at the national rate, we could create 200 new jobs every day and put Illinois back to work. Instead, the state lost 8,200 jobs and nearly 20,000 people gave up looking for work.”
To turn it around, Illinois must give businesses a reason to stay in the state, Jason Kasiar, a Republican candidate for House District 118 and an Eldorado resident, told Southwest Illinois News.
“There’s no incentive to open a business of any kind in Illinois unless you’re a gigantic corporation,” Kasiar said, pointing to taxes and procedural hoops that scare away prospective business owners. “We just don’t try to promote business in Illinois.”
Kasiar runs a small, independent pharmacy in Eldorado. He employs 31 people and money can be tight sometimes. Still, the business has expanded since he took over about two decades ago.
“We have found other ways to do business in a dying business,” he said.
But his business doesn't operate in a vaccum. Communities are linked, and when one industry suffers, it affects everyone else, Kasiar said. Losses in coal mining and state corrections jobs ripple through other industries and affect Main Street businesses. That’s why Kasiar thinks the General Assembly needs more representatives with business backgrounds who will make decisions that lead to more jobs and flourishing industries.
“When we don’t take a stand and we allow something to close or the coal industry to dry up, then these guys are reactive and quick to blame someone else,” Kasiar said of incumbent legislators. “They were in the seats when these jobs went away.”
Kasiar said lawmakers should learn from neighboring states that are adding jobs in the same industries that are hemorrhaging in Illinois. So far in 2016, Michigan has added 10,600 manufacturing jobs while Illinois has lost 8,000.
“It’s cheaper in other places to manufacture things," he said. "Our legislature is so out of control and fiscally irresponsible that they have to tax these things to death in order to be able to pay off promises they’ve made."
Kasiar said job creation is key for the state to succeed.
"We have to find a way to create jobs — find examples of states that are doing it right and model those states," he said. "We are not doing something right.”
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Eldorado, IL 62930