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Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006

UPDATE: This story has been getting a lot of play in comments, so I thought I’d post it.

Honda has scheduled a press conference Wednesday to announce that Indiana has been chosen as the site for its new North American assembly plant, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

Illinois, Indiana and Ohio had been the finalists for the $400 million facility, which will employ 1,500 workers and produce 200,000 cars annually starting in 2008. It will be Honda’s sixth plant in North America.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich flew back from Washington Tuesday to meet with Honda officials, hoping to lure the plant to Illinois. He had been briefing members of the Illinois congressional delegation on the status of talks with the carmaker.

Instead, it is believed Blagojevich came home to learn that the automaker did not choose a site in Fithian, a town of 500 near Danville. Sources familiar with the negotiations said Japanese automakers out of courtesy notify the winning state and those that lost at the same time.

Lynn Sweet claims that the guv’s DC visit didn’t go all that well.

Gov. Blagojevich was in Washington on Tuesday. Let me first summarize the developments or rather, the debacle.

*Blagojevich stiffed Mayor Daley and Sen. Dick Durbin by originally skipping a joint press conference with the two other top Illinois Democrats, only to scamper to it in retreat after his chief of staff, John Harris, and an aide could not shake reporters who had questions for the governor.

*The governor said the proposed Prairie Parkway was not a priority for him even though it was listed as a transportation priority in the official joint city-state federal initiative document being handed out Tuesday signed by Daley and Blagojevich. The document was released at the news conference at the exact time Blagojevich, a few dozen yards away, was downplaying his interest in the road. […]

Blagojevich and Daley threw a lunch Tuesday (in Durbin’s offices) for the 21-member Illinois delegation — only 10 lawmakers bothered to show — to review the joint city-state agenda.

And Topinka held a press conference to announce that she would announce her economic development proposals next month. She also took another swipe at the guv.

For example, Topinka said Tuesday that federal labor statistics showed that Illinois lost 3,800 jobs in May. Earlier this month, Blagojevich touted state and federal figures that showed that Illinois in April led the nation in monthly job growth.

Blagojevich spokesman Gerardo Cardenas said the state’s unemployment rate also dropped to 4.6 percent in May – in line with the national rate – from 5.1 percent in April.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Todd Jong-Il - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 8:22 am:

    Yeah, a plan from Judy! Let’s hope it is a decent plan. As we know, no plan is better than a bad one ala the lottery sale plan to get Meeks out of the race.


  2. - NW burbs - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 8:51 am:

    Blagojevich spokesman Gerardo Cardenas said the state’s unemployment rate also dropped to 4.6 percent in May – in line with the national rate – from 5.1 percent in April.

    Funny, don’t conservatives — in their defense of Bush’s economic policies — keep claiming something around 5% is a historical norm for unemployment???

    Then again, is JBT conservative or moderate or liberal — she’s got so many people who don’t like her claiming she’s on one end or another of the spectrum…


  3. - anon - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 9:17 am:

    Honda picks Indiana Site -
    Illinois’ Fithian not landing new plant

    By Jim Mateja and Christi Parsons, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune news services contributed to this report
    Published June 28, 2006

    Honda has scheduled a press conference Wednesday to announce that Indiana has been chosen as the site for its new North American assembly plant, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

    Illinois, Indiana and Ohio had been the finalists for the $400 million facility, which will employ 1,500 workers and produce 200,000 cars annually starting in 2008. It will be Honda’s sixth plant in North America.
    _________________________________________________

    I wonder if when the Gov flew back remineded the folks from Honda that Illinois has the highest work comp and unemployment premiums in the mid west, highest transportation costs, stiffest regulations and litigation environments, and Oh yea, will probably get taxed on all their software purchases and Lord know what else in the future?

    Isn’t Illinois great.


  4. - DOWNSTATE - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 9:31 am:

    WHO in their right mind ,other than the ones that believe anything Blago says,would believe tha Honda plant would come to Illinois.Once again Blago had to speak on his own without a script and once again he showed the rest of the nation why Illinois is behind in everything including a Governor with brains.


  5. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 10:04 am:

    The Trib gratuitously included Illinois. The WSJ omitted naming that state. Here is part of their story.

    “…People at Honda familiar with the matter said the Tokyo-based auto maker has chosen the southeastern Indiana town of Greensburg, 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis, as a site for the plant to produce passenger cars.

    “Honda scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning in the town, which had been widely reported as a possible plant site. Honda officials declined to comment on the matter

    “The decision comes after communities in several Midwestern states including Indiana and Ohio vied fiercely for the plant, which the company said would employ 1,500 workers and produce 200,000 vehicles a year…”

    We were a day late and a couple of million dollars short. Because of our tax situation, we were not in the final cut. And the amount of bennies we could given them for a non union plant were constrained.

    It is not the 1,500 workers at Honda itself, But the famous just in time inventory from their suppliers who have to be relatively close would have tripled the jobs.

    Under Edgar we gutted DCCA and its successor is a shadow. Next door under Bayh, they put a strong director with legislative and municipal experience to revitalize their new business development.


  6. - Chomsky - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 10:25 am:

    Blago is the better of the two evils.


  7. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 10:38 am:

    So we are not even in the running for large employers like Honda, the supportive JIT employers who will come with them, and all the retail stores they will shop at (plus the associated taxes they will generate), but we can keep spending money we do not have? It is far easier to spend than make. Glad to see Rod is leading the state to new heights of accomplishment. I would like to hear the back stage conversation between Durbin, Daley, and Blago after Rod’s staff have to come get him. What a team player.


  8. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 10:48 am:

    I hope that JBT’s economic plan provides more than quibbling over how many jobs were lost or gained. I’m sure most voters zone out after the first round of figures. And we have no way of telling which set is correct without doing research few have the time or inclination to do.

    And, no, it shouldn’t include letting businesses off the tax hook by raising the income tax on individuals. Tax businesses less, but leave the individual income tax alone.


  9. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 11:02 am:

    zatoichi –

    You’ve got it, my friend.

    Localities have to use such things as TIF to level the playing fields for industrial expansion and huge warehouse developments.

    Your state agency people can speak for themselves, but there appears to be little activity for the greatest source of new employment, start-ups and new companies in an expansion stage.


  10. - One Man Can Make A Difference Foundation - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 2:31 pm:

    Well, my yesterday’s compliment to Rod Blagojevich for his attempts to separate governing from politicing didn’t holdout too long. They’re still mixing the two.

    The ABC 7-Iteam reported it yesterday in their intelligence report.

    What’s really important to look at is that no one with authority over the Governor seems to care about all of the alleged improprieties in the Office of the Governor.

    For example, the U.S Attorney’s Office is allegedly currently investigating the Gov’s office for hiring improprieties and more. We know what to expect from Attorney General Madigan’s investigations of the administration, Nothing. However, U.S Senators Obama and Durbin have the authority to ensure honest services from the Office of the Governor. They read the same newspaper articles that we read daily accusing the administration of constant improprieties and violations of state and federal laws.

    Yet, the U.S Senators, who have input in the selection for the U.S Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, ignores all of the improprieties and never denounce any of them. What do they do? They “break bread” with the Governor at events and never raise any issues relevant to the improprieties in the Office of the Governor that affect their constituents in Illinois.

    Does Senators Obama or Durbin ever counsel the Governor about his administration and the effects that they have on their constituents in Illinois?

    No! They watch quietly for political reason and ignore the Office of the Governor’s mismanagement of the state.


  11. - Beowulf - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 3:12 pm:

    Maybe if Illinois taxpayers made Governor Blagojevich commute between his home in Chicago and Springfield in a Honda Accord Hybrid each time instead of flying in a State of Illinois aircraft on the taxpayer’s dime, this would give Rod plenty of time to figure out why industry avoids Illinois in favor of other states.


  12. - Gregor - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 8:19 pm:

    Hey, I know a guy who’s dad is a big deal who can be the driver, beowulf… We can work out his license later in exchange for a comapign contribution (smiles, ducks).


  13. - anon & disgruntled in illinois - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 8:55 pm:

    Way to go Blago !!! They really didn’t think they had a chance at Honda ….did they !!?? Not the way this bunch goes about it !!This guy has not only bankrupt the state he’s made doing business here a real problem too !! Taxes, work comp & the like. No real business development in any agency. What ha[ppened to the folks a DCEO?? Out to lunch there too !!! Everyone over there was asleep at the switch {as usual} on this one including the Democrat St. Rep. from Decatur who never opened up. Decatur vs: Fithian ?? Hmmmmmm???? Fithian is a great little town with minimal infrastructure. Decatur on the other hand is a bigger industrial town that could have used & accomodated such a plant. Hmmm??? And you know labor & the unions will line up with these guys again this time too !! Who can figure..


  14. - Dundee - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 9:12 pm:

    I do not blame Honda at all. This state sucks for business.


  15. - Papa Legba - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 11:04 pm:

    - anon & disgruntled in illinois -

    Do you even think that Illinois was ever in the running for this factory? Officials from Honda didn’t even blow flatulence toward Illinois let alone EVEN mention Illinois as a possible site. Did anybody hear a Honda official discuss Illinois as an option? Not me.

    This administration didn’t mention Honda until after stories about them locating a plant in the Midwest were published. This was nothing more than face saving B.S. from Blago and the boys.

    You know how to tell it was B.S. don’t you? Blagozo’s lips were moving.


  16. - Papa Legba - Wednesday, Jun 28, 06 @ 11:11 pm:

    Regarding Lynn Sweet’s column.

    Blago was at a fund-raising lunch held by Ted Kennedy? Who was gassed when that idea was hatched? Or did Kennedy lose a bet and have to host a Blago funder?


  17. - anon in central illinois - Thursday, Jun 29, 06 @ 6:53 am:

    “Papa Legba” & “Disgruntled” …Of course Illinois wasn’t in the running…never was or will be anytime soon with this bunch at the helm. I think it’s just calling attention again to the inept nature of this administration, lack of initiative, fresh ideas & NO plan for further economic growth in this state. It’s like they are the “”key stone “” fire dept. …they know about the fire only after the building burns down. I guess you’ve got to wonder ..”Why???” There is no incentive on any level to come to Illinois because the business climate is hostile & very expensive. It’s high for everything that effects a company looking to locate here. It’s become that “giant sucking sound” in Illinois Ross Perot was talking about years ago as a nation now as jobs and opportunity leave Illinois. Bladgo talks of job growth…come on. Businesses are closing & nothing coming in. The unemployed are leaving the rolls because benefits are expiring is why the number may drop. Name one decent high-tech or manufacturing company that has located in Illinois in the past 3 years ?? And Fithian, Illinois, though a nice little burg,… come on. I’m not sure they have sidewalks let alone the infrastructure to support a plant this size. And “disgruntled” is right though if Decatur’s council or current sitting St. Rep’s. would have woke up from their nap & realized an “potential opportunity” & maybe suggested {at least a letter asking for help}& at least tried for Decatur ,the area & the districts they serve. Decatur, centrally located & generally considered an industrialized area that desperately needs business in and around the community as many Illinois communities do. If they {Bladgo & the boys}wanted it or anything like it they’ve got to get their {*@#$^*} together soon or it will never happen. But he’s right too that the unions & other organized labor will line up behind these guys again …Go Dem’s… after doing them absolutely no favors. Maybe the unfortunate unemployed can man their campaign phones seeking votes, money and support for $20.00 a day.—


  18. - Truthful James - Thursday, Jun 29, 06 @ 11:32 am:

    One would think that the State, relying as it does on corporate income taxes and sales taxes, and hopefully knowing the size of the redevelopment problem plus the competition fromn the other states on large scale economic development projects would have set up its agency with at last the skill set of the Motion Picture office — and pay accordingly. But, no.

    It can’t compete on a level playing field with its neighbors and next to neighbors. It refuses to seriously work out the forms of aid for the smaller start-ups and grow-ups and they, not Honda, are the biggest added value contributers to the State.

    I have done projects in three states and believe me Illinois is by far the least equipped. One thing that might be done is an analysis of Illinosi shortcoming including the additional cost which the State (and Cook County) foist on new business. Casting about for development takes time, good staff work, and a knowledge of the world of commerce and industry.

    Illinois does not stand up. As a result, all initiates come from the County and the city.


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