* The Illinois Policy Institute’s news service has a story on Gov. Rauner’s trade mission to Japan and China…
Moweaqua, Illinois, soybean farmer Austin Rincker is also marketing chairman for the Illinois Soybean Association and an at-large director for the association. He said he hopes the governor works to increase soybean exports.
“Here, we’re kind of in the lower commodity price kind of environment,” Rincker said, “so we need to be looking for more markets and expanding our export markets.”
Soybeans were Illinois’ second-most exported commodity, increasing 51 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the US Census Bureau.
Rincker said China’s need for soybeans for hog feed is growing, but one thing lawmakers need to focus on is taken care of Illinois’ infrastructure.
“We’ve got so much infrastructure in Illinois with the river systems, rail and things like that,” Rincker said, “we’ve got so many neat ways of getting soybeans exported out of Illinois, and that just makes us a pretty unique state for serving export markets.”s trip.
Increasing exports would be great, but the governor did not bring a single representative of Illinois agriculture or agribusiness with him on this trip.
Wisconsin’s governor brought along 13 executives from eight Wisconsin companies to Japan. Rauner brought just one, from the LaSalle-Peru area. Click here to see the progress reported today by Indiana’s governor, who is attending the same conference. I have yet to see a release from Gov. Rauner today. If he brings home that big Toyota plant, then all will be forgotten, however.
* The Pritzker campaign tossed in its two cents earlier today…
Bruce Rauner is on a trade mission to Asia this week, but he might have issues drumming up business after his manufactured budget crisis devastated the Illinois economy.
Let’s look at the ways the Illinois economy has suffered under Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership:
Small Business Centers Devastated: One quarter of Small Business Development Centers have closed, slashing the number of jobs created and retained by them.
Infrastructure Crumbling: One in every three miles of roads and one in ten bridges is heading for unacceptable condition next year.
Employees Laid Off: Nearly 7,500 higher education jobs were lost.
Universities Decimated: 72,000 fewer students enrolled in Illinois public colleges and universities.
Social Service Workers Laid Off: Lutheran Social Services, the state’s largest social service provider, cut over 750 jobs due to lack of funding.
Credit Ratings Downgraded: Five Illinois universities were downgraded to junk status, and the state credit rating remains only one notch above junk status.
Population Shrinking: For three consecutive years, Illinois has lost more population than any other state.
Roadwork Suspended: 20,000 IDOT employees were temporarily laid off, costing the state $34 million in economic activity and one week of work.
“Bruce Rauner devastated the economy, bad mouthed the state, and is now trying to convince businesses to come to Illinois,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “If Rauner wants to attract businesses, he should figure out how to lead our state instead of running it into the ground.”
*** UPDATE *** I hope he talked with more than one company…
On conversations with Japanese businesses leaders
Rauner: There are more than 630 Japanese companies that have invested in Illinois. They have more than 1,200 locations, which is incredible, and they employ almost 50,000 Illinoisans now. … But we do talk candidly about the things that we’re trying improve and what I’m trying to do as governor. The most important thing we can do in Illinois is not only invest in our education — and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished in education — but to make our business climate more attractive, and the regulatory climate and also the taxes.
I did hear from one company that wants to grow in Illinois. (On Sunday) we met with them. (Rauner declined to name the company.) And they emphasized property taxes were a hindrance. They were very candid about it. We talked about how we’re working to reduce the property taxes. They were excited to hear that because they’d like to invest and grow in Illinois, but the property taxes are a problem and they asked us for help.