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We need a capital bill

Wednesday, Oct 4, 2017

* COGFA looks at the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers

(C)onstruction jobs (seasonally adjusted) in Illinois grew 0.6% between June 2015 and June 2017. This rate of growth ranks Illinois 46th in the nation for this rate of improvement in this subsector for this time period. Even more disappointing are the results when comparing the number of construction jobs in Illinois today compared to 15 years ago. Construction jobs are down 22.0% in Illinois over this time period, ranking Illinois 50th for this rate of change.


* Sun-Times

Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan — the Chicago Democrats who control the Illinois General Assembly — are mapping plans for the state to help pay for infrastructure improvements in and around Jackson Park related to the Obama Presidential Center.

The two leaders “are looking for a commitment from the governor to support road projects that would support the Obama Presidential Center,” Cullerton told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday. […]

A source told the Sun-Times that over time, the state could be asked for more than $100 million for transportation improvement projects triggered by construction of the Center.

At that Sept. 19 meeting, “The Speaker reminded the others of the estimate that the city has developed about infrastructure needs, the road networks that might serve that property,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said Tuesday.

Patty Schuh, a spokeswoman for Brady, said the conversation also included a discussion of legislation to provide capital for state infrastructure projects. “We are certainly interested in a capital bill moving forward and are reviewing any necessary components,” she said on Tuesday.

* At the time of the meeting, however, she and others denied that capital was even discussed…

* Back to COGFA

Illinois’ [overall unemployment] rate of 5.0% ranks them 41st in the nation. Midwest states with better unemployment rates than Illinois include Iowa (3.3%, ranked 8th); Wisconsin (3.4%, ranked 11th); Indiana (3.5%, ranked 12th); Minnesota (3.8%, ranked 15th); Michigan (3.9%, ranked 18th); and Missouri (4.0%, ranked 22nd). The only neighboring state with a higher unemployment rate than Illinois was Kentucky at 5.4%.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 9:15 am:

    Texas may be hiring (not total snark- may drain some of our professional construction workers)-

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 9:29 am:

    What’s going on with Brady? That’s quite a gap between what he’s saying and what’s being reported.

    Don’t see the play here, if there is one.

  3. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    Do the GOP GA members need Dan Proft’s permission before they vote on a Capital Bill?

  4. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 10:04 am:

    I can’t recall. Was a capital bill one of the questions you asked of the D candidates?

  5. - Bobby Hicks - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    Just a question: why would the GA give Rauner a capital bill this close to an election? He would hand-pick the districts based on his polling numbers; areas that he is soft in.

  6. - Nickname - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    New housing demand in Illinois is nosediving more than anywhere else in the nation, and that has a lot to do with weak construction job growth. Too narrow to chalk that up to capital spending and call it a day.

  7. - Harry - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    15 years ago was in the midst of implementing the the big George Ryan infrastructure program that passed in 1999 or 2000. Go back 20 yrs and Construction employment is down 9.8%, and the percent losses in Manufacturing, Mining and Information (!) are much worse.

    Also, the COGFA table just shows “Construction,” which includes both public and private. The real estate construction market was going a bit nuts in the 2000-2007 period which has to account for some of the gap between then and now.

    IL DOES badly need a capital program, but cherry-picking statistics is not the best way to go about it.

  8. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 12:36 pm:

    It’s truly foolish to compare the construction conditions today with those of 15 years ago. 15 years ago we were building and people were building homes and the schools, roads and infrastructure to support them. Now the people wo would spend a lot building real estate are leaving town, NOT coming here to build. We have excess commercial real estate space as well. Just about the only increasing market in rental residential in downtown Chicago.

  9. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    Don’t ask the taxpayers to pay for the Obama library site and transportation development. That should be paid for by his presidential library committee.

  10. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 12:43 pm:

    Rich, Illinois can no longer afford luxuries like spending on capital work as patronage to unions and crony contractors at inflated costs. We need to get a serious evaluation of what is safety and cost effective selection of capital work and make a plan based upon that. No more low need school or municipal building projects on the taxpayer dime nor premature road projects just to “make work” for the unions and cronies…..

  11. - City Zen - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    ==15 years ago was in the midst of implementing the the big George Ryan infrastructure program that passed in 1999 or 2000. ==

    So you’re the one who spent all that money just to push the Hillside Strangler backups 1 mile east.

    ==Don’t ask the taxpayers to pay for the Obama library site and transportation development. ==

    LSD is a state road. All other street modifications should be paid by the City of Chicago.

  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    AB, you’re willfully clueless about commercial real estate development in Chicago. It’s not just residential. Look it up, it’s in the papers and Crains every day.

    Given the ongoing building boom in Chicago, I assume statewide lackluster construction growth means real losses outside the metro.

    So maybe a capital plan taking care of billions in “deferred maintenance” Downstate is in order. That’s actually what governments are supposed to do to provide the foundation for a growing economy.

  13. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    ===Construction jobs are down 22.0% in Illinois over this time period, ranking Illinois 50th for this rate of change.===

    I agree with Harry. I also think we definitely need a capital bill. But I always wondered how they count workers who live out of state but work here? No doubt a lot of construction guys live in Indiana

  14. - Ginhouse Tommy - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    The Build Illinois Program under George Ryan was done so with a surplus of money which Compt. Hynes said wasn’t there. He was accused of playing politics. He said the figures don’t match up with what he had. This was done with the knowledge of the pension problem looming in the background. I’m all for infrastructure improvements but let’s have the money to do it.

  15. - what she said - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    “Do the GOP GA members need Dan Proft’s permission before they vote on a Capital Bill?”

  16. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 5:58 pm:


    =AB, you’re willfully clueless about commercial real estate development in Chicago. It’s not just residential. Look it up, it’s in the papers and Crains every day.
    Given the ongoing building boom in Chicago, I assume statewide lackluster construction growth means real losses outside the metro.=

    You’re right about Downtown
    office space (down to 11.6% vacancy rate) but you have a rising suburban residential, commercial and retail vacancy rate (over 19% and rising). The Chicago market is driven by access to you college educated workers, mostly single. If you overtax the service jobs they’re doing downtown, there’ll be a lot of vacant office space and without jobs residential will tank. If Ryan had addressed the pension issues when he had his “surplus” in the 1990’s instead of wasting it on overpriced pork, the problem would be much less severe today, but cronies wouldn’t have cashed in. That’s the problem when pols want their “pork” but they want to eat it too…

  17. - Highway Engineer - Wednesday, Oct 4, 17 @ 10:27 pm:

    IDOT released its FY2018 Annual Highway Improvement Program today -

    Reduced by $300 million because of transfer of transit funding from GRF to Road Fund.

    IDOT will only perform work on 189 miles of road when it needs to perform 800 - 1000 miles just to keep the condition as is.

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