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*** UPDATED x1 *** Kennedy again dismisses workers’ comp as an issue

Friday, Feb 16, 2018

* Chris Kennedy was in Galesburg this week

Kennedy also plans to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour if elected. While that would be an extra cost for businesses to pay in addition to regulations such as workers’ compensation, Kennedy said workers’ comp only affects a “small segment of the (business) population,” such as small manufacturers and other companies with workers who could sustain injuries on the job.

“I dealt with more than 5,000 companies … when all those companies moved to Illinois when I talked about coming here, not one of them ever asked me about workers’ comp, Right to Work, tort reform, how we draw our maps or term limits,” Kennedy said. “Those are important issues, but not to everybody all the time. What drives success and great economic development from a government is stability and predictability. They want to know what the taxes are going to be; they want to know what the regulations are going to be. Uncertainty and chaos is the enemy of economic development.”

Agreed on the uncertainty angle, but, dude, small manufacturing is suffering mightily in this state after keeping countless Downstate communities alive for decades. Just because a bunch of interior design vendors at the Merchandise Mart don’t care all that much about workers’ comp doesn’t mean it isn’t hugely important to places like… I don’t knowmaybeGalesburg?

* As for the rest of what Kennedy said, I asked Mark Denzler at the IMA to respond. Here’s most of it…

Chris Kennedy clearly does not have a fundamental understanding of the issues faced by job creators every single day in Illinois including workers’ compensation.

Let’s take a look. Illinois has the 8th most expensive system in the nation with costs nearly 20 percent higher than the average state. I’m not sure if he is aware but every employer in Illinois, regardless of size, is required to provide coverage for their employees. Perhaps Mr. Kennedy can explain why a doctor who performs two identical surgeries is paid 200-300 percent more for the operation covered by workers compensation rather than private insurance. Or why the average maximum compensation for an arm injury in Illinois is $439,858 when the national average is $169,878 according to the Pro Publica study. And by the way, when he proposes to nearly double the minimum wage, he is also increasing costs for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance where benefits are calculated on a wage-based formula.

He mentions that workers’ compensation only impacts a “small segment” of the business community. Perhaps he’d be interested in learning that Illinois manufacturers employ nearly 570,000 people in good, high-paying jobs that average more than $84,000 in wages and benefits. Ninety-two percent of manufacturers provide health insurance benefits and manufacturing has the highest jobs multiplier for any industry. The industrial sector contributes the single largest share of the Gross State Product and more than ninety percent of Illinois exports are manufactured products. Total manufacturing output in 2016 was $100.4 billion and if the Illinois manufacturing economy was its own country, it would be the 62nd largest economy in the world. This is hardly a “small segment” of the economy.

* Meanwhile, from the Trib

Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy has a new digital ad criticizing primary rival J.B. Pritzker over comments made in a November 2008 phone call with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich about potential African-American appointees to the U.S. Senate.

The half-minute ad features various broadcast reporters and anchors giving their interpretations of a Chicago Tribune report on the government-recorded conversation, which was part of the federal corruption investigation into the now-imprisoned Blagojevich.

* Spot

What jumps out at me most about this online ad are the images of Pritzker’s face. Striking stuff. Always watch an ad with the sound off to get a good gauge.

* Script…

Reporter: New problems for JB Pritzker, struggling to explain racially insensitive comments about two high-profile African-American politicians.

Reporter: The comments are being denounced by the African American Community.
He was caught on tap bad mouthing Jesse White. Calling him quote “The Least offensive African American.”

Reporter: Pritzker denigrated former state senate president Emil Jones. He referred to Jones as quote “Crass.”

Reporter: Congressman Bobby Rush is calling the wire taps despicable, dismissive and disrespectful.

*** UPDATE *** A commenter mentioned the ad’s last panel…

Yep. A powerful question that pretty much everyone is asking.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

30 Comments
  1. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:27 am:

    Digital ad LOL


  2. - Iggy - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:30 am:

    yeah get that ad off the web and on TV, that thing stings.


  3. - OneMan - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    JB looks a bit like Daley Sr in some of those photos.


  4. - BC - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:37 am:

    “What else is on tape?”

    Sounds like a good topic for a capfax Question of the Day.

    My guess: JB and Blago engaging in Obama-bashing.


  5. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:42 am:

    Great ad, but where’s the money to run it as part of a big messaging campaign?


  6. - Sue - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    Kennedy seems to be misinformed about most issues. Too bad he is in the race. A Biss/Pritzker choice would be better for voters


  7. - don the legend - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    …Reporter: Congressman Bobby Rush is calling the wire taps despicable, dismissive and disrespectful…

    I hope Congressman Rush attributed his comment to Jackie Chiles.


  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    Indiana has low workers’ comp - Carrier went to Mexico anyway…


  9. - Office Lady - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:48 am:

    I manage a small office of 5 office employees, and a cleaning lady– who cleans about 3 hrs. a week. Since we give the cleaning lady a W2, I have to count her towards Workers Comp. Received a letter earlier this week saying I would now be paying $1,000 a year in workers comp on the cleaning lady alone! Mind you her total salary last year was less than $2,500! Why? It’s the class code assigned to that job by the national council on compensation insurance. Workers comp is a MAJOR problem, even for small businesses/offices.


  10. - Stand Tall - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    Everyone is biased in their opinions so what, and yes work comp cost matter very much to business as well as many other regulations that the State imposes. We must really look into these issues if we are going to be competitive in attracting jobs outside the Chicago area. Look how large of a presence Cat had in the State in the 80’s, they warned the State about the cost of doing business in Illinois and moved many operations out of the State.


  11. - Amalia - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 11:57 am:

    put it on tv. wonderful tip to watch with the sound off. it is so true that the editing with JB facial looks is devastating. tv now.


  12. - Chris - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 12:00 pm:

    “Pritzker denigrated former state senate president Emil Jones. He referred to Jones as quote “Crass.”“

    I do not know Emil Jones, but calling someone ‘crass’ seems like fair game. I don’t think that implying a racial subtext to that word is necessarily fair, but whatever.

    Blagojevich is certainly crass, too, so it was quite the ironic word choice by J.B.


  13. - Chicagonk - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 12:05 pm:

    Illinois work comp probably doesn’t even crack the top ten as far as reasons why a manufacturer wouldn’t set up shop in Illinois. And this is from someone that works with large manufacturers on work comp on a daily basis.


  14. - Responsa - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 12:13 pm:

    ==I do not know Emil Jones, but calling someone ‘crass’ seems like fair game. I don’t think that implying a racial subtext to that word is necessarily fair, but whatever.==

    Good job deflecting. Now justify the “least offensive” comment. That’s the JB money quote that people are talking about and processing. Tying his “crass” comment in with the “least offensive” statement is why JB had a very bad weekend and went on his apology tour.


  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    Leave him alone- he’s a Kennedy.


  16. - Red fish blue fish - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    I don’t think Kennedy meant worker’s comp is not important but rather he was making a subtle rebuttal to the Rauner/IPI obsession with worker’s comp.
    There are many issues facing the state and worker’s comp is worth discussing. However, holding the state budget hostage because of workers comp is not okay.

    That’s my view at least.


  17. - Rutro - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    @ response, what word was he searching for? But more problematic is who cares what his opinion was, Blago was only talking to him because he won the birth lottery. No more qualified than a Kardashian to give his opinion on who should be Illinois’ next senator. Politically, Roland was more qualified to be giving advice.


  18. - Grandpa2 - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    Workman’s Comp is a major cost for our local school district and the costs are much higher than for similar injuries in nearby Iowa. Chicagonk may be correct that it is not in the top ten check-off items for potential manufacturers, but the above-average costs hurt both already established private and public employers.


  19. - Amalia - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    Workers’ comp Workers’ comp Workers’ comp


  20. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 1:17 pm:

    Curious that IMA never takes any credit for Illinois having nearly twice as many manufacturers as either Indiana or Wisconsin.

    http://www.nam.org/Data-and-Reports/State-Manufacturing-Data/


  21. - Al - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 1:27 pm:

    NAFTA and unfair trade with China has hurt illinois manufacturing sector. 90 percent of all the coal dug in Illinois is sent to China to make steel without a royalty to the illinois treasury. Coal is even exempted from the State sales tax. Our elected officials fail us and bend over backwards to please international tax cheat. Free trade is a euphemism for international tax cheat. Look at our federal budget deficits and trade numbers. I have seen graphs which show interesting correlations. Free trade is not free.


  22. - City Zen - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 1:44 pm:

    ==Curious that IMA never takes any credit for Illinois having nearly twice as many manufacturers as either Indiana or Wisconsin.==

    Considering Indiana’s much smaller footprint, their manufacturing numbers stack up quite nicely against Illinois.


  23. - Fax Machine - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    If they can’t afford broadcast then buy cable ads on BET & OWN. People in the community will see it & talk about it.


  24. - Ahoy! - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 1:59 pm:

    Yes, we have more assets but everyone around us is doing better at manufacturing. Yes, tech companies in downtown Chicago are not that worried about Workers Comp but this is essentially how Chicago is killing off downstate Illinois. The only question is if this is deliberate or not by the political elites in Chicago.


  25. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    Workers’ Comp insurance is basically mandatory in Illinois. There are some exceptions that the Act spells out. All of Kennedy’s tenants in the Merchandise Mart do not fall under any of those exceptions.

    The hardest hit are manufacturers, construction and transportation, the “heavy” jobs. Kennedy should get his facts straight before being so dismissive of Workers’ Comp. as an issue in this state.


  26. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 3:24 pm:

    Louis, good point on worker’s comp, but the Kennedys sold the Merchandise Mart years ago to Vornado Realty Trust.


  27. - Ron - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    Illinois is losing manufacturing while our neighbors are gaining manufacturing.


  28. - TKMH - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    ==NAFTA and unfair trade with China has hurt illinois manufacturing sector. 90 percent of all the coal dug in Illinois is sent to China to make steel without a royalty to the illinois treasury. Coal is even exempted from the State sales tax. Our elected officials fail us and bend over backwards to please international tax cheat. Free trade is a euphemism for international tax cheat. Look at our federal budget deficits and trade numbers. I have seen graphs which show interesting correlations. Free trade is not free.==

    NAFTA has been nothing but an unmitigated success for farmers, particularly in Illinois. As for manufacturing, remember that auto manufacturing in the Midwest relies upon importing parts made in Mexico; importing tariffs would disrupt the supply chain and hurt manufacturing workers. The vast majority of manufacturing jobs are lost because of productivity and technological gains, not by outsourcing.

    Moreover, we last experienced a budget surplus in 2000/2001–a full 6 years after NAFTA was ratified. We now have a president intent on making international trade a thing of the past, and the deficit is skyrocketing.


  29. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 4:32 pm:

    –Considering Indiana’s much smaller footprint, their manufacturing numbers stack up quite nicely against Illinois.-

    Yes, the Indiana “economy” is far more dependent on manufacturing (12.7% vs 28.8%), less diverse and much smaller than Illinois ($796B vs. $347B).

    Right next door, same natural and geographical factors, and much smaller footprint.

    Your point being?


  30. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 16, 18 @ 4:34 pm:

    –NAFTA has been nothing but an unmitigated success for farmers, particularly in Illinois. As for manufacturing, remember that auto manufacturing in the Midwest relies upon importing parts made in Mexico; importing tariffs would disrupt the supply chain and hurt manufacturing workers. The vast majority of manufacturing jobs are lost because of productivity and technological gains, not by outsourcing.–

    A voice of reason in the wilderness.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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