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Governor tries to defend Rivian comments

Thursday, May 17, 2018

* More background is here. Bloomington radio station host Sam Wood said he “laid into” Gov. Bruce Rauner during his radio show yesterday over this

Gov. BRUCE RAUNER again falsely said in an appearance in Chicago last week that no auto company would take over the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, omitting the fact that an electric vehicle manufacturer bought it in 2017 in a deal his own administration touted. […]

“We tried to get another … car manufacturer to take over the plant. No one would come in. No one would even take the plant if we gave it to them, because our regulations are so hostile to business and our taxes are so high.” […]

His Chicago remarks were similar to a story — minus the race of the United Auto Workers member involved — that Rauner told talk-show host TOM MILLER in December on Carterville-based WJPF, a station which bills itself as “the voice of southern Illinois.”

“I can’t give this plant away,” Rauner said then, adding, “No auto company wants to invest in Illinois because of (House Speaker MICHAEL) MADIGAN’s power, because of regulations and taxes.”

* Gov. Rauner told Wood his staff was monitoring Wood’s radio program, so he decided to call in unannounced

Wood: We’ve been talking a little bit about the news — CapitolFax reported out earlier today about some comments you made at a press conference about Rivian Automotive. I have not been filled in on why you’re calling. I’m assuming this is related to that?

Gov: It is. My team listens to you every day. I’m over in Quincy right now at the Veterans home meeting with our heroes here and talking about the new water sources at the veterans home. My team told me that some of our political opponents are spinning up a bunch of kind of false spin in the media and the blogs and with a reporter in Springfield.

Wood: Well I’m going to cut you off there, Governor. What spin? Because we don’t have much time. How is this being spun?

Gov: So quickly, somehow there’s some spin out there that I’m critical of Rivian or don’t think Rivian’s good or gonna do well, and that’s just not true. I love Rivian. We worked hard to recruit them. We cut a deal with them to give them EDGE tax credits and I’m all in for them to succeed. What some of our political opponents are taking out of context is my concern that our regulations and our taxes are not competitive and attractive for manufacturing firms, especially auto companies. The auto industry is booming around the country especially in Indiana and other states. We are not booming like they are we had a hard time finding someone to take that Mitsubishi plant. It had 1,000 UAW workers there and I want tens of thousands of UAW jobs created in Illinois, but our regulations and taxes are pushing us out. So we took a gamble with Rivian, they’re at 40 employees, which is awesome, they hope to add hundreds and we gave them EDGE credits to do it, but it’s frustrating because if we had better competitiveness as a state, we could already have thousands of jobs working in and around that facility. That’s, that was the point I made and it’s being spun, I think, in not a valid way.

Wood: But you can understand why a lot of people in Bloomington-Normal feel like — I mean, this is not the first time you have failed to mention Rivian Automotive. At the Kemp Forum, you completely dismissed the fact that there is an occupant inside that former Mitsubishi plant. It’s Rivian. Why the confusion? Why do you forget that plant is occupied?

Gov: It’s not forgetting, and it’s not being critical of Rivian. The fact is, if we were competitive, if we had the regulations and the tax structure to be attractive to major manufacturing firms, that plant would already be full. That’s not a criticism of Rivian. I’m cheering for them. We worked hard — I worked hard to bring them.

Wood: Gov. Rauner, where does the 1,000 employee number come from? Were you not aware of the benchmarks that were set up as a part of these tax incentives that were offered to Rivian?

Gov: Rivian has nothing to do with 1,000. We hope they get big. We don’t know how big. They’re a startup. The 1,000 was who was there before with Mitsubishi —

Wood: It was more than 1,000.

Gov: Well at the very end that’s what it was, it was way more than 1,000. We could have had thousands of folks there if we were competitive. That’s my point. That’s my only point. It’s not at all critical of Rivian. Rivian’s a great start-up. We want more high-tech start-ups in Illinois. But that plant could have and should have been full with UAW members if we were competitive. That was the point I was making.

Wood: But do you disagree with the fact that Rivian is meeting their benchmarks in terms of what was agreed-upon?

Gov: Uh, I haven’t looked at their latest benchmarks. They are a start-up doing well and we’re cheering for them and I’m a big advocate for Rivian. Different issue from what could have been in that plant if we were competitive, that was the point I’m making.

Wood: All right, fair enough.

Nobody said or even implied that the governor was “critical of Rivian or don’t think Rivian’s good or gonna do well.” The point was he continually talks like Rivian never opened its plant.

* Related…

* Local officials: Rauner wrong on Rivian

- Posted by Rich Miller        

27 Comments
  1. - Anon221 - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:10 pm:

    Good on Sam for calling out Rauner. Rauner only considers Rivian a start-up, not a real plant (which it well may be, but his Administration is funding it). Also interesting how lovey-dovey Rauner was about UAW employees. Rauner’s tires must be getting pretty worn doing all those 360s.


  2. - Henry Francis - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    After the Yay post, I didn’t think the Guv could look/sound any more desperate and foolish. I was wrong.

    The poor guy has no clue.


  3. - wow - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:15 pm:

    train wreck.


  4. - Honeybear - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:22 pm:

    Blood in the water folks

    Governor Rauner, why did your Intersect Illinois “give” a 49 million dollar tax incentive and an auto plant on a “gamble” to a car company that has never made a single car or prototype?
    Please don’t give away or tax revenue
    Please don’t gamble with our money
    And for Gods sake
    Know what’s in a deal before you make it.

    Rivians EDGE agreement should be online
    At DCEO website


  5. - Bobby T - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    If I were working at Rivian, I’d be peeved.

    A job is a job. A “start-up” job is still a job.

    Rauner is no businessman.


  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:30 pm:

    So Rauner is a cheerleader for private sector unions?


  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    Here you go, honey bear
    https://www.illinois.gov/dceo/ExpandRelocate/Incentives/Pages/EdgeAgreements.aspx


  8. - Honeybear - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:34 pm:

    Oh and I’m surprised it takes 40 people to park the returned defective vw’s on the plant parking lot. That is literally the only activity that I see from Rivian.
    That’s a lot of Volkswagons
    Just sayin
    Since you don’t have a current production model or even a prototype to work on.
    Since your research team is in another state.
    Glad you found something to do
    To keep your EDGE agreement of
    49 million
    In compliance.


  9. - dbk - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:40 pm:

    –I want tens of thousands of UAW jobs created in Illinois–

    First I’ve heard of it. Did the gov turn pro-union in the last 24 hours?

    He should be called out for this whoppery whopper yesterday.


  10. - Honeybear - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    Thanks anonymous 12:32. It’s hard to do on my ancient phone.
    Could you forward it to the Governors office?
    Bruce can check out the sweet deal he gave Rivian.


  11. - One Time - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    I thought he would get better. I was wrong. Instead of aging like wine, he’s aged like milk.


  12. - Onelittlecherry - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:50 pm:

    But remember
    Intersect Illinois
    Put this sweetheart deal together
    It was not DCEO
    Jim Schultz and Andria Winters
    Had already left DCEO to found Intersect Illinois
    Or ILBEDC as it was first known as

    This sweetheart deal is all Rauner


  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:50 pm:

    Hmmm. Sounds like somebody needs a Brewski w Bruce moment with some ‘blog’ guy and a ‘reporter from Springfield’.
    Wouldn’t that be delightful….and entertaining.


  14. - Annonin' - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    And this is the same BlankCheckBruce who is prancin’ around about the Quincy Vets Home “plan”
    Think it through folks


  15. - Flynn's Mom - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    It’s more and more painful to listen to him over time. Is he really that clueless?


  16. - slow down - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:59 pm:

    He’s so used to stretching the truth or outright lying that he does it without a second’s thought. For once, he was called on it. We need far more of that with him and with all politicians.


  17. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    =The fact is, if we were competitive, if we had the regulations and the tax structure to be attractive to major manufacturing firms=

    Ok, and what have you been able to bargain with the ILGA Mr. Successful at Everything?


  18. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 1:11 pm:

    If this Rivian plant opens, in Normal, assembling complete automobiles, AA will buy the first one available at retail. #Skeptical


  19. - Moby - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    I hate when my political opponents “are spinning up a bunch of kind of false spin”. It’s the worst!


  20. - Henry Francis - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 2:05 pm:

    And keep in mind, the Guv wasn’t caught off guard here with some off-topic gotcha question. He wasn’t even part of the discussion. HE jumped in and picked this fight. And he did so not knowing what the facts were.

    The poor guy is acting more and more unhinged. I hate to think what he is going to be like in October.


  21. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    Just announced that Pella Windows is moving 120 jobs to Macomb IL from Kentucky. We must be a least somewhat competitive. It was a local effort by the way. City working with Pella and the governor and crew no where to be seen. NTN Bower is also adding jobs as fast as they can find qualified workers. No mention or participation from the governor on this as well. He’s never created a single job and probably never will, why does anyone listen to this fraudulent gas bag?


  22. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    –“I can’t give this plant away,” Rauner said then, adding, “No auto company wants to invest in Illinois because of (House Speaker MICHAEL) MADIGAN’s power, because of regulations and taxes.”–

    –Ford eyes $1.1 billion investment in Chicago-area factories–

    Way to go, UAW.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20151110/NEWS05/151119985/ford-eyes-1-1-billion-investment-in-chicago-area-factories


  23. - Onelittlecherry - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 3:04 pm:

    Old an in the way
    Yep
    DCEO no where to be found because
    They are a hollowed out shell
    Hardly anyone is still there.
    Vic is totally understaffed
    It’s hard to get anything done with no staff
    Or competency


  24. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    ===If this Rivian plant opens, in Normal, assembling complete automobiles, AA will buy the first one available at retail.===

    I suggest kicking the tires at least once before filling out the papers.


  25. - Skeptic - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 4:12 pm:

    “The fact is … if we had the regulations and the tax structure to be attractive to major manufacturing firms” If he can show with facts that his TA are the regulations and tax structure they’re looking, I could be convinced. So far, all we hear is “but Madigan.”


  26. - RNUG - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 5:47 pm:

    == If he can show with facts ==

    Bruce will be happy to make up some impressive sounding numbers on the fly …


  27. - Rabid - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 6:27 pm:

    False spin in the blogs from a Springfield reporter. Hannah you got in his head good


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* State Journal-Register endorses Rauner "with reservations"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker campaign lawyer hints at defamation suit, claims campaign was never served
* Rauner says he's "trying to eradicate" the Madigan machine "cancer," but the "treatments are tough"
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 - Speaker Ryan to campaign for Davis *** Trump likely coming to Illinois to boost Bost
* Musical Interlude: Try (just a little bit harder)
* Tell me another fairytale, Grandpa
* Rauner again denies any delays at Quincy veterans' home
* "Speed dating" candidates
* Lawyer won't answer simple questions as some anonymous former Pritzker staffers speak out
* AFL-CIO launches "massive" digital ad buy
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