Local politicans react to Caterpillar's announcement

By WEEK Reporter

February 18, 2012 Updated Feb 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- On Saturday, local lawmakers and those who are bidding for the job reacted to Caterpillar's announcement on Friday that its newest plant will be built in the U.S., but in Georgia, not Illinois.

Those we spoke to said it should serve as a wake up call to state lawmakers that the Land of Lincoln needs to put more effort into befriending big business.

"I think the uncertainty of the unbalanced budget and the worker's comp are the two issues that Cat has at least publicly stated they need to see some changes," said Democrat Allen Mayer of Peoria County Board District Six.

"Doug Oberhelmann was very clear months before this happened, the environment in Illinois was not business friendly. And so although I really am sorry that the jobs went elsewhere, I think it's completely understandable," said Republican Carol Trumpe, who is Vice President of the 15th District of Peoria County.

"Because we didn't get it here, the state's going have to re-evaluate some things. And we're going to have to figure out how to getting big corporations here. And obviously keeping the ones we have on top of that," said Democrat Rick Waldron, candidate for the Peoria County Board District Six.

"We know we have some work do to in the State of Illinois. But we also have to, I think, stress some of the assets that we have. Trained workforce, work ethic, infrastructure system that can deliver goods and services anywhere it needs to," said State Senator Dave Koehler.

"I think one thing is to look at the tax structure and how they treat corporations. And you have to be a friendly state," said Democrat James Polk, who is a candidate for State Senate.

"By not listening to the businesses, they'll keep going to other states. We've got to start listening to the big businesses, and the small businesses. This is more tax base that's not going to be here," said Republican Pat Sullivan, who is a candidate for State Senate.

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