I-LAW and local leaders join together to host 'Create Jobs, Not Lawsuits' public forum

Travis Akin May 4, 2012, 3:21am


A national survey of CEOs from Chief Executive Magazine was just released and the State of Illinois is ranked the third worst state in the country to do business. Only New York and California fared worse than the Land of Lincoln.

By comparison, Indiana is ranked the fifth best state to do business while Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin all rank in the top 25 states to do business.

"Indiana is like a breath of fresh air," said one CEO. "I have operated on both coasts, the Southeast and Chicago, and Indiana is where I will keep my manufacturing operations."

Another CEO noted that "Illinois is in a race to the bottom."

With an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent – the worst of all surrounding states – the need for jobs in Illinois is very real. To that end, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch sponsored a forum in Marion to make the case that what Illinois needs is more jobs – not more lawsuits.

Joining I-LAW at the forum was Illinois Marion Mayor Robert Butler, Herrin Mayor Vic Ritter, Franklin-Williamson County Regional Superintendent of Schools Matt Donkin and several other community leaders joined together to host a public forum in Marion to discuss the adverse impact of lawsuit abuse on job creation, municipal services and schools.

The forum was the first stop in Illinois of the national "Create Jobs, Not Lawsuits" public awareness tour that is taking place in states all across the country throughout 2012. Forum participants shared stories of how lawsuit abuse impacts their operations and discussed proposals to create jobs and restore city services by implementing common sense lawsuit reforms.

Mark Williams, Vice President of Marketing at Rent One, spoke about how money businesses spend on fighting lawsuits is money businesses could spend expanding and creating more jobs. The two mayors participating in the forum explained the money cities spend fighting frivolous lawsuits is taxpayer money that's sucked out of city budgets, which forces mayors to cut jobs, reduce services or raise taxes.

In recent years, other Midwestern states have moved to makes their states more conducive to job creation by passing their own lawsuit reform packages, yet efforts to pass badly-needed lawsuit reforms that would restore fairness to Illinois courts have been stymied in Springfield the past several years.

The state of Wisconsin last year enacted sweeping lawsuit reforms and this year cracked the top 20 for the first time Chief Executive Magazine report on the best states to do business. One CEO remarked, that "In our home state of Wisconsin there is a palatable enthusiasm amongst business executives that we are roaring back due to a clear vision of job creation."

Wouldn't it be great if CEOs were able to say the same things about Illinois?

It is time for Illinoisans to stand together and put pressure on our state legislators to finally do something about the rampant lawsuit abuse in Illinois that is stifling job growth. While other states around us have made lawsuit reform a priority, it is a problem that continues to be ignored in Illinois. The time is now to enact reforms that will create jobs, not lawsuits.

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