One Illinois lawmaker is blaming China for the state's massive job loss in the manufacturing sector.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois has lost about 9,800 manufacturing job this year alone. And, that doesn't include the possible layoff of 2,000 workers in Granite City, as US Steel considers idling steelmaking and finishing operations due to planned consolidation of North American operations.
State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) said manufacturing job losses are due to poor trade policies in the United States and how cheaply manufacturing can be done in China.
“We have unfair trade, in which case the Chinese have access to our markets and we don’t have access to their markets,” State Sen. Haine said. “Why in Heaven’s name do we let this go on to the detriment of the American working people is beyond me.”
Haine said Illinois should make every effort to make the state attractive to employers through infrastructure. He also said that state lawmakers should continue efforts to get the U.S. government to have what he calls fair trade policies.
In May, Haine was among a bipartisan group of area lawmakers who sent a resolution to President Obama and Congress urging the federal government to consider all possible trade and economic policies to keep the U.S. steel industry viable.
“We need middle class jobs, we need benefits and union scale wages,” Haine said. “It used to be the goal of our economy was to provide full time employment for family waged jobs, and that’s what we’ve lost with these unfair trade policies.”
Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, spoke with the Public News Service, saying while they work to entice manufactures back into the state, it’s important to note that Illinois is home to some of the best high-tech manufacturing jobs in the country.
“They average about $70,000 per year with benefits and pay,” Denzler said. “Manufacturing jobs are the types of jobs that allow somebody to support a family, put kids through college.”
Denzler further stated that the Illinois Manufacturers Association is pushing state lawmakers to consider a broader tax base with lower rates.
"We think there's a lot of things that can be done on tax reform, and we certainly think that looking at a sales tax on services is one of things that should be under discussion," he stated.