Ugaste distressed by state's dismal business climate
Newly elected state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) argues you need look no further than the results of a new Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) survey to get an idea of just how much the state has lost its way.
“Illinois should be one of the main economic drivers in the entire country, not lagging behind basically everyone else,” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter in response to IDES findings that the state ranked 46th out of 50 in private-sector jobs growth in 2018. “That just says we have an economy that no one wants to be a part of, and that all stems from the gross mismanagement by lawmakers in Springfield.”
In all, Illinois saw private-sector jobs growth of less than 1 percent over the last 12 months, with nearly one-third of all the 71,000 new jobs added in that time coming from government (24,700).
According to the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), government alone added more jobs across the state than the construction (4,400); manufacturing (5,500); trade, transportation and utilities (8,700); and professional and business services (2,700) industries combined. Overall, Illinois’s 4.3 unemployment rate is also greater than the national average of just 3.9 percent, IPI states.
“Businesspeople look at numbers and facts to decide where they’re going to put things and build,” added Ugaste, who won the 65th District in November with 52 percent of the vote. “Numberwise, things have to be right, and that’s not what you’re seeing in Illinois.”
Instead, Ugaste said, the state has developed a reputation for high taxes and a climate not conducive to business development.
“We need to start making hard choices and looking for areas in government where we can create greater efficiency,” he said. “We need to start making cuts wherever we can and looking for ways to grow the economy.”
With the state having lost more than 45,000 residents to outmigration in 2018 and more than 157,000 over the last four years, Ugaste said, it is clear what will happen if nothing short of those standards are met.
Still, he remains optimistic.
“It’s a matter of cooperation,” he said. “We still have so much going for us as a state, starting with our infrastructure, agriculture, universities and workforce. Our people are our biggest asset. We just need leaders steering them in the right direction.”
The 65th House District includes Batavia, Burlington, Dundee, Elgin, Geneva, Grafton, Hampshire, Plato, Rutland and St. Charles.