What kind of a place is Illinois for manufacturers? It’s about average, says Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University in Indiana, who has compiled the 2014 manufacturing and logistics report. The report gives Illinois an overall grade of C for its manufacturing environment.
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He says Illinois gets an A for logistics – the ability to bring in raw materials and move out the finished product – and for productivity and innovation. “Illinois does very well in those areas, and you can think about the very large universities that you have, large corporate headquarters which are investing a lot in research and development and then the output of that, how it affects the factory floor, clearly an A grade,” he said.
Where Illinois struggles is with the state’s finances. It’s more likely taxes will go up than down, mainly because of the unfunded pension liability.