Caterpillar has decided not to locate its new plant in Illinois, and state lawmakers aren’t pleased but they’re not surprised. The Peoria and Galesburg regions were competing for the plant which will relocate from Japan, bringing with it about 1,000 jobs. State Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) says the decision is unfortunate but it should serve as a wake-up call.
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“I think it’s also a message to the state, to the legislature to address concerns they’ve expressed in the past, that Caterpillar has expressed,” he says. “We’ve got to work harder to get our fiscal house in order. We’ve got to work harder to make a better business climate in Illinois.” Medicaid and worker compensation reform top Moffitt’s list of business-friendly initiatives he says the state should work on. Caterpillar told Galesburg and Peoria city leaders the plant will likely be located near Cary, N.C. – close to a division headquarters. State Rep. Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) represents an area heavily influenced by Caterpillar, as the company’s international headquarters is across the river from his hometown. He says Illinois, simply put, is not business friendly. “It’s what Cat has been saying now for the better part of the last year,” he says. “We need real, meaningful workers compensation reform. We need real, meaningful business reform that’s going to be inviting to job creators and employers.”