Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City)
The state of Illinois now ranks as the third most regulated state in the U.S., and one Downstate lawmaker thinks that only tells part of the story.
“We’re probably already the most regulated and licensed state when you combine the two,” Illinois state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) told the South Central Reporter. “The key to getting the economy going again is to bring investment back and we’re not going to get anywhere near doing that if we’re charging businesses more while still hitting them with more restrictions.”
A George Mason University survey found that Illinois has some 259,832 state restrictions, including nearly 35,000 in the chemical manufacturing and food sectors alone.
“I’m not asking for Illinois to be the most regulatory-friendly state in the nation, but I can’t see why we’d be at the bottom of the list,” Wilhour said. “If we just got to the middle of the pack, we would be an economic powerhouse. We should be building things here in Illinois with our transportation and infrastructure systems. But we can’t take advantage of those things as long as so much else is out of control.”
A separate 2018 study gave the state a failing grade for its policies on taxes, labor and licensure, condemning Illinois as the least business-friendly state in the U.S.
“It comes down to the same thing as everything else here in Illinois and that’s the problem of influence peddling,” Wilhour said. “The kinds of reforms that need to be done can’t be done because there’s too much big, special-interest money flowing. Look at the issue of workers compensation. Some of the biggest contributors to Democrats are trial lawyers. They gave a lot of money to Democrats and that’s why a lot of this stuff doesn’t get changed.”