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updated: 2/8/2016 5:33 PM

Rauner tells Wheeling leaders: Illinois should aim 'to be average'

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  • Video: Gov. Rauner in Wheeling

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois should just aim to be average when it comes to job and economic growth. The governor attended a town-hall meeting Monday at Wheeling's IcarTeam facility.

      Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois should just aim to be average when it comes to job and economic growth. The governor attended a town-hall meeting Monday at Wheeling's IcarTeam facility.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner addresses a packed town-hall meeting Monday at the IcarTeam facility in Wheeling. Rauner told suburban business and community leaders that Illinois should look to Texas for ideas on how to improve the business climate.

      Gov. Bruce Rauner addresses a packed town-hall meeting Monday at the IcarTeam facility in Wheeling. Rauner told suburban business and community leaders that Illinois should look to Texas for ideas on how to improve the business climate.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner toured the IcarTeam facility in Wheeling on Monday before addressing Northwest suburban community and business leaders during a town-hall meeting focusing on business and job growth.

      Gov. Bruce Rauner toured the IcarTeam facility in Wheeling on Monday before addressing Northwest suburban community and business leaders during a town-hall meeting focusing on business and job growth.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner met with suburban community and business leaders Monday at a town-hall meeting at the IcarTeam facility in Wheeling. The governor said many of the state's problems could be solved if it were at least average when it comes to business and job growth.

      Gov. Bruce Rauner met with suburban community and business leaders Monday at a town-hall meeting at the IcarTeam facility in Wheeling. The governor said many of the state's problems could be solved if it were at least average when it comes to business and job growth.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner shares a laugh with suburban community and business leaders Monday while touring the IcarTeam facility in Wheeling before answering their questions during a town-hall meeting.

      Gov. Bruce Rauner shares a laugh with suburban community and business leaders Monday while touring the IcarTeam facility in Wheeling before answering their questions during a town-hall meeting.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks with U.S. Rep. Bob Dold on Monday while attending a town-hall meeting in Wheeling focusing on business and job growth. Rauner said Illinois should look to Texas for ideas on how to improve the state's business climate.

      Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks with U.S. Rep. Bob Dold on Monday while attending a town-hall meeting in Wheeling focusing on business and job growth. Rauner said Illinois should look to Texas for ideas on how to improve the state's business climate.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Gov. Bruce Rauner lamented Illinois' economic standing in comparison to Texas and said the state should at least try "to be average," during a town-hall meeting Monday with business and community leaders in Wheeling.

Rauner toured the facilities of the business IcarTeam before starting the town-hall session with guests including U.S. Rep. Bob Dold and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti.

Rauner recently has started suggesting Illinois look to Texas as an example for how to improve the state's business climate.

"Texas is growing, Texas now pays their factory workers what they're supposed to be paid," Rauner said. "We're supposed to be the pro-employee and pro-union state. Texas is kicking our tail."

He suggested Illinois aim to be at least average when it comes to economic growth.

"If we just grew at the national average for a year, we wouldn't have unpaid bills today, we wouldn't have a deficit today and we wouldn't have (had) to do the tax hike in 2011," Rauner said.

Wheeling Director of Economic Development John Melaniphy said the village worked closely with the governor recently to attract Richelieu Foods Inc. to the village. The company, which makes pizzas, salad dressings and sauces, expects to open a 115,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at 120 W. Palatine Road later this year.

"This is the first time the village of Wheeling worked with the governor's office to recruit a business here," Melaniphy said.

Rauner reached out to Richelieu personally, Melaniphy said, something governors of other states trying to attract the business did not do.

A growing business climate would benefit the village, he added.

"We could grow our economy, enhance job-creation opportunities and lower taxes for businesses if we were growing at a rate that is average for states to be growing at, instead of losing jobs," Melaniphy said.

Faster economic growth and a more efficient government with less bureaucracy -- not higher taxes or fewer services -- will "free up the resources to balance the budget," Rauner said.

Sanguinetti opened Monday's event promoting efforts to consolidate local governments, something the governor advocated during his Friday visit to Naperville's municipal center.

"Illinois has more units of government than any other state, and that's a problem," Sanguinetti said.

In Naperville, Rauner endorsed four new bills that push consolidation, saying it would give Illinois residents more power to control the cost of local government.

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