Rauner speech cites Wheeling company as example of business frustration
In his inauguration speech, Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke about a Wheeling company he toured last year, saying it is an example of difficulties faced by Illinois businesses.
"I visited one company called Keats Manufacturing in Wheeling," Rauner said.
"Back in 1958, Bert and Glenn Keats started a metal stamping company in a storefront on Cicero Avenue in Chicago. Their father had never made it past high school, but both of them made it through college and were eager to start out on their own.
"They had one employee and a couple machines. They worked long hours, a second job and sacrificed much, but they made it and their company took off.
"Today, Keats Manufacturing employs 110 Illinois workers and has nearly 75 machines running 24 hours a day, 5 days per week.
"The story of Bert and Glenn Keats was not an uncommon path in our state. And it wasn't just Chicago, and it wasn't just manufacturing. It was Peoria, it was Rockford, it was Decatur. It was agriculture, it was transportation, it was technology. Illinois was a place where people like Bert and Glenn Keats from all over the country, indeed, from all over the world, wanted to come, because Illinois was a land of opportunity, almost without parallel in America.
"Today's Illinois is very different.
"The grandsons of Bert and Glenn Keats tell me they couldn't have started their company in Illinois today. When their grandfathers started the company, all its customers were Illinois companies; they went door-to-door to find them. But today, none of their customers are Illinois companies -- they have all left. And the grandsons told me that they, themselves, are feeling the pressure of high taxes and high regulation."