Senate Week in Review: Oct. 27 - 31, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

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Amazon, Cronus and Coyote Logistics announce plans to establish facilities in Illinois

Illinois received positive economic news this week, as Amazon Inc., Cronus Chemicals and Coyote Logistics announced plans to either establish future facilities in Illinois or, in the case of Coyote Logistics, expand its already existing location.

Amazon confirmed plans to begin operations in the state by 2017, bringing with them 1,000 full-time positions. The facility location has not been decided at this time.

The state also celebrated a similar announcement made by Cronus Chemicals LLC, which has chosen the Tuscola region to host its new $1.4 billion fertilizer plant, beginning in spring 2015. Approximately 2,000 temporary construction jobs are expected to be created, with 175 full-time positions once the facility is completed. At this time, 25 Cronus employees work out of the company’s Chicago headquarters.

Technology company Coyote Logistics also announced plans to add 500 jobs at its Chicago headquarters. More

Illinois ranked 31st in business tax climate, 45th in job growth

Cronus, Amazon and Coyote Logistics’ plans to expand in Illinois are a boon for the state, particularly when taking into account the results of two separate studies that placed Illinois in the bottom half of states when it comes to business tax climate and job growth.

According to the most recent edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index, released by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Illinois’ business tax climate dropped two places since last October and is considered by the organization to be the 31st best tax climate in the nation. 

Improving the state’s business climate is critical if Illinois hopes to improve its job growth ranking. A report published by Arizona State University placed the state 45th in the nation in job growth using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is drop from the state’s 2013 ranking of 39th in the nation. More

Good and bad news on local pensions

A report from the legislature’s bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) is a mix of good and bad news on municipal pensions in Illinois.

The report examined the financial status of various public employee retirement systems in Chicago and Cook County, along with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

The bad news? The eight Chicago municipal pension funds examined had a combined average funding ratio of just under 42% – meaning that they only had sufficient assets to cover 42% of their obligations.

But, there was also good news in the report. The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which covers most municipal and county employees outside of Cook County, remains the strongest public pension fund in the state, with a funding ratio of 87.6%. That is down from a pre-recession ratio of 96%, but represents a gradual climb after hitting a low of 83% in 2011. More

Illinois fifth in nation in bike deaths

A three-year study of bicycle fatalities shows Illinois had the fifth-highest number in the nation. The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that 80 bicyclists were killed in Illinois during the three-year period.

However, that number was significantly below the top two states. California had 338 fatalities and Florida had 329 during the same period. More