Last week it was announced that yet another employer is moving operations out of Illinois to a more business friendly state, in this case Mississippi. On November 5, 2010, Olin Corporation announced that it will be closing its East Alton, Illinois ammunition plant that currently employs approximately 1000 people and moving those operations to Mississippi. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce spoke with Olin Corp. during its contemplation of this move, and Olin confirmed that the cost of doing business in Illinois is simply much higher than the cost at its other locations and referenced its workers’ compensation costs as one of the costs in question. Mississippi also offered Olin some incentives to convince it to make the move, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour boasted, “Having a business climate where existing operations can expand and new industries can thrive is a point of pride for all Mississippians.” (reported by The Memphis Daily News, Vol. 125, No. 216 (Friday, November 05, 2010)).
The general theme of the Chamber is simple: More business in Illinois means more revenue for Illinois from both business and employees, so let’s bring more business to Illinois rather than drive it out of Illinois. In a meeting on November 12, 2010, the Chamber’s Workers’ Compensation Committee confirmed that it will be continuing its efforts to push for meaningful workers’ compensation reform, both through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and its rules and procedures as well as through new legislation, and our firm will continue to be actively involved in this effort. If you, your organization or your company would like to learn more about this or would like to become more involved, please contact Steve Murdock at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chamber will be holding meetings to discuss its proposed legislation and the efforts needed to move forward in Illinois’ current political environment, and we are looking for partners to join us in support of those efforts.