TMA hosted nearly 30 Chicago region mayors in May, with a goal of encouraging partnerships to benefit municipalities, as well as local manufacturers.
Municipalities benefit from manufacturers
“Here in Schaumburg, we are in the middle of five of the biggest manufacturing zip codes in America,” TMA President Steve Rauschenberger told the officials. “We’d like to be a resource for you if you have questions about manufacturing.”
“Manufacturers pay their taxes. We don’t cry a lot, but we need a fair shake and an understanding by our elected officials that we are competing internationally. We’re not competing just against Kentucky or Ohio, but against the world,” he said.
Brad Cole of the Illinois Municipal League, agreed, and emphasized the need for mayors and manufacturers to focus on communities more than what’s going on in the state capital.
“Manufacturers are happy, quiet warriors – and most aren’t interested in politics,” Rauschenberger said. “But some of them are concerned about how politics work.”
Manufacturers appreciate cooperative municipalities
TMA Government Relations Committee chairman Zach Mottl – CAO of Atlas Tool Works – shared thoughts from a company owner perspective.
“At Atlas, we are raising wages to find skilled employees and also providing good benefits,” Mottl said. “Manufacturing is a great pathway to a career with no college education required. Many of our employees take classes at TMA that we pay for. They obtain NIMS certificates, which they can take anywhere to get a job if they move out of Illinois.”
More about ATLAS TOOL WORKS
Manufacturers pay property taxes and sales taxes, something of which every mayor wants more. “Many of our employees live nearby, close enough to walk to work. They’re part of the community,” Mottl said. “Manufacturing jobs are careers, with an average tenure at Atlas of 20
Mottl explained how his company helped clean up an environmental issue when they had to remove an underground oil tank.
“Manufacturing is booming, and we work with councils to improve the community,” he said. “We need to open up communications with local officials, so they understand how the decisions they make positively or negatively affect our businesses.”
For instance, Mottl said, his property taxes went up 33% in the latest assessment, and the company was already paying six figures in property taxes, increasing their tax bill and lowering their profits considerably.
Manufacturers and municipalities should work together
Mayors can help by making their councils and constituents aware that when manufacturers leave, residents are forced to carry the load of taxes long-gone manufacturers take with them when they move to another location.
“We are looking for ways to partner with you,” Rauschenberger said. “We want you to be successful. And once you lose the tax base, it’s really hard to restore it.”
From TMA’s June 2019 News Bulletin. Used by permission.