SPRINGFIELD – The same Central Illinois lawmaker who wants Illinois to get rid of its fleet of airplanes thinks Decatur would be an excellent place to build jets.
State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, says Illinois officials should promote the Macon County community as a “great location” for aircraft giant Boeing to build its new 777X passenger jet.
Both Mitchell and fellow state Rep. Sue Scherer, a Decatur Democrat, have railed against the state ferrying officials between Springfield and Chicago in airplanes, saying the money should be used elsewhere.
But, when it comes to building planes in Central Illinois, Mitchell said he’s all for it.
“A few years back, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago, with assistance from Illinois taxpayers,” Mitchell said in a news release issued Thursday. “I am encouraging Boeing to come to Decatur to see the great manufacturing capacity and highly skilled work force we have ready to get to work.”
Mitchell’s plea comes as Illinois is among a handful of states vying to become home to the production of the 400-seat jetliner. It also comes as Decatur’s largest employer, Archer Daniels Midland, is seeking to move its top executives to a larger city to be closer, in part, to an airport with international connections.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, announced this week a series of hearings on how the state should handle future requests for corporate tax breaks.
Mitchell said he plans to file legislation requiring the state to target incentives for communities like Decatur that have suffered a downturn in manufacturing. Decatur’s unemployment rate stands at 11.7 percent.