Governor still trying to get his story straight
The Rivian Automotive plant keeps surfacing in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign, but with a couple of different spins so far.
Last month, Rauner brought up the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal when doing an interview on a southern Illinois radio station, telling the Carterville-based WJPF audience that he couldn’t find another auto company to buy the facility.
“No auto company wants to invest in Illinois because of (House Speaker Michael) Madigan’s power, because of regulations and the taxes,” Rauner said in that interview.
He didn’t mention then that Rivian Automotive had purchased the plant, or that he himself had appeared there last March with its CEO.
Well, on Sunday, a Rauner campaign Twitter account had a post that said in part: “We brought Rivian Automotive and 1,500 new jobs to Normal.”
Sounds good, but the state isn’t quite there yet. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has promised $49 million in tax credits over 15 years if the company creates 1,000 new full-time jobs by the end of 2024. That state deal — granted by the Rauner administration — also initially calls for at least 35 new jobs by the end of 2018.
I reported in mid-December after Rauner’s radio comments that at the time, Rivian had brought on only about 20 workers. Dan Irvin, director of communications for the town of Normal, told me this week that Rivian’s agreement with Normal calls for abatement of 2018 property taxes if the company has at least 35 workers by the end of this year. He said the company is committed to 500 jobs by the end of 2021 to keep the tax local break through that time.
‘His own drum’
Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti has some sartorial advice for her running mate.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Sanguinetti said it took her a few days to decide to be on the ticket again in 2018. And while her pro-life views and opposition to an abortion-funding bill signed by the governor was a key issue, she also said she differs with him on, as the Trib put it, a less serious issue.
“So, he doesn’t know how to dress,” Sanguinetti said. “And I’ve tried to help, but brother won’t listen.”
The story said she was referring to Rauner’s “typical uniform” of casual ranch-hand slacks with a plaid button-down shirt and ultra-long sport coat, or sometimes a vest.
“He beats his own fashion drum,” she said, “but that’s one disagreement.”