Arie Friedman Comments on Disappointing Illinois Jobs Report

From the Friedman for State Senate campaign…

“Illinois continues to lead the nation in jobs lost since Springfield Democrats raised the state income tax in January,” Dr. Arie Friedman, said Friday, commenting on the latest statistics released by the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Friedman is seeking the Republican nomination for the State Senate in the 29th District, which extends through southeast Lake County and takes in parts of Northfield and Wheeling Townships and a small section of Palatine in Cook County. The district’s senator, Susan Garrett, announced her retirement this summer.

“From the time those tax hikes on families and employers passed in January,” Friedman said, “Illinois’s employment picture has demonstrated shocking weakness. We led the nation with 24,900 job losses in the month of July and continue to lead in the overall number of jobs lost this year. Illinois has lost 92,785 jobs during the first nine months of 2011,” he noted.

“We reached 10 percent unemployment in September as well,” said Friedman, “another deeply troubling statistic.

“Perhaps the most telling of all is how we’re doing compared to our neighboring states, since those are the easiest locales to which Illinois employers who can move operations.

“Indiana,” he said, “has added 17,239 jobs since January – a dramatic number, by the way, for a smaller, more rural state with a much smaller population. Missouri has rebounded with an increase since January of 57,163 jobs. Wisconsin has essentially stayed flat, while we’ve lost 92,785 jobs.

“Our nearest ‘competitor’ nationally for jobs lost this year is Michigan. Their jobs toll? Down 61,893. We all know Michigan’s economy has been based on one traditional industry,” Friedman said, “while ours has always been diverse. Yet we are in much worse shape when it comes to the all-important trend of jobs lost – 92,785 in 2011.

“When you look at what our state policymakers have been doing,” he said, “this record is troubling but not surprising. What other state chose to raise income taxes on individuals – including small businesses – and corporations at the height of a recession? Not a decision to take pride in.

“Those income tax hikes must be repealed while there is still hope. And the Illinois General Assembly must also take seriously,” he said, “the need to reform worker’s compensation, get control of spending on Medicaid – the single largest expenditure in the state budget – and reform our public employee pension system.

“But I’m afraid,” said the Highland Park pediatrician, “that none of those urgent changes will happen before the election of a new legislature some 14 months from now.

“Illinois is going in the wrong direction on taxes, spending and fiscal management,” said Friedman. “We have to stop the hemorrhaging of population and jobs from our state, and the only way to do that is to try a new prescription – common-sense adults stepping forward from the private sector to straighten out the mess.

“That is why I am running,” said Friedman. “The people of Illinois urgently need to make a change, and my candidacy offers voters an opportunity to change Springfield.”

Dr. Arie Friedman and his wife Michelle are parents of five children and live in Highland Park. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he finished at the top of his medical school class at the University of Illinois Medical Center in 1998. He opened a pediatric medicine practice in Lake County in 2001. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Friedman served in the United States Navy as a helicopter pilot. During his seven years of active duty, Dr. Friedman flew SH-60B Seahawk helicopters out of Naval Air Station North Island, California, from which he deployed twice, including once to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Storm.

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