Made In America: Helping Or Hurting Illinois Businesses?

Apr 10, 2015

Police cars would have to be assembled in the U.S. and Canada if House Bill 3438 passes.
Credit wikimedia commons

A proposal in the Illinois House that would require all state vehicles to be manufactured in North America sounds patriotic, but some groups say it would hurt Illinois businesses.

The Department of Transportation and the Illinois' Manufacturers Association are among those who oppose House Bill 3438. Randy Nehrt of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce says this could actually hurt Illinois businesses, especially those that supply parts to car manufacturers in Mexico.

"The bill actually has the real potential to harm Illinois businesses," he said. "It also strains relationships with Illinois' trading partner in Mexico."

The proposal says Illinois would only be allowed to purchase or lease North American-made vehicles, but doesn't include Mexico.

Nehrt says Illinois businesses have about $6.4 billion in exports with Mexico every year. The state could still buy and lease vehicles made in Canada.

The measure's sponsor, Rep. Mike Smiddy, says Mexico was left out because it pays its workers less than the United States and Canada. The Democrat from Hillsdale says the country also doesn't offer insurance or benefits for its workers.

Illinois unions support the measure. It passed committee and is now waiting a vote in the House.