Missed chance for real change

Edwardsville bills itself as a “progressive” community, but unfortunately on Monday night that meant sticking to the status quo.

The City Council refused to endorse Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda – creation of employee empowerment (right to work) zones, elimination of the prevailing wage requirements and reform of the workers comp law, to name three key points.

As the county seat of heavily Democratic, pro-union Madison County, it was a predictable but shortsighted outcome. The status quo is why Illinois is hundreds of billions of dollars in debt and at the back of the pack when it comes to attracting businesses and jobs. Edwardsville Alderman William Krause said the city stands for “middle-class individuals and workers.” Well, Rauner is trying to show his support of those groups through his actions. His turnaround ideas are designed to ensure that Illinois has not just jobs but careers for its residents. He doesn’t want to see 94,000 more people move out the state as happened last year.

Rauner understands that he’s not going to win over every community. That’s OK. He just needs a few to get parts of Illinois back on the list of places where companies want to do business and add jobs. Madison and St. Clair counties might not want a new way of doing business, but Monroe, Randolph or other counties in Southwestern Illinois might.

We don’t think the status quo would look quite so appealing next to a successful employee empowerment zone.