CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of suburban business owners on Tuesday said Gov. Bruce Rauner is mostly hitting the right notes as he tries to move the state’s economy forward.

Bernard Glossy, president of Naperville-based Delta Dental, applauded Rauner’s aim to grow the Illinois economy out of its doldrums.

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While the governor said foreign trade partners feel the state’s tax structure is their biggest concern, Glossy had an additional high priority.

“It’s partly the tax structure , but it’s also the ability to attract qualified talent to be able to continue to grow,” he said. “We’re a dental insurance company, and we need to get people that understand the basics of math, science, those types of things; so that we can continue to grow, and service the clients that we have in Illinois, and across the country.”

Rauner spoke at a business breakfast organized by the Choose DuPage economic development association, and others.

Ian Parr, president of CCS International, a construction and project management firm, said it was good to have a governor who wants to change things in Illinois.

“As a firm that’s been here 35 years, we do have offices in other parts of the country, and he’s correct, it’s more vibrant in other parts of the country,” he said. “But you can tell I’m from England, so this was my first choice as a place to live. I raise my family here.”

Parr said there are some very good things in Illinois too; but everyone from business to labor to those receiving state aid must sacrifice.

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“We’re in a bad state, and it’s a bitter pill, but if we don’t swallow it, I don’t see us getting out of it,” he said.
The governor’s office surveyed people from at least 10 foreign countries operating in Illinois, and they said there’s a lot to like about the state – like all the universities and corporate headquarters – but they complained about high property and corporate taxes, and fear those taxes will go up because of the state’s budget problems

The governor told business owners they also cannot fill enough manufacturing jobs.

“We’ll be short, skilled jobs, 150,000 spots,” he said. “We’re not giving welding instruction, we’re not giving maintenance instruction, electrical training. We’re failing to train our workforce. This is what they figured out in northern Europe. Germany does really well.”

He said Illinois must beef up vocational training programs, which will take resources his so-called “Turnaround Agenda” will provide.

Rauner also continued to stress his efforts to reduce union activity and collective bargaining in some areas, saying that issue is linked to the state’s tax structure.

“The number one concern of businesses is the instability and the unpredictability, and the reason we are focused on that – but also the other structural reforms – is the structural reforms are needed to ensure long-term financial stability,” he said.

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Some business owners applauded Rauner’s intent, but said their priorities also include a better-educated workforce, and creating more jobs