11 months ago by Bob Gough
Company V.P. says mayor has had "virtually no involvement" with Knapheide; Spring says company has used government assistance on numerous occasions
Bo Knapheide, vice president of Knapheide Manufacturing, said the Quincy-based manufacturer weathered tough economic conditions despite Illinois' bad business climate because of the hard work by the company's employees and managers.
At a news conference Thursday morning, Knapheide blasted Quincy Mayor John Spring for "taking credit for Quincy's job growth and more specifically, jobs at Knapheide."
"To grow our company, we have had to overcome the disastrous economic policies of Mayor John Spring and his supporters and allies in the Chicago-bassed majority that controls Illinois government" specifically citing former Governor Rod Blagojevich and Governor Pat Quinn.
"Mayor Spring touts his political connections as an advantage to Quincy when in fact they have brought Quincy and Illinois higher taxes, much higher unemployment and huge unfunded pension liabilities."
Knapheide said Spring has had "virtually no involvement" with the company during his eight years on office.
"He did visit us last year and asked for a donation to light the bridge," he said. "We helped with a donation."
Spring's challenger in next week's election, Alderman Kyle Moore, appeared with Knapheide. Knapheide, the company and its president, H.W. "Knap" Knapheide III, have all contributed to Moore's campaign.
Moore said Spring is not running for "Mayor of Adams County" when he touts the county having the second lowest unemployment rate in the state. Moore said Quincy's current unemployment rate of 8.5 percent ranks behind 26 other communities and the city has approximately 900 fewer jobs than when Spring took office in 2005.
Spring was asked for a response and provided the following:
"...I’m disappointed that Bo Knapheide has chosen to politicize jobs and economic development. Knapheide Manufacturing continues to be one of our area’s leading employers and I’m proud they are in Quincy.”
"...Knapheide is a good example of how private industry and local government can work together to create jobs. When the Knapheide plant was built on the north side of Quincy, several local government incentives were provided to Knapheide including enterprise zone tax abatement, improvement of Koch’s Lane, zoning change, water and sewer extension, job training funds, a City of Quincy low interest loan, as well as a low interest loan and outright grant from the State of Illinois."
“Those incentives were furnished when Chuck Scholz was mayor. Partisan politics did not come into play. Economic development must be nonpartisan and we must work together for our community to continue to prosper. While I have been Mayor I have worked with many prospective new businesses and industries to develop public-private partnerships. I have never asked their political preference. My administration has continued the effort to create more jobs by promoting public-private partnerships as was used in the development of the Knapheide facility.”
“Although we have seen the positive results of our job creation efforts, we must continue to work collaboratively with Great River Economic Development Foundation and other regional economic development groups to create and retain jobs in our area.”