Cook to unveil new Illinois plant after device tax killed other growth plans

Medical devicemaker Cook Medical unveils a new manufacturing plant in Illinois this Friday, even as it has curtailed further expansion elsewhere in response to the 2.3% industry excise tax, which is slated to begin in January. The company has blasted the tax as a job killer, and invited one of the major congressional architects of repeal efforts to speak at the event: Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL).

Schilling co-sponsored a House repeal bill that passed, but ultimately stalled because the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to take the measure up.

Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-IL) is also slated to speak at the opening, which launches a $19 million, 60,000-square-foot polymer-tubing manufacturing facility on an old brownfield site in Canton and will eventually employ 60 high-tech employees. Cook Medical President Kem Hawkins will also be there, and the city's mayor, Kevin Meade, is expected to sound off on how Cook's expansion has helped his city's turnaround efforts.

Cook revealed earlier this summer that it had halted plans to open five new plants in order to brace for the medical device tax, which it said will cost the company up to $40 million next year alone. Cook is the country's biggest private devicemaker, and so the company's position on the tax has drawn notice. Chairman Steve Ferguson previously told the Indianapolis Business Journal that assessment amounts to a "job-killing tax that puts the health of the American public at risk" and hampers innovation. Another company official told the newspaper that Cook would pursue additional plant expansion overseas in light of the extra costs it faces with the tax.

Cook doesn't mention any of that in its announcement regarding the new plant opening. But the company coyly notes that Hawkins will discuss how much impact Cook's domestic growth plans have had on communities, "a growth strategy Cook executives hope to continue."

- read the release

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