CHICAGO: Five Illinois business groups have created the Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth, and Prosperity to spearhead public education efforts about the business climate in the state."Everyone acknowledges that the business messages or the issues that we are most concerned about don't get out there the way they should," said Rob Nash, the director of government relations at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, one of the founding members of the coalition. The new coalition will monitor state legislative activity and let the public know how such activity impacts the jobs climate in the state. "We're trying to communicate what's important to our members," Nash said. The coalition will use media outreach and mailing to consumers, Nash said. Illinois, the fourth-largest manufacturing state in the country, has lost 162,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000 and is lagging in the recovery, Nash explained. Last year, Rod Blagojevich, the state's first Democratic governor in decades, addressed a state budget gap by pushing various new fees on business. His budget plan this year again targets business fees for increases. The Chicagoland chamber issued a report this year saying that because of newly enacted fees and taxes, Illinois businesses pay 52.1% of Illinois state and local taxes, 25% higher than in other Midwest states. Nash said the new coalition will not be partisan, campaigning for measures that encourage job growth rather than for one political party or the other. "It's more about points of view on public policy than party labels," he said. Serafin & Associates, a Chicago public affairs firm that works with the Chicagoland chamber, also likely will do work with the coalition, Nash said. Other founding members of the coalition are the Illinois Business Roundtable, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Civil Justice League. Other groups already are asking to join, Nash said. An open letter from the heads of the founding organizations that announced the new coalition stated: "Our members have pledged millions of dollars to use in public information campaigns to educate voters on the issues and to highlight the records of lawmakers' views on investing and rebuilding our economy."