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Will Governor’s Move Bring More Business to Illinois?

Will Governor’s Move Bring More Business to Illinois?


Governor Rauner made good on his State of the State pledge to empower his newly formed Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation (ILBECD) with an executive order recently. With it he ordered the Illinois Department of Commerce to work with this new private non-profit corporation to attract more businesses to the state.

ILBECD is similar to other private economic development corporations that exist in many other states, including nearby Ohio and Indiana. These organizations aid businesses that wish to relocate to their state by finding a workforce, streamlining property purchases or leases, and working with state and local government agencies. A commercial attorney could also help to guide these processes.

Latest of Clashes with Democrats

The governor’s executive order comes amid continued disputes with the Illinois General Assembly’s Democratic leaders, who wished to place a three year time restriction on ILBECD. Similar organizations have faced public distrust because of concerns over:

  • Lack of transparency
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Poor handling of funds

One of these public-private business development organizations is World Business Chicago, the company formed by Mayor Rahm Emanual to stimulate private business growth in the city. World Business Chicago has been criticized for, among other things, keeping meetings private.

Although ILBECD will aim to bring new businesses to Illinois through the use of tax breaks, the organization does not have the power to commit the state to any deal. These deals would have to be approved by the Department of Commerce. The governor’s executive order does not specifically state how this interaction would occur, another point of criticism by his opponents.

Illinois Employment Numbers Show Losses

One of Governor Rauner’s aims with ILBECD is to stop job losses to neighboring states and to return jobs to Illinois. His concerns about job losses are backed up by numbers showing that Illinois was the only state in the region to have job losses in 2015. While Indiana, Ohio and Michigan all added more than 50,000 jobs last year, Illinois lost 3,000.

The Governor’s executive order may backfire in the end. While Democrats had proposed a three year limit to ILBECD, Rauner is up for re-election in 2018. If he loses, his order could be overturned by the next governor. This could end up complicating business transactions for companies brought in by the economic development organization.

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