DCEO releases five-year
blueprint for job creation and business growth
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[July 07, 2014]
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)
today issued a five-year economic development plan for
Illinois, a proposal that sets out the state’s
priorities for encouraging private-sector job growth and
business vitality, especially in regions with the
highest poverty and unemployment.
The plan, developed and administered by DCEO, identifies seven
high-growth business sectors in which the state can concentrate its
efforts. It also increases accountability by requiring close
cooperation with local economic development officials and by
specifying five-year growth targets in measures such as job creation
and business launches.
“With our economy improving steadily and our unemployment rate at
its lowest point in nearly six years, we must continue working to
secure progress for everyone in Illinois,” Governor Pat Quinn said.
“This plan will serve as our guide as we continue to make the smart
decisions and investments necessary to drive more job growth
The 80-page plan, posted at
gov/dceo sets a goal of
360,000 business launches in Illinois through 2019. In addition,
DCEO is aiming for 75,000 new jobs drawn from outside the state,
10,000 new jobs in areas with the highest unemployment, a 25 percent
expansion in the number of people participating in workforce
training and a reduction in poverty rates.
“Competition for jobs among states is a competition for talent. With
this plan, DCEO is committing itself to improve conditions that
nurture talent,” said DCEO Director Adam Pollet. “We want to
strengthen the great business clusters we have while making Illinois
a focal point for innovation.”
The report lists seven sectors that merit close attention because of
their prominence in different parts of the state, their growth
potential and higher-than-average salaries. They are:
Biomedical/technical; advanced materials; transportation and
logistics; information technology and telecommunications; machinery
and fabricated metal products manufacturing; agribusiness, food
processing and technology; and clean technology.
To implement what it calls a “living document,” DCEO is committed to
working with regional development officials and to incorporating
their ideas. The plan will be revised annually and policies can be
revised or discarded based on results.
The plan provides cost estimates for recommended actions. While the
document itself does not represent a funding commitment, it is
intended as a guide for lawmakers and stakeholders as future
decisions about state budgets are made.
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The plan builds on Governor Quinn’s work to stabilize state finances
and reform the public pension system, addressing two problems that
hurt business confidence in Illinois. The Quinn Administration has
greatly reduced the backlog of unpaid state bills, slashed
discretionary spending and earned praised from bond-rating agencies.
Specific policies recommended in the report include:
- Increase small business access to the state’s job-creation
tax credit and direct more of its benefits to communities in
economic hardship, while also reducing the use of the
legislatively directed EDGE tax credits by large corporations.
- Pursue a low-cost, sustainable energy and natural resource
- Establish a revenue-neutral job-training tax credit and
expand job training generally.
- Double the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and increase the
minimum wage to $10 per hour.
- Reduce the filing fee for limited liability companies.
- Expand Illinois’ marketing efforts to enhance business
retention and expansion.
- Establish regional business plan competitions.
- Establish a technology transfer fund.
- Secure full funding for the CREATE program to ease rail
congestion in the Chicago area.
- Expand the Illinois Clean Water Initiative.
- Modernize Illinois’ aging locks and dams.
To implement the plan, DCEO will form task forces from inside
and outside the agency and will begin meeting with economic
development leaders from throughout the state.
[Text received; DAVE ROEDER, ILLINOIS
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY ]