|TAXPAYER BOOST: Chicago was one of 12 regions chosen by the
Commerce Department to receive taxpayer funds to boost local
Designated as “manufacturing communities,” the Commerce Department stated
each region is part of a federal initiative to “help communities attract and
expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase
international trade and exports.”
The announcement, part of an initiative launched by the administration in
December 2013, came a day before newly released economic data for the first
quarter of 2014 revealed the U.S. economy shrank for the first time since
According to a Wall Street Journal report Thursday, manufacturing job growth
primarily concentrated in the Midwest and South after the recession.
The communities chosen as part of the Commerce Department’s plan are spread
out across the nation.
The regions include: the Chicago metro region, Southwest Alabama, Southern
California, Northwest Georgia, South Kansas, the Greater Portland region in
Maine, the New York Finger Lakes region, Southeastern Ohio aerospace region,
the Washington Puget Sound region, the Milwaukee 7 region, the Tennessee
Valley and Southeastern Michigan, including Detroit.
The 12 communities were chosen by an “interagency panel,” said the Commerce
Department, out of 70 communities that applied for the program.
The White House said Wednesday the administration planned to have a second
competition later in the year to determine its next round of funding, as
well as convene the 70 communities that applied for funding so they could
share best practices.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in a statement the 12 manufacturing
communities “represent a diverse group of communities with the most
comprehensive economic development plans to attract business investment that
will increase their competitiveness.”
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Emanuel, in a statement released on
his office’s website, said the “designation of Chicago as a
Manufacturing Community, eligible for up to $1.3 billion in funds
from 11 federal agencies, is a direct result of our work to bring
the Digital Manufacturing Lab to Chicago, our investments in College
to Career manufacturing training programs, and our success in
attracting new manufacturers and jobs to Chicago.”
Since first assuming office in 2009,
the Obama administration has advocated unabashedly for the use of
government and taxpayer funds to fuel job creation and economic
Taxpayer funds have been used by the administration to benefit the
business interests of its political allies and campaign donors.
Emanuel also reportedly sent lobbyists to the Illinois capital to
push for a tax hike on the city’s wireless customers through an
extension of the monthly fee charged for 911 dispatch services.
A source with knowledge of the process told Watchdog.org the measure
would likely pass the Illinois General Assembly before the end of
the legislative session Saturday, placing the next phase of the
issue in the hands of the Chicago City Council.
The mayor’s office didn’t return Watchdog.org’s request for comment.
Contact Josh Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Josh on
Twitter at @jdpeterson
Josh Peterson is a DC-based tech reporter for the Franklin Center's
Watchdog.org news site. Peterson previously spent two years at The
Daily Caller covering tech and telecom regulatory policy as the
publication's Tech Editor. During that time, he focused on
cybersecurity, privacy, civil liberties, and intellectual property
issues, and in addition to covering political protest movements.
Prior to joining The Daily Caller in October 2011, Peterson spent
time in DC researching and reporting on technology issues in
internship roles with Hillsdale College's Kirby Center, Broadband
Breakfast and The National Journalism Center, and The Heritage
Foundation. Peterson has a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from
Hillsdale College. He is also a musician and music enthusiast, and
an avid martial artist.
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