Economic development not state’s strength
One of the major battles being waged in Springfield during the 98th Illinois General Assembly is a Senate Democratic proposal (Senate Bill 2) to restructure the state’s economic development agency, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Officially, DCEO’s mission is to raise Illinois’ profile as a global business destination and nexus of innovation; and to provide a foundation for the economic prosperity of all Illinois residents, through coordination of business recruitment and retention, provision of essential capital to small businesses, investment in infrastructure and job training for a 21st century economy and administration of state and federal grant programs.
With backing from Senate President John Cullerton, Sen. Andy Manar authored a bill — co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard — that is supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, is opposed by DCEO officials and has left chambers of commerce statewide to wonder whether anyone involved in state government can see the forest through the trees.
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