Economic Development Corporation presents job-creation plan to House committee

The presentation was made by the Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation (ILBEDC) CEO Jim Schultz. He explained to the newly-convened House Committee on Public Private Partnerships the role of ILBEDC to sell Illinois as a place to locate businesses and create jobs. CEO Schultz explained that the new nonprofit corporation is expected to match the economic-development-corporation organizational model grasped by 17 U.S. states and by many regions within Illinois. Neighboring states that have set up EDCs include Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Large states that have set up EDCs include Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas.

A typical state-affiliated EDC operates its job creation activities in close cooperation with the State agency that has the task of maintaining and helping the creation of jobs and economic development. In the case of Illinois, this agency is the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, IL-DCEO. Former DCEO Director Schultz explained to the House committee that the decision to charter the ILBEDC is “a major initiative to accelerate job growth in Illinois.” Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, ILBEDC will not be a government agency and will not ask for taxpayer funds for its day-to-day operations. ILBEDC has been set up in a manner parallel to the existing, and relatively successful, Texas Economic Development Council. Texas has created more than 8 million net new jobs since the TEDC was organized in 1961.

Governor Bruce Rauner’s Executive Order 1602, filed in February 2016, sets forth the future relationship between IL-DCEO and the new ILBEDC. IL-DCEO will continue to be a taxpayer-funded agency with overall responsibility over Illinois job creation. Their approximately 350 employees will continue to maintain all of IL-DCEO’s other statutory responsibilities, including liaison with Illinois local governments and relationships with a variety of nonprofit entities. IL-DCEO has ongoing relationships, including grantor-grantee relationships, with more than 1,000 nonprofit corporations throughout Illinois.