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“The overall news is good” about Asia trade trip

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

* Greg Hinz interviews Intersect Illinois’ Mark Peterson about the governor’s recent Asian trade trip

In an interview, Peterson said he couldn’t break confidence and reveal great detail on exactly what to expect after meetings in Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan, and Shanghai and Beijing. Some deals are close, others are in the early stages and some are strictly conceptual.

But the overall news is good, he said, involving everything from a Chinese sovereign wealth unit to a Michigan Avenue retailer and investments in the state’s growing biotech business. The trip “absolutely” will pay dividends within the next year, he said. “My guess, it will be in the hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs” in Illinois.

Potentially the most significant was a Beijing meeting between the Illinois delegation and Chinese Investment Corp.—which is looking to invest $200 billion somewhere—and officials from 60 companies affiliated with that group.

“We had some very significant discussions with those companies,” which are involved in industries ranging from food processing and clean energy to pharmaceuticals. […]

The group also met with senior executives of Toyota, which, with Mazda, has been kicking the tires in the Rochelle area in west central Illinois, considering building a plant there—or elsewhere in the country. Notably, in that session, were the executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp. and Rochelle’s economic development director.

* Ralph Martire argues for a different sort of state investment

For a real eye-opener look back to fiscal year 2000, when the appropriation for higher education was $2.15 billion — or about $314 million more, in nominal, non-inflation adjusted dollars, than fiscal year 2018. Of course, inflation matters: Over time it drives up the cost of everything, from running a business to educating college kids. After adjusting for inflation, state funding for higher education in 2018 is fully 51.6 percent less than in fiscal year 2000.

This consistent disinvestment has had consequences, none of them good. For instance, many Illinois public universities — like Western, for instance — have had to cut core academic offerings like philosophy, due to underfunding. Meanwhile, crucial student financial supports like the Monetary Assistance Program — which provides low-income kids financial aid in the form of grants they don’t have to repay — aren’t funded anywhere near what’s necessary to meet demographically driven need. In response, potential college students have been voting with their feet: During the last 10 years, enrollment declined at Illinois’ public universities by more than 14,000 students.

Meanwhile, all the evidence indicates Illinois should reverse course, and invest in building a world-class higher education system. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for high school grads is more than twice as high as it is for college grads. Moreover, the wage gap between high school and college grads has doubled since 1979, growing from 23.5 to 47 percent. Want more evidence? From 1979-2012, states with the greatest increases in productivity and highest per capita incomes also had the largest share of adults with a college degree. Not to mention that higher education plays a crucial role in facilitating upward economic mobility for individuals who come from low-income backgrounds.

Despite all that, Illinois continues to lag the nation in making higher education investment a priority — and kids heading off to college have noticed.

* Related…

* New iPhone uses facial data that’s protected under Illinois law: Apple calls their new system Face ID. It projects infra-red lights against the iPhone owner’s face and uses that info to authenticate and unlock the phone. A faceprint is as individual as a thumbprint and is protected by Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which says a company cannot take and store things like thumbprints, or in this case faceprints, in an offsite location… “Apple is not taking possession of the biometric information and likely wouldn’t apply to [Illinois’] law,” he said. “Keeping it out of a master database is a much better practice than most biometric policies that companies are following today.”

* Emanuel invites Chicago ‘nominations’ for site of Amazon’s HQ2

* Oak Brook to bid for Amazon headquarters at McDonald’s site

* Portions of Wisconsin’s Foxconn law could be unconstitutional, state analysis finds: The Foxconn bill, which passed the Republican-controlled Legislature with bipartisan support, gives Foxconn an unprecedented expedited appeals process and allows the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take certain cases directly from the circuit court, skipping the state appeals court.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

9 Comments
  1. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    If Illinois truly wants to attract tech businesses like Amazon, we need to invest in Higher Ed. Those employees won’t appear out of thin air; higher ed produces the employees tech employers need. In addition, tech thrives on research, which gets its start at universities. The folks who come to Illinois to work would prefer a top notch university system to update their skills and to send their kids to.

    Higher Ed is the foundation for future economic growth.


  2. - Norseman - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:07 pm:

    Regarding the trade trip. I’ll believe it when it happens.

    Higher ed used to be referenced as a major plus for IL. That asset has been under attack since Blago. It took a body blow during the Rauner impasse. Martire is correct that we should invest in this resource, unfortunately that won’t happen since our finances have been so poorly handled political leadership. A maintenance of effort is the best we can hope.


  3. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:10 pm:

    How about we take some time to reorganize the the entire state university system, set up one board, eliminate fluff courses and then see how much money we need. Also, how about more trades training in high school. There are lots of jobs that we can’t fill because we are talking down these fields. But if you can’t find a plumber or electrician when you need one good luck with a pleasant life.


  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    Wow, a Michigan Avenue retailer? Obviously, that blighted stretch of Illinois needs some government help.

    No mention of actually promoting the sale of Illinois-produced goods the Chinese want, like soybeans, corn and pork. That would put the “trade” in trade mission.

    No worries, farm incomes have only been in decline for four years and are a drag on state and national GDP. BEA reported in July that for the first quarter that Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana and Kansas experienced negative growth.

    Can’t wait for the news on that Michigan Avenue retailer, though.


  5. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:54 pm:

    That is a lot of empty words and phrases strung together by Intersect CEO Mark Peterson. He has been on the job for how long now? Has anyone ever heard him say something of substance publicly?

    What again is the point of Instersect?

    Heck, they can’t even keep their website live.

    Intersectillinois.org.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:12 pm:

    ===Despite all that, Illinois continues to lag the nation in making higher education investment a priority — and kids heading off to college have noticed.===

    The strength of higher education, in states that make higher education a priority, is s critical component, as critical as K-12 funding, as critical as investing in trades and educating within learning skills too.

    Starving any education prong, or holding hostage education to try to get leverage or passively close places like higher education institutions…

    There must be a major commitment towards the entire higher education community that Illinois has.

    I’d like to see that happen.


  7. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:51 pm:

    Wonder if Team Rauner plans to tout the Syngenta buyout by Chem China as one of the biotech “wins” by riding the coat tails of that deal. Just because deals happen that include portions of a business located within Illinois, doesn’t mean it should go on Team Rauner’s “Annual Report”. Just cautioning in case they try.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-m-a/what-crackdown-expect-more-china-deals-bankers-say-idUSKCN1BQ1H9?il=0


  8. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:58 pm:

    Medill Report on China’s investments in Illinois-

    http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/chinese-investment-chicago-trump-china/


  9. - Name Withheld - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 5:11 pm:

    So what determines a ‘fluff’ course? Philosophy, arguably, could be considered one. On the other hand, being able to reasonably understand how different people think and reason and then being able to articulate that could be a very practical course.

    Wasn’t it John Adams who said “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

    Plenty of ‘fluff’ courses that he wants his children and grandchildren to be able to study. Human achievement isn’t all about the hard sciences.


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