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Pritzker unveils mandated five-year economic plan

Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019

* Governors are required by state statute to issue five-year economic plans. Pat Quinn published the latest five-year plan. It’s now Pritkzer’s turn…

Governor JB Pritzker and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released a 5-year plan to create an economy in Illinois that works for everyone. To expand prosperity throughout the state, the plan is focused on fostering job creation, improving wages, building greater equity, and attracting and supporting businesses.

“Since I took office in January, we’ve already begun making strides toward growing our state’s economy after years of neglect and intransigence. For the first time in nearly two decades, we’ve seen simultaneous strong job growth in every region of the state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Underlying my vision is the fundamental principle of equity. No matter their zip code, every Illinoisan deserves economic opportunity. Where in the past sustainable and inclusive economic development has been elusive, instead I am committed to reinvigorating the most important foundational element of Illinois’ economy: our diverse and talented workforce.”

The initiatives outlined in the report lay the foundation for long-term growth by focusing on key growth industries with a broad reach like technology, manufacturing, life sciences and healthcare, and transportation and logistics.

There’s a lot to this thing. The executive summary is here. The full plan is here.

* Greg Hinz got an advance look

The most striking thing in the report is its call for emphasizing help for seven industry clusters: agriculture/agriculture tech, energy, information technology, life sciences/health care, manufacturing, transportation/logistics and small business.

Though some economists say trying to cherry-pick certain industries for help is a losing strategy compared to, say, across-the-board tax cuts, others counter that identifying and then nurturing and growing certain industry clusters has proved to pay big dividends. Pritzker clearly agrees with the latter sentiment, and pointed to New York, which a decade ago had little presence in the life sciences industry but has since targeted that field with major success.

“It’s not that we’re picking winners and losers,” said Erin Guthrie, who heads Pritzker’s Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and who sat in on the interview. “It’s that we’re picking six areas where we feel we should put in extra work because they’re fast-growing” and the state already has a significant presence in them.

In agriculture, which clearly already is a pillar of the state’s economy, the plan proposes to help better integrate tech solutions to problems including “eroded soils, more pests and pathogens, degraded quality of stored grain, and lower crop yields” from global warming. Pritzker wants to spend $420 million to expand broadband—mostly downstate—enlarge foreign trade zones to facilitate access by food processors and exporters, and increase joint-research efforts at academic and related facilities, such as the proposed Discovery Partners Institute in the South Loop here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

17 Comments »
  1. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    I know its a state plan, but how can he not address the huge problem that is Chicagos’ finances. Did i read correctly that Lightwood has to come up with $800 million for her first budget? Chicago is the economic engine of this state. How Chicago goes, so goes the state.


  2. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    68 pages and not one mention of the word “broken.” We are indeed in a new age.


  3. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    === Pat Quinn published the latest five-year plan. It’s now Pritkzer’s turn…===

    Too bad Gov. Gaslight didn’t get a chance to submit one. But his would have been very short: “Mike Madigan, and the state economy he controls.”


  4. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    Those are some pretty bold plans. But I must have missed a page - the one that says, “This is how much we’re going to spend, and this is where we’re going to get the money”.

    Assuming JB’s progressive tax plan passes, it will only deliver enough new money to pay down the current budget shortfalls, plus the increased “pension ramp” spending, correct? And the doubled fuel tax dollars are already spoken for in the capital plan - so where does this plan’s funding come from?


  5. - Just Saying - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    What? Last one by Quinn? You mean Gov. Gas Light didn’t have one? But the BTIA?


  6. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    He wants to help agriculture and spend money down state on
    Broadband? All this money flowing out of our pockets and going down state. Unfair. Time for collar counties and Chicago to secede


  7. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    A reminder to all the instant negative naysayers that this is an economic road map and not a line-item budget.


  8. - SpfdNewb - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:20 pm:

    DuPage Saint, don’t give any Eastern Bloc officials ideas.


  9. - OpentoDiscussion - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    Assuming JB’s progressive tax plan passes, it will only deliver enough new money to pay down the current budget shortfalls, plus the increased “pension ramp” spending, correct? And the doubled fuel tax dollars are already spoken for in the capital plan - so where does this plan’s funding come from?

    Great comment. But I have serious doubts as to whether the Governor has paying down the state debt as a truly serious priority. I will be surprised that any increase revenue is not heavily weighted toward new spending in various social services.


  10. - Steve - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    Illinois has a public pension problem but is somehow supposed come up with a five year plan for other things…


  11. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    ===supposed come up with a five year plan for other things…===

    It’s mandated by statute.

    It’s in the post.


  12. - JT11505 - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    This plan reminds me of when I was a kid, and the Sears and Penny’s Christmas catalogs would come in the mail, and I would start my wish list…


  13. - JimmyH - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    It’s tough to help people when you’re raising their taxes. Illinois has only one unsolvable problem , unfortunately it makes other problems unsolvable as well.


  14. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    You can be an expert in a few areas, or a jack of all trades. There are pros and cons to both, but experts see the most money.

    But couldn’t help but notice the crushing tax burden issue isn’t a solution to anything (except to companies from Holllywood).


  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    “Illinois has a public pension problem” “the crushing tax burden” The usual talking points, but how does that direct us toward the future? Where’s your plan?


  16. - Rudiforte - Wednesday, Oct 9, 19 @ 4:58 pm:

    A lot of fanciful plans there. Too bad none if it is realistic with the state of Illinois government finances.


  17. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Thursday, Oct 10, 19 @ 8:10 am:

    ==A reminder to all the instant negative naysayers that this is an economic road map and not a line-item budget==

    Certainly not expecting a line-item, Ducky. But this plan obviously took some work to put together, couldn’t they assign a “seat-of-the-pants” cost to it? Plus-or-minus a billion or two would be good enough for me.


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