* 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.