Lauds State’s Strong Existing Assets, Calls for New Public-Private Partnerships
CHICAGO – June 24, 2010. The Economic Recovery Commission today presented its final report to Governor Pat Quinn detailing recommendations to improve upon Illinois’ 21st-century business model and help rebuild the state’s position as a strong, expanding economic power.
“I appreciate the hard work of the Economic Recovery Commission,” said Governor Quinn. “Its insights will help us work together to build on our existing assets and position our state for strong, lasting recovery as we move out of this historic recession.”
The report noted that the state offers an extraordinary array of programs designed to support new and existing businesses, retain workers, and expand exports. Among a number of findings, the commissioners found that many Illinois businesses are unaware of the resources offered by the state of Illinois, and that some of those programs should be refocused and recommitted to meet the needs of today’s global marketplace.
“Illinois has been addressing the challenges of the 21st century with techniques, plans and mindsets formed in the 1970s,” said commission co-chair Alex Rorke, Managing Director and Head of Public Finance for Loop Capital Markets in Chicago. “We must make sure Illinois is at the forefront in venture capital, global marketing and sustainability, leading the world in best practices for infrastructure planning, smart grid technologies, workforce education and overall economic development.”
Governor Quinn created the Economic Recovery Commission by executive order to provide guidance for dealing with the current economic downturn, while also preparing plans to ensure the long-term health and prosperity of Illinois’ economy. The commission, a diverse group of 40 well-regarded Illinoisans representing a wide range of professions and expertise, has held public hearings and conducted extensive research in preparing the report. Its report provides independent, non-partisan guidance on how best to recover from the current economic downturn and position the Illinois economy for long-term health and prosperity.
“We have great financial, intellectual, and technological resources,” the commission said in its report, presented to Governor Quinn on Thursday. “We now must work together to combine those resources to continue to build a bright and successful future for Illinois.”
Earlier today, Governor Quinn signed legislation to create the Angel Investment Tax Credit. The new tax credit encourages investment into innovative Illinois businesses that are working to get off the ground. Under the new law, investors may claim 25 percent of an investment into a qualified Illinois business venture - up to $2 million in investment for a $500,000 credit. The program is capped at $10 million in tax credits, which will drive $40 million in investment. Governor Quinn first announced the Angel Investment Tax Credit, a measure endorsed by the Economic Recovery Commission, in a speech he gave in December as part of his Illinois Economic Recovery Plan.
“This report tells us that Illinois already has all the ingredients for a strong, healthy economy,” said Governor Quinn. “It’s initiatives like the Angel Investment Tax Credit and the Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit that will help small businesses; like the enhanced Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Tax Credit that is ensuring Ford Motor Company will add 1,200 workers right here in Illinois; and like the Illinois Jobs Now! capital bill – the first capital bill the state has seen in ten years – that has led to five positive months of job growth in Illinois. The Economic Recovery Commission will help us make sure that job growth continues for months and years down the road.”
The Economic Recovery Commission’s recommendations were divided among six major committees: Innovation, Global Markets, Sustainable Energy, Infrastructure, Education and Government. Each committee offered a strong list of recommendations on ways for Illinois to re-establish its leadership as a vibrant economic force in the global economy by combining existing financial, intellectual, and technological resources in new ways.
Those recommendations include:
• Innovation: Increase access to capital, especially the supply of seed and early stage venture capital for young companies with high-growth potential
• Global Markets: Leverage the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment by working closely with the many international multiplier organizations with strong Illinois connections that already attract foreign direct investment in Illinois and promote Illinois exports.
• Sustainable Energy: Work in partnership with the Illinois Finance Authority to expand affordable funding sources for energy-efficient projects and products.
• Infrastructure: Require all state agencies to assign a high priority to transit-efficient sites in awarding grants and tax incentives.
• Education: Encourage community-school partnerships and create a clearinghouse to provide information on model partnership programs throughout the state.
• Government: In consultation with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), develop budget accounting practices that provide transparent and comprehensive information on long-term debt and asset values.
“It is imperative that we position Illinois for strong, swift, and permanent recovery from the current recession,” Rorke said. “We must find new, effective ways to deploy our many valuable resources and re-establish Illinois as a global leader in commerce and job creation.”
Governor Quinn said his staff will study the Economic Recovery Commission’s report and work with commission members to implement recommendations and find new ways to deploy state assets more effectively.
The read the full report and bios of the commission members, please visit Economy.Illinois.gov.