Another hours-long “committee of the whole” took up Tuesday afternoon in the Illinois House, this time on the subject of economic development. Specifically, whether the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development should fold into a public-private partnership as is done in other states. Jim Schultz, director of DCEO, says he is Effingham-born-and-bred and embarrassed at what his state has become. “The best way for me to turn that around,” he told representatives, “is for you to give me the opportunity to create this not-for-profit, in a bipartisan way, so we can get back in the game of creating middle-class jobs for the citizens of the state of Illinois.”
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Schultz says Illinois is a once-proud state which has wasted its assets – including being a transportation hub for road, rail, and air – through lack of professionalism and lack of leadership. Another economic development leader, John Grueling, says, “nurturing is more important than incenting,” accusing the state of going after “big game,” rather than small- and medium- sized employers. Grueling runs the economic development entity in Will County. The House is in session the next two Tuesdays; subject matter undisclosed.