Illinois’ private nonprofit statewide economic development corporation wants the state to be a red-carpet state, not a red-tape state, and new resources funded by private investments are being rolled out to help make that a reality. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s second Facebook Live appearance in a month today featured Jim Schultz, CEO of the private nonprofit economic development corporation Intersect Illinois. Schultz announced the launch of a new website, 

Among the website’s stated goals is developing resources and tools to identify emerging industries. Schultz also said there’s a goal to engage local-level economic development groups. 
Click here for summary

“That’s our best way to start building this state and creating job opportunities, knowing what’s available on the ground in your county or your community and helping us guide that forward in finding and targeting companies to bring to your community,” Schultz said.

Schultz said the overall effort will be boosted if state lawmakers pass economic reforms to cut red tape and bring property taxes and workers’ compensation costs more in line with the national average. 
Rauner said economic reforms will bring more jobs to Illinois, which will help a group with the nation’s highest unemployment rate. 

Rauner addressed an alarming statistic. At more than 14 percent, Illinois has the highest unemployment rate for African Americans. 

“This is wrong,” Rauner said. “This should not happen.” 

“That means we don’t have enough manufacturing jobs; we don’t have enough employers in our neighborhoods, in our communities, that are predominantly African American,” Rauner said.

Rauner said a growing economy will solve a lot of problems. 

“Every challenge we’ve got -- unemployment, poverty, crime, ineffective funding of our schools -- every challenge we’ve got -- unfunded pensions--is about growing the economy so that we have the resources to overcome the many problems and challenges.”

While other midwest states add tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs Rauner said Illinois’ business climate isn’t attracting any, and that needs to change. 

Rauner plans more Facebook Live events on other topics in the future.
(Copyright WBGZ /