Leading Republicans are ready to go along with the state’s leading Democrat in new special House committee to evaluate public/private partnerships.
The Special House Committee on Public Private Partnerships was announced this week by Speaker Michael Madigan to specifically review the creation of the private, nonprofit, Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation (ILBEDC).
Madigan said in a news release the private nonprofit, which is expected to work with businesses to offer incentives to relocate or stay in Illinois, could boost Illinois’ economy “but our obligation to taxpayers includes working to ensure transparency and integrity within the program.”
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Governor Bruce Rauner’s office said they welcome the idea to maintain and improve the integrity of ILBEDC, and the the organization will maintain the strictest standards of transparency and accountability to ensure it’s focused on the mission of improving economic development in Illinois.
For more than a year the governor has pushed for reforms he says will help grow the state. While Rauner touts the public private partnership as a tool to spur on more economic activity, Madigan points to other states that had transparency problems with public private partnerships.
Madigan’s news release said one example in an audit of a Wisconsin public/private partnership indicated the organization was “not requiring financial statements from companies receiving incentives, granting awards to ineligible businesses, failing to ensure jobs had been created by companies after awarding.”
Madigan said the newly formed committee will work to ensure taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently.
As of right now only Democrats on on the committee but Madigan’s office expects House Republicans to name members.
In a statement leading House Republican Jim Durkin said ILBEDC is an innovative way to advance the state’s economy and he hopes the committee’s mission will be about collaboration with the administration and the House GOP. If that’s the case, Durkin said they’re ready to work in a bipartisan manner.