Look for the governor to soon sign an executive order formally establishing a relationship between a private, non-profit business development corporation. Last week during Governor Bruce Rauner’s State of the State, the governor said he wants to make the state’s economic engine faster and more responsive. “Our Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is hampered by red tape and a slow bureaucracy that makes business development and job recruitment more difficult,” Rauner said. While the governor was announcing he’d soon sign an executive order to partner with a non-profit business development corporation with DCEO, a press release went out from the governor’s office about the creation of the the Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation (ILBEDC). “Other states have moved to public-private-partnerships to boost economic development efforts,” Rauner said last week, “while Illinois has stood still.” The governor then talked about last year’s legislation to bring about a public-private partnership, or P3, which stalled.
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Speaker Michael Madigan said he worked with the governor last year but there was one hangup. “Privatization has happened all over the country,” Madigan said. “These agencies are a mixed bag, and so my request was: Governor, we’ll give you what you want but three years from now let’s do an automatic review to see if it’s working. If it’s not working then we’ll move in a different direction.” However, the governor said last week “this year we will move forward with a revised version that will laser focus on sales, marketing and customer service to increase our competitiveness for job creation and investment.” "Illinois is at a critical crossroad," DCEO Director Jim Schultz said in a statement. "A mere 14 percent of Department of Commerce staff is dedicated to economic development activities,” Schultz said, “limiting the resources to attract and to retain business, which is a disservice to Illinois businesses and taxpayers." In the announcement the office says ILBEDC is “modeled from best practices of other successful state and local economic development organizations,” and ILBEDC will be funded entirely with private donations at least through FY16 .