A restructuring of how economic development is done in Illinois is rolled into a three-pronged bill that has passed a House committee. The governor wants the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to be part of a public-private partnership, as is done in some of the states he admires. He also wants the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to be folded into DCEO as a Historic Sites division.
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The speaker of the House wants the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to be under neither agency; it would be on its own. The bill that does all these things passed unanimously Wednesday evening. At an appropriations hearing later Wednesday evening, State Rep. Rob Martwick (D-Norridge) questioned new DCEO director Jim Schultz.
“I'm wondering how we are saving any money by rolling Historic Preservation into Commerce and Economic Opportunity,” said Martwick. “Again, I wish I had the information,” said Schultz, nevertheless projecting a $5 million saving. “We have been somewhat restricted in what HPA has provided us. We are hopeful they will be more collaborative with us in this process; so far, that has not been the case.”