The software industry in Illinois brings in more than $16 billion annually and is continuing to create jobs, but growth depends on elected officials staying out of the way.

A new study released by the tech coalition The Software Alliance shows that Illinois' software industry contributes $16 billion in annual gross domestic product. The Software Alliance President Victoria Espinel said the country can continue to enjoy the contributions to local economies as long as the state's lawmakers continue to promote industry growth.

"The government's putting policies in place that will promote software, promote cloud computing, as opposed to putting policies in place that will fragment data, cause data localization, and try to keep data within their borders. That dichotomy is really important," Espinel said.

Steve Wernikoff, founder of e-file storage service, said he started his business in Chicago and wants to stay. However, Wernikoff said it wouldn't be hard to leave if Illinois' fiscal situation threatened his livelihood.

"Our company is quite nimble. Because of the way our business is structured, [moving] really wouldn't be a difficult thing for us to do at this point." The Evanston native noted Chicago's up to 9 percent "cloud tax" as an example of laws that could burden his business.

The industry also accounts for more than 260,000 jobs in Illinois and 2.5 million nationwide. Its direct contribution to gross domestic product is more than $1 trillion .


(Copyright WBGZ Radio/