New measure would craft economic development plan for Illinois border towns

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — A state senator whose district borders Indiana wants the state to highlight economic development tools to grow businesses in Illinois, but only for bordering communities.

State Sen. Elgie Sims’ Senate Bill 3285 would have the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity develop a plan to help municipalities located geographically close to bordering states compete for businesses.

He said it’s a great first step.

“Many baby steps. I think we should have an economic strategy that protects homegrown businesses from being poached from wherever,” Sims said.

But why not the whole state?

“We can certainly use this as a pilot to grow out for an economic development strategy for the entire state, but I want to make sure I’m protecting my constituents,” Sims, D-Chicago, said.

Sims’ measure doesn’t address Illinois’ highest-in-the-nation property taxes, something state Rep. Sheri Jesiel said taxpayers in her border community are being hit with.

“The same is true for the businesses in my district that are forced to reconsider their location, or who won’t come to my district at all because of the tax burden,” Jesiel, R-Winthrop Harbor, said last week about the state’s tax burden. “This is just property taxes that we’re talking about.”

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Vice President Mark Denzler has repeatedly said Illinois’ business climate as a whole is overly burdensome to the point where businesses such as manufacturers go to other states.

“Everyone of our neighboring states have added at least twice the number of manufacturing jobs as Illinois,” Denzler said earlier this month during a news conference opposing overregulation.

Republicans have for years been pushing for a variety of reforms to grow more businesses in Illinois like property tax reduction, regulation overhaul and reforms to lower Illinois workers’ compensation costs, which are higher than surrounding states.

via Illinois News Network