In the wake of Illinois' slow recovery from the Great Recession, the state's Department of Commerce Economic Opportunity has put together a plan for job growth. Many of the goals depend on legislative action that wasn't all that popular in the General Assembly's spring session. The blueprint includes five-year goals, like creating 75,000 new jobs, and starting thousands more small businesses. These gains would rely partly on state spending in infrastructure and tax breaks for companies that create more jobs. But apart from a small capital spending plan, the General Assembly didn't consider a major state-funded construction program this spring. It also never tackled reforms to so-called EDGE tax credits, which incentivize job creation. Dave Roeder, with DCEO, says not everything depends on legislative action. He says marketing is key:
"We want to be sure we're out there telling our story to businesses why they should be here in Illinois, what some of our main advantages are."
Those advantages, according to Roeder, include the state's highways and waterways, and its thriving tech community in Chicago. He says the state should work on expanding economies that already exist in Illinois, rather than trying to attract businesses and jobs that aren't proven will work here.
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