- Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:30 AM
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) met with members of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce last Tuesday to discuss Senate Bill 2 – a bill aimed at restructuring the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
“The state has to do a better job of encouraging new business growth as well as attracting new businesses to Illinois,” Manar stated during his presentation. “I think the state can meet those tasks by restructuring the agency to be more focused and responsive to the needs of the business community.”
Manar explained that the current structure of the department falls short in addressing unemployment and job creation and pointed to the disparity among unemployment numbers as a reason to make changes to the agency.
“There are too many areas in Illinois were unemployment numbers have been stagnant for far too long,” Manar said. “I believe that can be partly attributed to a disconnect between certain portions of the state and DCEO.”
DCEO is currently the lead state agency responsible for economic development in the state. Manar’s proposal would seek to set up a public-private partnership that would do a better job of bringing the private sector to the table and maximizing state resources.
“Our goal through this process is to work with DCEO to identify programs which are taking resources away from economic development and determine if those programs need to be shifted to another agency,” Manar said. “When resources are scarce, we have to make sure every dollar we spend has a positive outcome.”
Manar looks forward to meeting with business leaders and local economic professionals to discuss current proposals.