Dear editor:

Regarding the cover story “Give Us a Break” in last week’s Reader [April 11] on state economic development, I would like to point out a few things the author neglected to mention. Since Governor Blagojevich was elected, his administration has made corporate accountability one of the state’s top priorities.

Despite the lax policies of the previous administration, we are doing everything necessary to make companies both large and small live up to their end of agreements. If they don’t, the state has the ability, and the obligation, to get its fair share of the economic incentives back. In fact, this is the first administration to put corporate accountability recapture language in all new business deals.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (formerly DCCA) plays an important state role in creating jobs and financial incentives to companies, but at the same time this state assistance has to result in measurable economic development. We have been tough negotiators to get the best return on investment for Illinois taxpayers; the recent Mitsubishi expansion is a good example of this.

The article also mentioned the 1999 and 2000 statistics in Site Selection magazine’s ranking of corporate sites in the country, but the piece failed to mention Illinois has been ranked number one in the country by Site Selection for economic development in the past two years, beating out other major industrial states like Michigan, New York, Ohio, and California. We are proud Illinois has superior resources–the number one distribution and transportation hub in the country, the best and most diversified workforce, and world-class institutions–all to support business growth.

Previous administrations have operated under the veil of secrecy. Our policy is to make sure the door is open and encourage people to participate and address the economic development needs of Illinois. We look forward to getting new, creative, and bold ideas for business in Illinois.

Jack Lavin


Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity