By Steve Rensberry, Editor
It’s rare to hear the words “bipartisan support” these days when it comes to anything of a budgetary nature coming out of Springfield, but those were the words used by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce this week after passage of a $45 billion capital plan called Rebuild Illinois, a plan that the governor says will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state. I hope he’s right.
“The Illinois Chamber applauds the passage of the finalized Rebuild Illinois package,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “This is an important step in improving Illinois’ economic future. The fact that this package came together with substantial bipartisan support is a meaningful signal that Illinois can move forward.”
The Chamber’s response is especially gratifying after the partisan budget war we were forced to endure these past few years, in which organizations and agencies across the state feared they’d disappear with the next budget battle, whenever the state actually got around to passing a budget.
The Illinois Chamber goes on: “We think Leaders Brady and Durkin for securing some of the most pro-business reforms we have seen in years. Rebuild Illinois contains the first major modernization of investment in our vital transportation infrastructure. Specifically, it includes the pro-consumer shift of sales taxes to transportation funding, ensuring all state fees paid at the pump support Illinois infrastructure. The package also contains the biggest new business incentive in decades that will attract million of dollars of technology and building investment at data centers throughout the state.”
The strong partisan measure was seen as well in support from Republican Legislator Charlie Meier (R-Okawyville), who said the last time the state had a capital bill was in 2009. “Despite being a member of the minority party, we were successful at getting several pro-business reforms to help keep and create jobs in our state,” Meier said “This plan has the support of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. We can’t grow our economy and create jobs without adequate infrastructure.”