IL House votes to privatize state commerce agency

Jun 23, 2015

The Illinois House has approved a plan to partially privatizate Illinois' commerce agency.

It's one of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner's ideas for economic development. But the version sponsored by Democrats would only authorize the partnership for three years.

Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says having a deadline helps ensure the new board's members aren't cooking the books for their own benefit.

"Let's find out if it works. We are willing to go down the road of compromise. We are willing to take the governor's bright new idea. We are just trying to make sure that it is workable, and that it doesn't expose Illinois taxpayers to the risk that all we're doing is sending money ."

But Republicans say businesses want long-term certainty. They also say three years is too short a time to tell whether the new set-up is working.

The two parties continue to be at odds over Rauner's ideas -- he says it will make Illinois more competitive, but Democrats say it will hurt the middle class. Those disputes are holding up further discussions on a new state budget.