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State’s border counties targeted in new business-retention law

SPRINGFIELD — An economic development and job retention proposal was signed into law on Friday that seeks to improve business retention in Illinois counties that border other states.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, was the Senate sponsor of the new law that recognizes the unique business retention concerns specific to border communities.

A lifelong resident and board member of a county that borders another state, Bush said she knows all too well about about the business-poaching practices of the states surrounding Illinois. She feels that the new law will improve the economic conditions of Illinois border communities, keeping them competitive with the states that they border.

“We need to enact business retention strategies that will keep us competitive with the states that border Illinois,” she said.

The law tasks the recently formed Illinois Business Development Council with assessing the economic development practices of border communities. After a comprehensive review, the council – made up of representatives from the public and private sector – will provide recommendations and best practices to Illinois border counties for business retention, attraction, incentives and economic development.

“While business retention is a concern for all communities in our state, border county businesses are courted or influenced by surrounding states in ways that other communities don’t have to deal with,” Bush continued. “We are already working hard to strengthen our state’s overall economic development policies, but this law will help us develop a set of tools that will help keep Illinois businesses from jumping the border.”

In addition to the new border county business retention law, Bush is also spearheading a Sub-Committee on Economic Development, which will continue efforts to identify best practices for enhancing Illinois’ business climate and improving business retention policies.

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