Illinois Governor, Chamber CEO Jack Lavin, and Others Tout State Economic Momentum

Rattling off a lengthy list of major economic accomplishments and notable business wins, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker highlighted the state’s robust fiscal condition during a press conference in Chicago on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

“Over the past several years, we’ve seen exceptional tech giants expand their foothold in Chicago as their leaders read the writing on the wall — Illinois business is stronger than ever, and there’s no better place to expand and grow,” Pritzker said. “In the Land of Lincoln. we think big and we intend to win big.”

Speaking at the new riverside Salesforce Tower in River North, Pritzker touted several economic programs that that have created thousands of jobs and raised billions of dollars after a record year of economic development in key sectors. Such programs include the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles plan (REV) and the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE), which brought nearly $3 billion into the state’s coffers since 2022. Combined with investments incentivized through the Data Center Tax Credit, Illinois’ incentive programs attracted nearly $5 billion in private investment in 2023 alone.

Pritzker also noted that Illinois’ “rainy day fund” sits at over $2 billion, and pointed out that the state has created five consecutive balanced budgets and earned nine consecutive credit rating upgrades. Today, Illinois’ GDP is roughly $1 trillion, which is the fifth-best in the nation. The governor also gave a nod to The Bear’s recent Golden Globes wins and pointed out the state brought in record-high film expenditures of nearly $700 million in 2023, — $130 million more than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Pritzker was joined onstage by Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jack Lavin, as well as Kristin Richards, Director of DCEO; John Atkinson, Chair of Intersect Illinois; Darrel Hackett, President & CEO of BMO Bank; Craig Huffman, CEO of Metro Edge Development Partners; and Christina Meitus, EVP, General Manager for Professional Services Americas at Salesforce.

Chicago Chamber CEO Jack Lavin, who called Pritzker “the most proactive governor in the nation for economic development.

In his remarks, Lavin pointed out that Illinois is leading the way in industries including quantum innovation and data centers, and new EV manufacturing work led to thousands of new Illinois jobs.

“To cite just a few examples, Lion Electric opened a new production complex, creating over 700 jobs. Gotion announced plans to open an EV manufacturing facility and create over 2,600 jobs. And Stellantis reopened its auto manufacturing facility, creating literally thousands of jobs,” Lavin noted, adding that Illinois is currently the number two spot — and number four in the world — when it comes to data center construction.

“Governor Pritzker is keeping Chicago and Illinois at the vanguard of the global economy, and he continues to be the most proactive governor in the nation for economic development,” Lavin said. “All the pieces are in place for us to continue this momentum, thanks to Governor Pritzker’s leadership and partnership with the Illinois business community.”