CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich met with his Council of Economic Advisors on Thursday, October 30, 2008 to discuss the national economic slowdown, its impact on the Illinois economy, and how Illinois can retain workers. With the analysis the Council provided on the current economy, they also answered the Governor’s questions on a plan to invest in infrastructure throughout the state which would put people back to work.
“Though my conversations with working Illinoisans have kept me informed about how much they are hurting in this national economic slowdown, I wanted a comprehensive understanding of the situation. I asked my economic advisors to outline our state’s current situation and discuss steps we can take to prevent further damage from the national economy. The Council told me that our state has an economic battle in front of us, and they reinforced that the best thing we can do for our workers is to invest in infrastructure,” Governor Blagojevich said.
The Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors includes: Dr. J. Dennis Cradit, Dean of SIU-Carbondale School of Business; Dr. Joseph Persky, Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago; John W. Rogers, Jr., Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments; and Dr. Paula Wolff, Senior Executive at Chicago Metropolis 2020 and former Policy Advisor to Governor James R. Thompson.
The Council suggested to the Governor that the national recession may continue into 2010. The members projected that the Illinois economy will be most impacted by loss of jobs, the reduced sale of durable goods and construction materials, and the slowdown in sectors such as the auto industry.
The Council told the Governor that the best ways to protect Illinois jobs and jumpstart the economy were through an infrastructure plan that would put Illinoisans to work and additional federal funding.
“The sooner we get started on an infrastructure program, the more we can limit damage done by a recession. Delay is costly,” said Dr. Persky.
The Council also emphasized that raising general taxes in a time of recession would not help the Illinois economy.
Governor Blagojevich established the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors in 2003 to advise him on all aspects of economic growth. The Council is comprised of economists, business and public policy members. The CEA activity provides input into the budget process with an emphasis on economic and revenue forecasting.