Chicago and the counties in the region agree to compete for businesses as a group and not explicitly against each other

As part of a new Chicago region economic partnership, Chicago and seven counties agreed to this:

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

The partnership agreement features a code of professional conduct that prevents members from soliciting businesses from other participants’ jurisdictions, or disparaging those communities when a business considers relocation. The agreement also calls for the participants to share information and produce 150 “pro-Chicagoland” decisions.

This addresses an ongoing issue: in a region with hundreds of communities and multiple joint interests, is it good for the city, suburbs, counties, and other groups to battle for businesses and growth in the region? Is the move of a company in the suburbs to Chicago a loss or gain? What about tax breaks from different communities that companies take advantage of?

This still ensures competition can occur between the Chicago area and other parts of Illinois, between metropolitan regions, and between Illinois and other states. Indeed, this regional partnership can help improve the Chicago region’s chances to compete with other entities:

Michael Fassnacht, president and CEO of World Business Chicago, said that after 23 years, the city’s public‑private economic development agency is becoming a regional operation. The region’s gross domestic product is not only the third-largest in the nation, but the size of some nations’, including Sweden and Poland, he added…

By getting investors to view the region as a whole, it has a better chance of landing valuable projects for the good of all, Conroy said…

Having traveled the world in search of foreign investment, Reynolds said potential partners speak of Chicagoland, not just Chicago. And so he was happy Wednesday to have heard local leaders use that term more in one morning than they had in decades.

It will be interesting to see what the first successful efforts of this partnership yields. Or, conversely, the first conflict where actors and municipalities in the region do not agree.

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