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ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS: Pritzker keeps economic development at forefront in exclusive interview

Three people seated on chairs in front of a purple screen in a television studio
Hannah Meisel
Capitol News Illinois
Gov. JB Pritzker sits for an interview with “Illinois Lawmakers” co-hosts Jak Tichenor and Jennifer Fuller at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism recording studio in Chicago. The program, produced by Capitol News Illinois, is the longest-running Illinois government-focused series in the state.

With fiscal year 2025 slated to begin Monday, Gov. JB Pritzker continues to tout available state tax incentives and promote Illinois as a site for business development.

On the season finale of “Illinois Lawmakers” this week, Pritzker pointed to a pair of developments in East Alton and Normal as proof of his administration’s effectiveness in luring businesses to the state and convincing others to stay.

The governor appeared on Illinois’ longest-running state government-focused TV show, which is now a production of Capitol News Illinois, at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism recording studio in Chicago this week.

Pritzker touted his relationship with Wieland Rolled Products North America, a subsidiary of the German company, Wieland Group. Wieland purchased a decades-old East Alton factory from Olin Corporation, but its future was uncertain.

“They were considering getting up and leaving Illinois, because they needed to build a new facility,” Pritzker said. “I sat down with the leadership of the company, German company, the German CEO, and convinced him that he should stay in East Alton.”

Illinois entered an agreement with Wieland under the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles Act, a tax incentive package for makers of electric vehicle parts and related products that Pritzker signed into law in 2021 that has since been expanded.

Wieland is slated to receive an estimated total REV Act tax incentive of $122 million over 30 years, according to the governor’s office. Including other tax incentives and infrastructure support, the total value of the state’s contribution grows to $231 million, according to the governor’s office.

Read more: Pritzker announces milestones for preschool program, industry development

In exchange, the company announced it will invest $500 million to modernize its East Alton facility that produces copper and copper alloy components found in electric vehicles and other products.

The electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian also announced plans to manufacture a new line of vehicles in Illinois, lured by $827 million in tax incentives, including $634 million from the REV Act, over a 30-year period. Per the REV Act agreement, the company would add 559 jobs and maintain 6,000.

“Those are two companies that were in Illinois that might have expanded outside of Illinois, that are now going to expand in Illinois,” Pritzker said.

The governor then turned his attention to quantum computing, an industry that has been a major focus for him both in Illinois and abroad. At the U.S.-Canada Summit earlier this month, the governor pitched a vision of Illinois becoming “an undisputed capital for quantum computing.”

Lawmakers approved an incentives package for companies that do work related to quantum computing, and included $500 million in the budget to fund a new quantum computing campus.

Read more: Quantum technology companies set for big tax incentives under new law

“So we're making the investments now,” he said. “And that's the kind of economic development – bringing the new industry, bringing the EV industry – those are the things that I think are gonna really punch up the future for the state of Illinois.”

The “Lawmakers” program also touched on the state’s $53.1 billion budget and its investments in education, whether Pritzker thinks next year’s budget negotiations will be more challenging than they were this year, and his plans to demolish and rebuild two state prisons.

You can view the program on YouTube or by clicking the link above, and you can listen to the interview at the link below or wherever you get your podcasts.